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J’s story


J was a victim of gun crime, which he puts down to today’s street culture

I got three shotgun wounds to my legs. I was on the street when a car randomly pulled up and men in balaclavas wound down the window and shot me. I started running and they chased me down and shot me twice again.

What was going through my head wasn’t exactly pain – it was a strange feeling, like “I can’t believe this is happening.” I couldn’t feel pain till the next day after surgery, but while it was happening I just laid there with no real emotions about it.

At first the doctors were saying it was life-threatening, and then it was just limb-threatening, where I could lose my limbs, but now I can walk and I just have to see how it goes. My Achilles tendon had been blown off and had to be reconnected. The bottom of both legs couldn’t ‘breathe’ so they had to open them up for the blood to go all the way down and what I’m left with are very severe scars. The healing process is a minimum of years for all I know. Only time will tell. My legs could be like this for the rest of my life.

I can’t say precisely what led up to the incident – it’s just the world we live in nowadays; it’s what the streets are like. If you’re in this kind of environment with these kinds of people, now and again bad stuff like this happens.

Going to hospital and everything since has been an eye-opener. Because I couldn’t walk for such a long time, I had to take my first steps again – yeah, it was a proper eye-opener, I can’t really explain. In a way I know it sounds mad and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but it has been sort of good for me. It’s changed my views on so many things. I recently had a daughter and I have another child on the way, and I just can’t see myself not being there for them. I’m not trying to be a big man or anything, but even with armed men chasing me down the street I didn’t fear anything, but now I’m a father, what I do fear is my kids not having a dad when they’re older. That’s the only thing that really frightens me.

My hopes for the future are that soon I can get back working at the gym and do my Level 3 qualification. I want to show people that even if you do have big injuries, if your mind is in the right place you can get through anything. It would be great to lead by example and show that injuries don’t have to hold you back. I’m only young myself but I want to let even younger people have the benefit of my experience.

My criminal past is done now. It’s not kids’ play out here, it’s serious stuff. You might feel like a big man, but when you’re laid up in hospital you’ll regret it.
I hope all the people seeing these pictures realise that gun crime isn’t pretty and it doesn’t pay.

Taken from Issue 19

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