Killed by gun September 11, 1999, at age 22

Daniel was born in Cape Town, South Africa on June 14, 1977. His father left when Daniel was nine months old and Daniel always pined for him. When he was 7, he was assessed with an I.Q. of 160 but we were told that he needed a father figure.

In South Africa, it would have been mandatory for my son to join the army. I was against the situation in South Africa and very anti-gun. Daniel never had any play guns, nor did he play games such as cops and robbers. Daniels father was in Vancouver, so Daniel went to live there to be with his father. When I moved to America, Daniel came to live with me.

Daniel was an excellent student, very popular, outgoing and extremely kind. After high school, he traveled to India and around the world before going to college. He was a full-time student at Valley College with an apartment and a car. He worked to support himself and never asked me for anything; he was very independent and self-sufficient.

On September 11, 1999, Daniel called me and was extremely depressed. He came to my apartment and we hugged, cried and spoke for a long time. If only I knew then, what I know now: he came to say good-bye to me.

He left my apartment and went to his sisters. He took a gun from her apartment, loaded it and went to the laundry room. He put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. He had been told that because the bullets were rubber bullets, he must put the gun in his mouth to ensure death.

I asked that day where Daniel got a gun and how did he know how to load it and I found out that my son-in-law had a gun. My children all knew how much I was and still am against guns and violence. I do not blame anyone but if there was no gun, who is to know if he would have taken his young life? I never knew that there was a gun in that apartment.

The United States is looked upon as the greatest nation and yet there are so many suicides involving guns. I am not saying that Daniel would not have taken his life by another method, but he knew that a gun would ensure his death.

If the United States is supposed to be civilized, why are there so many school shootings? Why do people do drive-by shootings? Why are guns so easy to obtain? Why are children playing in homes where there are guns and why do these children know where the guns are? Why are so many young people, mostly boys, being killed by guns? Why guns?