It often chooses its victims blindly, bursting boldly into view, shocking, inexplicable and seemingly without warning.
Violence may be lessening in Los Angeles but it still casts a dark cloud over many parts of the county and its surroundings.
A reminder came recently when Aaron Shannon Jr., a 5-year-old dressed in his Spiderman costume, was killed on Halloween, police say, by gang members who shot into his backyard. Such tragedies understandably grab attention from the media and a mournful public. Then, typically, the spotlight fades.
But for those left behind — maimed victims, husbands, mothers, best friends of the dead — there is no forgetting. They are the survivors.
They spend years struggling against pain that is sometimes physical and almost always emotional. The struggle bends lives in different ways.
Some dip into long periods of depression, battling to keep their relationships, their jobs and their hope afloat. Some become activists. They join committees, stuff envelopes, speak at high schools and work to change laws. Some lack the means to leave their dangerous neighborhoods and are trapped in view of the crime scene. They say their prayers and cling to the notion that nothing bad will ever happen again.
Rose Smith is a survivor.