Ed­i­tor's Let­ter

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Kayra Wil­liams

Iwas stopped dead in my tracks this week when I ran into a young man I'd known all my life. I was headed to the gro­cery store, and found him sit­ting out­side his house in our shared com­mu­nity in the north. Other young men from the area were posted up nearby, chat­ting and smok­ing. His leg, or what used to be his leg, was propped up on a stool in front of him. I looked at him in dis­be­lief, won­der­ing what sort of in­quiry would be ap­pro­pri­ate. The words “What hap­pened?” slipped off my tongue. He looked down at his stub of a leg then turned to me with the same bright smile I re­mem­bered from my child­hood, play­ing with him and other chil­dren from the area ev­ery af­ter­noon af­ter school, and some­times on the week­ends. “Po­lice shot me,” he re­sponded ca­su­ally, as I stood there in dis­be­lief. “But, I saw you just the other day . . . ” I told him as calmly as I knew how. “I have a pros­thetic,” he laughed. As I stood on the side­walk next to his house I re­al­ized that no amount of ex­plain­ing on his part would be suf­fi­cient for me to un­der­stand how some­one could be so vi­brant and full of life in one in­stance, and phys­i­cally dis­abled the next. “That hap­pen long,” he told me. “It's been two years.” Fight­ing against my reporter's in­stinct, I si­lenced the ques­tions I knew were near. “You're all right though?” I said, this time speak­ing to an old friend, and not some­one who'd be­come yet an­other statis­tic. I walked away won­der­ing what had led to his run-in with the law, and when his life had taken the un­for­tu­nate turn for the worse. I won­dered how he could still smile de­spite all of it, and hoped that some­where in the pain that never should have been there in the first place, there had been a les­son, and that he'd changed his life for the bet­ter. Above all else, I hoped that other young peo­ple wouldn't have to learn the hard way, like he had, and that so­ci­ety and fam­i­lies and friends would re­al­ize there's never a bet­ter time than the present to mean what we say about the youth be­ing our fu­ture, and to sup­port and pro­tect them as we should.

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