The Price of the Gun

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"Where is the money?"

I froze, heart pumping, sweat pouring down my body as I stayed as still as possible. He asked me again in a deep voice, trying to hide his face with his free arm but not letting me go from the neck.

"Take it out," another guy demanded in a calm voice as if he had done this his whole life. He pointed a shiny black gun at my head.

I felt the barrel move down to my ribs as the guy attempted to hide his gun from the neighbor who had just come out of his house. That neighbor could have done something to stop them, but instead he looked away and simply walked back into his house as if he had never seen a thing.

That Wednesday, I felt like my life was seconds away from existing. I experienced what unfortunately many mothers, fathers and grandparents have experienced.


It's a thing that sticks with you. You don't walk the streets with the same tranquility. You don't look at the people on the sidewalk in the same way. You repeat the scene over and over again, remembering every second and every detail as if it were happening again, until you fall asleep only to wake up and walk those same streets again.

Did I report the guys who pointed a gun at my head? No, I didn't. There's no point in making a report to the police in Oakland. They never show up, and they never find any suspects.

A city ranked number one nationwide for the most violent robberies, number three for the most dangerous cities in the U.S., with high levels of poverty, probably tells you why the police can't do much to help.

Why do we live in a society where people prefer earning money by carrying a gun and stealing rather than working a decent job and making their money?

Maybe we can't stop this violence, but we can do something to change the mentality that pointing a gun at someone's head is an easier way to make money. With an education and resources, this doesn't need to be the easy way.

With a Perspective, I'm Carlos Diaz.

Carlos Diaz is 16 and attends the Life Academy for Health and Biosciences High School in the Fruitvale section of Oakland.