gun violence

‘Oh, it’s just my skin.’ I’d stare in the mirror, worrying how to look as pretty as the other girls.’: Young woman born with vitiligo skin condition develops eating disorder to look as good as her peers, finally learns ‘recovery is worth it’

“‘As soon as someone notices something is wrong, I will stop.’ I was waiting for the attention. Girls would run away from me because they did not want to ‘catch my disease.’ Every day, while throwing away my lunch in school, or doing sit-ups in my bedroom, I started to feel proud. I was 13, and weighed 60 pounds. Your passions cannot be accomplished if you are struggling yourself.”

‘Don’t move!’ He shot me a second time, and left. I sure wasn’t going to die without a fight.’: Woman attacked by ‘close knit’ EMT coworker suffering from PTSD is ‘thankful’ to still be here

“He texted me saying he was going to pop in to say, ‘Hi.’ I was laying on the floor watching TV when he entered. The next thing I knew, I was holding my head with my hands and screaming. I thought he had had a PTSD episode and shot me while thinking I was someone else. I crawled outside and knocked on the neighbor’s door. ‘Please call 911,’ I asked him.”

‘I got a message from a stranger offering condolences for my fiancé. My heart raced. I had NO IDEA what was going on.’: Deputy paralyzed in shooting, girlfriend embraces his ‘new normal’ with open arms

“I knew I needed to be wherever he was. I raced upstairs, put on clothes. After several unanswered phone calls, Jamie’s sergeant picked up. ‘He’s been shot in the back.’ He was paralyzed from the sternum down. The news didn’t hit until I had to relay it to my parents. I can’t make his pain go away. I can’t make his legs move again. But what I can do is love him.”

‘In 1997, at the lowest point in my life, I snapped and bought a gun. I was almost a school shooter.’: Man overcomes abusive childhood, bullying, says ‘kindness’ stopped him from doing ‘the worst thing imaginable’

“When you’ve been told you’re ‘worthless’ enough times, you’ll believe it. I had no home and often slept outdoors. The isolation and bullying became unbearable. I wanted to feel an emotion other than pain. I wanted to feel, for once, like I was in control. If I’d possessed a rifle, I would have been a killer. If I’d known love, I would have never wanted a rifle.”

‘Am I ever going to walk again? Will I survive this?’ I couldn’t see it coming or avoid it. I never saw the man who did it. I just felt the shattering vibration in my leg and collapsed.’

“There was no fight, no scuffle. Just bone-crushing shock. For years, I imagined him as every man I saw – walking down the street, opening my office door, pushing through a crowd. Every victim I heard about on the news was me – helpless and broken – life as they knew it taken from them in one moment.”

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