On a beautiful January night, in a residential section of Los Angeles, a gun was cocked and pressed to my neck, then shoved in my mouth, in an armed robbery and attempted kidnapping. I survived, but it changed my life forever.
We survivors talk publicly about the impact of gun violence on our state of mind, relationships, activities and more. But less publicized is how it affects us financially. In the years since, the emotional aftermath I experienced has directly cost me tens of thousands of dollars: in choosing costly housing that provided ultra-high-level security; equally high-security garages; bills for counseling, taxis and other services solely to make me feel safe. These were not expenses I ever anticipated; this was earned income that rightfully belonged in my savings. But instead, I’ve had to pay a lifelong emotional and financial penalty due to one criminal with a handgun.