Twenty years ago, a friend called me in San Francisco.
“Talbert has been killed,” she said.
“Talbert has been killed.”
I exclaimed, “What?!” not because I didn’t hear my friend, but because I was shocked by her words. After we spoke on the phone, I watched the news with my daughter and husband. There was Talbert’s picture on the screen. I was in disbelief about his death and how he died.
Talbert was 26 years old, a son, brother, friend, boyfriend, and student at UC Berkeley. He went home just blocks from the campus. It was evening time and he told his girlfriend that he thought he left something in his car that was parked in front of his apartment so he left. Minutes later, his girlfriend heard what sounded like several men arguing and then what sounded like a gunshot. Talbert was killed. By all accounts it seemed to be a random act of violence and he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. The murderer is still at large.
Today, I spent some time with a friend who lives just blocks from the UC Berkeley campus. Hours passed as we walked around it and the neighborhood. I could not help but think of Talbert, his family, and the friends that are left behind. Today, a gunman in Connecticut killed 20 children and seven adults before he killed himself. I could not help but think of the victims, too.
Like many Americans, my heart aches for the innocent people who died due to gun violence. This is a huge problem in the United States. In the 20 years since Talbert’s death the number of people who have been killed by a gun has dramatically increased. Our country needs to find solutions to dramatically decrease gun violence.