This Is What Losing A Child To Gun Violence Looks Like

by Sarah Hosseini
Originally Published: 

Jacob Hall’s family shares a photo of him around the time he was taken off life support

Jacob Hall died after being shot in the Townville, South Carolina elementary school shooting last week. He was taken off life support three days after the shooting. He was only six years old. A family member posted a picture of Jacob’s mom hugging her baby in the hospital and to call it heartbreaking is a serious understatement.

The photo will destroy you. It is graphic, but it’s also one family’s tragic reality right now: they’ve lost their little boy.

This is what losing a child to gun violence looks like.

The sheer agony radiating from his mother’s face in that photo is unbearable. Losing a child is one of the most unimaginable losses and here it is, in our faces, we can’t look away. If you can handle it, you should not look away.

Renae Hall described her son’s strength to local news station Fox Carolina saying, “Jacob was forgiving. What happened to Jacob, Jacob forgives already. He’s in heaven smiling down at us. He’s asking his mommy to be able to be strong to forgive just like he would have.”

Though his first year of life was plagued with health problems, Jacob was selfless and prayed for “everyone besides himself.” Hall says of her son, “He was going to make a difference in this world. He was going to show people how we were brought to this world to love each other, not to hate.”

This child’s death was completely senseless. It’s horrifying as a parent to know that this is another parent’s reality right now. No child should die like this. No parent should have to go through this. No family should have to say goodbye like this. And as much as we want to think and hope that this is an isolated incident, it’s not.

Every day, seven children and teens die from gun violence.

There aren’t enough prayers to make this better, make our children come back or save us from this disaster. This is outrageous and we can’t accept it as our reality. We can’t and shouldn’t look at another heart-wrenching photo of a parent who’s just lost a child because of a gun and go about our days like nothing ever happened. How do you get back to your ‘normal life’ knowing that this could just as easily be your normal life?

We could argue all day about how a gun can’t shoot by itself, and we need to deal with the people and a plethora of mental health issues. However, the main thing we need to get a handle on is the availability of the device that’s rapidly helping people do the killing in the first place. The person with the gun has a gun somehow, be it legally or illegally, period. Full stop.

Regulating guns in a common sense way could prevent children from being shot and killed. A little regulation could go a long way. Will it eradicate the problem completely? Probably not. But why aren’t we trying? Why aren’t we demanding? What are we afraid of? It’s terrifying for us all, but we can’t simply stay terrified forever. Our kids don’t deserve to be scared to go to school. We don’t deserve to be scared to send them.

As for Jacob’s mother, she’s trying to focus on the outpouring of support her family’s received in the wake of losing her son. “There’s good people in this world, and it took my son’s death for me to realize that there are still good people in this world, because I had gave up. I stopped watching the news because I hated to watch every day that somebody was killed on the news, hated that. And Jacob’s death showed that wasn’t what the world’s about. The world’s about people coming together in a time of crisis and helping people that they don’t even know get by.”

With all that Hall’s gone through, she’s still trying to preserve some innocence of childhood for the kids attending her son’s funeral. She says that she’s doing a superhero funeral to honor her little boy.

“I don’t want suits and ties and all that,” Hall said. “There will be a lot of children there and I don’t want it to be scary for them. Jacob will be dressed in his super hero costume.”

Truthfully, the people it will probably be most scary for, are the parents. The ones who know that bullets are blind, guns shoot fast and it could’ve been their kid. Jacob’s mom asked anyone attending the funeral to wear their favorite superhero shirts. Pretty fitting, let’s be the superheros. Let’s save the day. Let’s save our kids.

Eight kids and teens die every day from gun violence in America. If you’re a parent that’s had enough—and want to organize and help keep our communities safe considering joining Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. It’s the biggest grassroots organization of moms working together to reduce gun violence.

This article was originally published on