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Black Teenager Ralph Yarl Relives Being Shot In The Head By Andrew Lester After Ringing Wrong Doorbell 

Ralph Yarl, a Black teenager from Kansas City, is still grappling with the impact of a traumatic incident nearly a year ago when he was shot in the head after ringing the wrong doorbell. The incident occurred while attempting to pick up his siblings and has left him battling a mix of intense emotions and a traumatic brain injury. The 17-year-old speaks of the ongoing struggle with mental health, marked by avoidance of social interactions like skipping prom and difficulty processing complex information.

"It's definitely a bumpy journey," Yarl said in his first in-depth interview about how the shooting has affected him one year later. "Whenever there's something that goes on that reminds me of what happened ... I just have, like, such a negative wave of emotions, like anger, like disgust. It's always a mix of good and bad days. And I feel like the good days are when I'm able to be around people that help me build myself up."

The shooter, Andrew Lester, 85, has charges against him; his trial is forthcoming. Yarl's recovery is punctuated by his fluctuating mental state, which includes post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, further evidenced by two recent car accidents. The teenager is focused on his mental health, describing his journey as an "uphill battle."

"If someone approaches me with kindness, of course, I'm going to be friendly with them," he said. But somewhere in his subconscious, "there's always a part of me that says that person could potentially" be dangerous, he said.

Yarl is wary of strangers and hesitant to engage in simple activities like ringing doorbells. Despite the national attention and subsequent protests calling for justice, he feels his experience has not significantly influenced the broader issue of gun violence, which remains prevalent in his community. His classmates echo the sentiment, calling for more open discussions and education on gun violence in schools.

As Yarl faces the long-term consequences of his injury, his family adjusts to a new normal, replacing vacations with therapy sessions. Despite the challenges, Yarl remains a symbol of resilience and hope, with aspirations to study engineering and continue living his life to the fullest.

Link: NBCNews


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