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Last night I promised you wouldn’t die – I rescind that promise.

Last night I promised you wouldn’t die – I rescind that promise.

This is the written response to a real event which took place on Tuesday night at the shooting at 148th and 64th. 

Last night I promised you wouldn’t die.

I am now rescinding that promise.

Last night as I was driving home, I came upon what I thought was a car accident scene. I could hear you yelling for help. I could vaguely see your shape lying on the road in the dark.

I saw the cars in front of me turn around and speed away. As I came closer I could see you were lying on your side in a pool of your own blood. When I reached you, you said, “I have been shot. Please help me. I am dying. I can feel it.”

You had been shot multiple times. I could see blood pooling from two wounds in your back and what appeared to be another wound to your right arm.

I could hear someone on the sidewalk calling 911. A young Arabic speaking man was standing next to you, his bicycle behind him, the only witness. Or the only witness brave enough to stay and tell the police what he knew. They stayed and helped, others began to gather around but when I knelt down in front of you, we locked eyes. You begged me to help you. You wanted to know that we were not going to leave you there to die in the street alone.

I grabbed your shoulders and looked you in the eyes and I promised you that you were not going to die. I meant that promise. I am not a doctor and I have no way of knowing what damage had been done by those bullets but my gut told me that you were not going to die there.. You stopped yelling and laid your head on your arm. Your bloody hand grabbing mine.

You are young, good-looking, big brown eyes, strapping, strong man the same age as my own son. You are in pain, traumatized and at the mercy of strangers. You are begging us to help you. You need this community to save you. Your eyes said it all. We were strangers, together, on a wet road, in the cold, in the dark, in a pool of blood, holding on, waiting for an ambulance.

And they came. Police, ambulance, someone who seemed to know you. I stepped back and got out of their way.

When I got home I trailed your blood across my floor. I washed it out of my pants, off my shoes and out of my hair.

This morning I read in the paper that you are alive.

The paper also said that the police believe that the shooting was a targeted shooting because you are involved in the drug trade and that you weren’t cooperating with the investigation.

Everyone has a moment in their life when they are forced to stop everything and re evaluate where they are going and what they are doing.  This is your moment.

Someone wants you dead. If someone could actually shoot a gun properly, you would be dead now.

Your parents would be receiving mourning family and friends this morning. Your mother inconsolable. Your brothers trying to plan your service, choose your coffin, and decide your final resting place.

Your last breath would have been to die like a dog in a pool of your own blood on dirty, cold street holding hands with a stranger. This would have been your final moment. Your crowning achievement.

But you were given a second chance. There are very few second chances in life. Whatever damage the bullets did, understand this. Your community saved your life. Strangers, the police, the fireman, the paramedics, the doctors and nurses, the old man who donates blood every week, even the person that cleaned your hospital room this morning, contributed to saving your life.

This is the same community that suffers every time there is another act of violence. This is the same community that is at risk of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Five minutes earlier and I, with my van full of children, could have been a victim. Five inches to the right or the left and you would have picked up by the coroner instead of an ambulance.

So where do you go from here? I am not here to pass judgment on you or why you do what you do. I don’t live your life but what I am sure of is that this is the time for you to change your life. Clearly the choices you are currently making are not safe, healthy or good for you or for our community.

There comes a time when you have to stop looking at the past, at the circumstances that brought you this place and you have to start looking toward your future and the life you want to live.

We are all victims of some circumstances but we can choose our future path.  This community that saved your life are victims too. The community that came to your aid, also live and work in your chosen target shooting range. Young children were in the van behind the one you were in when you got shot. The police, fireman, paramedics, neighbours, and our communities are all drawn into your life without choice  and yet you turned to us for help…and we were there for you.

What will it take for you to stop? The fact that you owe us your life? For most people that would be enough? Is it enough for you?  Who has to die before it is enough for you?

The fact is that in that moment when we locked eyes, it wasn’t about money or status or being tough or brotherhood or misplaced identity and pride. In that moment, it was two strangers holding hands in the dark, trying to save something …someone …valuable. It was your moment of truth.  What was your life worth in that moment?

In your eyes I could see that you were experiencing what everyone experiences when they are traumatized and think they are facing death.  In that moment nothing matters except those you love.  In that moment all you really wanted was to be in the arms of your family.

In the end life boils down to some very basic things. We want to love and be loved. We want to be heard and we want our life to count for something. We are all brothers and sisters, striving for the same thing. Death is the great equalizer.  It sees past color, race, religion, past, status and age.  This was your truth.  Would it all have been worth it – had you died on that street holding hands with a stranger?

So it appears now that you have put your bravado mask back in place. Keeping your mouth shut to protect something, someone. Whatever the reason… in the dark, when no one is looking, remember my face. Remember that moment when you looked in my eyes. It was your truth.

Death doesn’t look cool or tough.  It just looks dead.

For eternity you will be known as “that poor kid”. Is that what you want?  Is this your legacy?

I want you to remember the moment you thought you were dying. Remember what that felt like.

Don’t ignore this last warning. Turn it around. Get help. Make a better choice. Others have gotten out and you can too. There is help for you.  All you have to do is ask for it.

This isn’t about loyalty anymore. It isn’t about proving anything. It is about living. Nothing more. Choosing to live.

If you do not make the right choice and soon, then you were right all along. You are dying.

It’s only a matter of time.

Last night I promised you wouldn’t die. I am now rescinding that promise.

This time …. if you want to live ….. it will be up to you. You know what you need to do.

DO IT

You are worth saving.  Choose to live.

About The Author

Shara Nixon

Shara Nixon loves to hear and repeat the stories of people’s lives and cultural viewpoints. She enjoys deep conversations and people who hold strong viewpoints. In her day job she is a social worker for business owners, helping them meet their goals. As an insomniac, she writes at night to clear her head. She is punctuationally challenged and uses too many !!!. She also believes in creative spelling as an art form. Her super-power is in connecting like-minded people and communicating with an intent to learn instead of respond. She writes about relationships, business savvy, online dating, finance and general things that piss her off. Shara believes that key to peace is education and connection!!!

  • Lindsay

    I was there, too.

    I don’t remember you, but that’s not surprising given the chaos. Perhaps in a different moment or set of moments (it’s all blurring together now – who knows how long it all took), I too sat with this young men trying to reassure him, trying to get him to look at me instead of the gaping red wounds peppering his body until police arrived. How can you comfort someone who thinks they are dying? I’m still struggling with this.

    After experiencing his terror and vulnerability in that moment, I believe his refusal to cooperate is rooted
    in something deeper than a gangster moral code. There must be something he fears more than that moment.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. You’ve put into words what I can’t, yet.

    • mika

      In this short comment, Lindsay, you communicated the complexity of a person’s life far more than the article and showed empathy. Your comment really made me feel a human was out there with him with all of their heart in his time of need. THANK YOU.

    • mika

      Please know that you might feel like this article says what you also might want to say, and at the same time your thoughts aren’t directed by or restricted by this. I find this article bothersome because it’s very shallow and written from the writer’s very simple and judgmental value point “helping cops = good. not helping cops = bad.” I really hope people read your comments which to me a far more important.

  • Lindsay

    I just commented on this article, but now I am very upset by it. While I’m sure much of your experience is true, upon re-read I’m realizing some things are not.

    You weren’t there holding his hand when police arrived, because I was. Not holding his hand (which I feel immense guilt about) but giving all the reassurances that I could in that moment. I feel trivialized and as if this romanticized, heroic experience is how I should have behaved. Perhaps you had the discussion with him, and perhaps you even held his hand while I took a brief moment to collect myself after arriving and before returning to the scene. However, I arrived with the girl who was on the phone with 911 and you weren’t with the victim at the end.

    The messages all resonate and I have been experiencing many of the thoughts you express. However, I’m hurt by the fact some pieces (perhaps small) of this story are blatantly untrue. It just adds to the confusion of my processing this traumatic event.

    Shara, I don’t want my anger to trivialize your experience. However, this article is incredibly hurtful. If I’m recalling something incorrectly, I apologize. However, in my incredibly vivid recollections of this event I really don’t remember you being there with the victim in the moments leading up to the police arriving.

    • mika

      Lindsay, what you are saying here is totally true and totally valid.

      It may be some creative licence to write a story “in response to” a real story, but the writer must be aware that they are *displacing* the people who actually lived it. A clearer disclaimer was absolutely needed if the writer is actually as sensitive as they claim to be.

      I believe you, Lindsay. I know you were the one who was there. The confusion, guilt, empathy, and connection, and all that is what I believe someone in your position would naturally experience. I hope you know that a real response to an event like this is far more complex and confusing than this article. (in other words, if this writer actually experienced what they wrote, they probably wrote this article to make this one simple point, and this article wasn’t to share their holistic experience)

      This article stole not only stole your voice but also your experience. I really hope you put the time in to deal with the trauma you experienced properly. Have you reached out to the victim services or some kind of counselling services?

      • Lindsay

        Hi Mika,

        Thanks so much, your comments mean a lot to me. I feel validated.

        The creative license is so disturbing to me. There wasn’t “pooling blood”, for example. For the author to have gotten blood in her clothes, shoes, and hair she would have had to roll around in the street.

        Yes, I have already spoken to someone and am seeking further help.

    • tripleaardvark

      #fakenews

  • Baggy270

    This guy is a waste of skin and his type don’t care about anyone else or who they hurt and traumatize. We all would have been better off if the shooter had been a better shot.

    • Dylan Cunliffe

      Wow! Go have a good long look in the mirror buddy. You need it.

      • Baggy270

        Says a Trudeau lover who figures the poor gang banger just needs a hug 😘

  • tripleaardvark

    Legalize all drugs. Not just marijuana, all of them. Let addicts get their fix from storefronts instead of criminals. They’re going to get the heroin one way or another. A storefront can sell them heroin not laced with fentanyl. And equally importantly, without the criminal element, gangs won’t be necessary.

    Gang shootings are simply the marketing activities of the organizations that society has chosen to be the distributors of recreational narcotics. We chose this. By declaring war on drugs, we challenged drugs to declare war on us in return.

    • Naomi

      Got that right!

  • Naomi

    Well written Shara!

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