Updated: August 09, 2020 11:00 PM
Created: August 09, 2020 09:54 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —In light of the recent shooting death of Santa Fe basketball player JB White, two young women are speaking up about the impact of teen gun violence and how it changed their lives forever.
The two women, ages 18 and 19, asked to remain anonymous. One woman said her investigation is still active and the other said she’s still going through the juvenile corrections process.
"I was hanging out with the wrong crowd, and I was attracted to all the wrong things,” said the first woman.
This woman, who is now 18, said she was 14 when her life changed.
"She had a gun and me and my friend thought it was a fun idea to play with it because when we picked up the gun it was unloaded,” said the first woman.
The gun she was playing with belonged to a mutual friend’s significant other. There was no magazine in the gun, but she was unaware of a bullet in the chamber.
"Honestly, when I think about, like, going back to that day, I just remember after seeing the gun fire, I turned around. I started crying. I didn't want to see, you know, everything. I cried,” she said.
She faced consequences for killing her best friend in the juvenile correction system in New Mexico. She said she’s still on probation.
"When you don't expect it, it traumatizes you, and it just, you have to grow up and live with that,” she added.
The two women met through the group New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence.
The second woman said it’s still painful for her to remember the day her friend Vanessa Ordonez died back in 2018.
"She was just out trying to have fun on a Sunday. I think it was a Sunday afternoon,” the woman said.
That night a group of teens gathered on the banks of the Rio Grande to party before chaos erupted. Police said an alcohol infused party led to a fight where someone pulled a gun. The second woman said she was invited by her friend Ordonez to attend the party that night.
"I can feel that all of us felt really guilty because at least I know if we would have been there then we wouldn't have let that happen,” she said.
Ordonez was run over and shot at 16 years old. Sheriffs with Valencia County said they have a suspect, but an arrest hasn’t been made.
“Like, you know, there's kids that I know who come from great homes, great parents, that are literally silver spoon-fed, and they still want to sell drugs and have guns and hang around the wrong people and party a lot,” the first woman said.
The teen gun violence problem, as these women see it, is multi-faceted. First, they said there is a lack of quick consequences.
"My friend's death hasn't even been, no one has been charged at all. And there's many more other deaths that haven't been charged, and that's why. People aren't scared anymore. They're not scared of cops. They're not scared of going to jail, because they won't,” the second woman said.
The two also said the culture among teenager is changing in part due to new technology.
"I feel like social media gives people a bigger ego, in a way. And people want to portray themselves as someone so bad,” said the first woman.
It’s a deadly combination of teenage pride, mind altering substances and guns.
“I feel like drugs and alcohol have a lot to do with the way people, these kids are retaliating at parties—especially with having a big ego,” she added.
Lastly, these teens said parents can make a big impact.
"It's good as a parent to know what your kids doing, what your kid’s around, what attracts your kids,” said the first woman.
Now these two are hoping their stories might resonate with their peers.
"And these boys nowadays, girls too, are using guns just to have them. To, you know, show them off, and they end up in a bad situation,” said the first woman.
"Our generation has a lot of pride, and they can't put it aside,” she added.
The two young women also hope that the conversation of preventing gun violence is something that parents will take up with their kids.
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