John Schlesinger

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Everett Beauregard Memorial United Methodist Church, Berlin 2023

A year ago, Everett Beauregard died outside my home in Philadelphia. I was sitting alone on my couch and I heard gunshots. Not a rare occurrence in my neighborhood, but these were far louder than I’d ever heard. Everett was walking past my house to his own just around the corner. Randomly, he was shot by a stranger who walked past him, turned, and fired with no other interaction. Barely older than my two sons, he was bushwacked and died on the sidewalk. The motive is unknown and the killer has never been identified. Although surveillance video exists and a reward is offered, the crime remains unprosecuted. Philadelphia, like so many US cities, struggles with violent crime; crimes committed with guns in particular. There were 516 murders in 2022 in Philly. Yet, Berlin, with over twice Philly’s population, had 38. With more than daily killings, it is easy to become jaded. Just outside my window, this one got under my skin. Everett and I never met. From the memorials held on the sidewalk and talking to his grieving parents, I learned what an extraordinary and well-loved young man he was. After earning a college degree, Everett had already begun to give back to his community and had enrolled in graduate school. He wanted very much to travel. In that instant, his dreams died too. It's important not to forget those of us we lose so senselessly.