13-Year-Old Who Spoke Out About Gun Violence Is Now a Victim

zarriell trotterA tragic, horrible tale out of Chicago today: 13-year-old Zarriel Trotter, who appeared in an award-winning public service video about how gun violence is hurting the city’s black youth, was critically wounded on Friday night when he was hit in the back by a stray bullet on the city's West Side. According to Officer Jose Estrada, Trotter was simply standing on the sidewalk, minding his own business, when two rival groups started an argument nearby that ended in gunfire. 


"He was not the intended target," said Estrada, according to the New York Times.

Trotter was, however, the only person injured in the incident, which makes the whole thing that much more unfair and upsetting -- as does the teen's previous appearance in the aforementioned PSA, which features teen boys from Chicago speaking out about their fears regarding gun violence and opening up about how it affects their daily lives. Trotter's segment is particularly heartbreaking now, knowing that the boy is currently lying in a hospital bed. 

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"I don't want to live around my community where I got to keep on hearing and hearing people keep on getting shot, people keep on getting killed," Trotter says in the video. Check it out (Trotter appears about halfway through):

"The loss of a black boy is a loss for America," indeed. According to a Chicago Tribune interview with Elizabeth Jamison-Dunn, principal of the school where Trotter is in the seventh grade, the boy isn't able to speak yet, but is "recovering." Jamison-Dunn called the shooting "disheartening," adding, "Every morning he greets me with a big smile on his face, which makes my day."

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Awww. So sad. Trotter truly does seem like such a sweet kid -- certainly not someone you'd ever want to see on the receiving end of a bullet (not that you'd ever want to see anyone on the receiving end of a bullet). And the fact that, even at his young age, he was speaking out against gun violence only highlights how desperately we need gun reform in this country. Sure, PSAs and other anti-gun ads and films are all well and good -- in fact, they're necessary -- but they can only do so much. Until we have legislation to match these sentiments, we won't see any real change -- and kids like Zarriel Trotter will keep getting hurt. Don't we owe these children more than that? At the very least, don't we owe them the opportunity to grow up?

I hope and pray that Zarriel Trotter gets that opportunity. He deserves that, and so much more.


Image via Black Is Human/YouTube

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