“Is he gonna make it?” The woman asked with no real concern in her voice.
Her tone was so matter of fact that she may as well have been asking me about the weather or how my day was going.
“No,” I said. “I mean, I’m not a doctor, but no, there’s no way he’s going to make it.”
“Hmmmph,” was her response.
Hmmmph indeed. I thought to myself.
The man the woman was asking about lay dying next to his bullet riddled Camaro, about thirty yards away. I’d just asked her and the group she was with to step back a little so that I could hang some crime scene tape at yet another homicide scene in the City of St. Louis.
I don’t keep tabs on such things, but I believe that’s around 136 this year, if what I’d read was right. The local newspaper has taken to adding a line indicating the murder count in all of their articles related to murders in the City, and I believe that’s the number I’d read.
It’s that bad now.
The lady worked for or maybe owned a day care facility for little kids, and there were still kids waiting to be picked up by loved ones as this man was being tended to valiantly, though clearly futily, by EMS personnel.
As so many other people in the City have been recently, he’d just been shot.
His shirt was off and I could see the small puncture hole in his side. It didn’t look like much, and it certainly didn’t do justice to evidencing the violence that the projectile probably did once it passed through his skin.
Those pesky bullets tear through the skin and then ricochet off bone and tear through organs and veins and arteries and whatever else gets in the way before it either passes through the skin again during a violent exit, or nestles itself comfortably somwhere inside the victim’s body.
The lucky ones live to tell about it.
There are probably hundreds of people who’ve been shot or shot at in the City this year who didn’t add to the death tally. Everyday it seems a person is shot.
We’re lucky in the City to have two excellent trauma units at Barnes and SLU Hospitals. I’m always amazed at the number of people who get shot, sometimes multiple times, and live because of the skill of the teams of doctors and nurses in our City.
Many of these people drive themselves or are driven to the hospital without waiting on EMS. When every second counts, that’s probably a good idea.
For those who aren’t so lucky, their life often ends like this man’s near the daycare facility did, face down on a hot piece of concrete in a pool of their own blood in front of curious onlookers who will photograph or video a dying man’s last moments and do Lord knows what with the footage.
“Well what do you expect? This is Goodfellow and Amelia.” The woman said.
She was mostly being rhetorical, but that attitude can’t win the day.
No matter where you live or work, a murder should bring outrage or fear or disbelief, not apathy.
On the day this man died, two journalists were killed in another part of the country as their killer videotaped their deaths.
Thankfully, there is outrage and grief and disbelief. There are loved ones who will demand action. They will demand legislation. They will demand research. They will at least demand something.
They did not say Hmmmph because that is a queer response to another human’s murder, even if the victim was no angel.
Nobody deserves Hmmmph, but in St. Louis City, that’s where we find ourselves. Unless a person is killed by a police officer, there is no public outrage, only indifference to what has become so common that we just say Hmmmph to the news of another person’s death.
Sadly, this murder that I touched on here isn’t even the most recent one in my City. Late last night, another man was killed on the South Side of the City, shot to death, of course.