From West Sacramento, CA - Sunday, September 12, 2010
I drove up yesterday from Daly City with my youngest son, Jeremy, and his girlfriend,
Katie for a reunion with my other two sons - Shawn, just home from four months of
active duty with his Air Force reserve unit in Germany, and Alex, the middle son who
became a bridegroom in May. Many of you saw my blogposts and shared my elation
at finally having a girl in the family. The 100+ mile drive was really tedious - a great
deal of traffic, for some reason but it was a spectacular day.
When we turned off into the main street into Alex's subdivision, there was a sight that
brought tears to my eyes. Before us, the normally vacant field was filled with about two
hundred American flags flying in the breeze and a huge sign, emblazoned with the words,
"We must never forget those who lost their lives in the terrorist acts of 9-11-2001. Please
remember them, and their families, in your prayers today and everyday." It really touched
me and I thought frequently the rest of the day about those victims and their families,
especially as I was feeling so much joy at being with my sons and the girls in their lives.
I feel for the families of the 9-11 victims, who had no idea what was to transpire that
day and who were, in no way, prepared for the loss of their loved ones. We just don't
know when our last breath will come so we need to cherish the time we do have and
to think before we utter a harsh word or say something that we can't take back.
After dinner last night, I stayed home with my granddogs while the kids went out to have
a couple of drinks at a Sacramento club. Alex came home early since he had to go to
work at 3AM but the others were still out. I had told them to call me and I would pick
them up. About 12:30AM, my youngest, Jeremy phoned to ask if I was still awake and
wanted to drive to downtown Sacramento to get them. All of a sudden I heard a
terrible commotion and yelling on the phone. I felt this terrible sense of dread, then
Jeremy said, "I'll call you back," and hung up. Fifteen minutes later, Shawn, Laura, and
Katie walked in but there was no Jeremy. I freaked out. Laura said, "Carmen, there's
been a shooting but Jeremy's o.k."
I cannot even begin to tell you the terror I felt. It seems they had come out of the club
to find the street completely cordoned off and police everywhere. A young man was on
the ground with a couple of police officers, no paramedics yet on the scene. The
police were asking for help. Jeremy is a certified EMT, though he hasn't worked
actively in the field. The police thought the man was dead but they weren't exactly
sure. Apparently Jeremy felt he just couldn't walk by. After donning gloves, he felt
for the young man's carotid pulse and there wasn't any doubt then when blood gushed
from his nose, mouth, and fluid poured from his eyes. Jeremy lifted up the man's
shirt and there was no gunshot wound on his chest or stomach so he must have been
in the head. The details weren't known to Jeremy. What was so sad is that the man's
friends kept asking, "Please do something for him."
When Jeremy got home about 2:30AM, we talked about it. At one time, he wanted to
join the military as a paramedic. I am really glad he didn't because this would have
been an everyday scene, where young men and women die and one is absolutely
helpless to do anything about it. I'm sure he felt this way last night.
This morning's Sacramento paper had this to say:
J Street was shut down following the shooting in a large group of people just after Second Saturday.
Police spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong says officers heard multiple gunshots shortly after midnight. When they reached the scene they found a Hispanic male in his 20s dead, another male in serious condition, and a female and another male with non-life threatening gunshot wounds.
The shooting occurred on J Street between 17th and 19th streets in heart of the city as hundreds of young people were still milling about following the Second Saturday art festival earlier in the evening.
He says details are still sketchy and police still don't have a suspect, a solid motive, or a clear idea what led up to the violence.
But he says they're investigating if the gunfire was linked to a fight a little bit earlier nearby between two large groups of people."
Every weekend, Jeremy and his friends go out in San Francisco to the clubs and I always
worry and caution him to be careful. There is so much violence on the streets these days
and, in the United States at least, people carry guns at a younger and younger age. It
seems like disputes are settled with a lethal firearm rather than by rational discussion. I
can't bear the thought of being one of those mothers who is informed, early one morning,
that one of her beloved sons won't be coming home.