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Wayde Sims – A Lost Potential to Gun Violence

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after a fraternity party, just past midnight on an October, Friday morning, it is still dark. But through the darkness, a group of young men can be seen embroiled in a fight near a neighborhood Subway restaurant, across the street from Southern University. Suddenly, gunfire erupts. The crowd becomes shuffled in confusion as people scatter and disperse. A voice yells out, “OMG, Someone got shot!! WTF?!?”.

In a video that is making rounds on social media, Sims, who had in many times manage to embodied the energy LSU basketball team coach wanted from his players, can be seen taking part in a fight that involved several men in the street. In the scuffle, a gun shot can be heard and seconds later Sims falls to the ground as the other men start running away.

The result of the shots being fired? A promising basketball player, Wayde Sims, who had just committed to Louisiana State University, was the recipient of those bullets. Hewas on his way to a promising future, but instead that path was cut short due to an altercation outside of a fraternity party near the campus of Southern University. An autopsy found that the bullet went through Wade’s head and travel to his neck. Just like that his potential – abated. It is believed that at some point during this fight, one of the men reached for a weapon and fired which ending up killing him.

Just a few days prior, Wade had signed with the University to play on the basketball team, following in the footsteps of his father Wayne Sims who was considered an LSU basketball legend himself. Wayde was scheduled to have his first practice of the season, that day. In a recent interview Wayde had just told reporters that he was “really excited” to get started with the new season. LSU’s coach named Will Wade was devastated and through his tears expressed , “He [Wayde]  was such a great person… Besides the fact that he had some of the best impression of me on the team, he was just an unbelievable individual.”

Coach Will Wade had been at the hospital as he waited to find out his player’s fate.  He would later find out that the his player would be pronounced dead.  Upon leaving the hospital, Coach Wade told the team of what had transpired at 6:30 a.m., a time when they would usually be sharing their morning workout.  “We are not going to worry about basketball right now, we’ve got bigger issues than basketball”, the coach said.

A Bigger Issue Than Basketball – Gun Violence

Gun violence is the leading cause of homicides among children and youths. The United States is the number one developed country with the highest gun related deaths, eclipsing other countries. Ironically, the number one reason youths and young adults feel they need to have guns is to protect themselves from other people who have guns, according to the Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center states that “The No. 1 reason they had a gun was to protect themselves or feel safer” So, this never-ending cycle of gun-ownership “I need a gun because you have a gun” often leads to deadly consequences…and it’s out of control.

Aaron Epps, one of Wayde’s teammates in LSU, took to social media to mourn the death of his friend by calling him “such a caring individual.” Sims’ was poised to have a breakthrough season in his junior year after averaging 2.6 rebounds and 5.6 points in 32 games in his sophomore year (last season). In 2014-2015, he was named Louisiana Gatorade Player of the year. Sims created deep roots in a number of LSU communities and the Baton Route. In fact, he was named Louisiana Gatorade high school player of the year back in 2015. He also led Baton Rouge’s University High to three straight state titles.

The passing of Wayde Sims also represents so much more than the loss of a strategic player on a University basketball team. It represents the loss of potential for the youth, for under-served communities and of a positive image that could have to inspired so many. However, through his loss, there can be much inspiration though…to highlight the need for education on the consequences of gun violence.

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