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When I was 21 years old, I visited my hometown for my younger brother’s high school graduation. That evening, after the ceremony, I met up with my best friend, and we decided to catch up at a local coffee shop. When we left the coffee shop, we crossed the street to head to the parking lot where our car was. As we were approaching our car, two young men ran up behind us and yelled. When we turned around to see what they wanted, we saw that one of them was pointing a gun at us. They took our purses and ran away.

Thankfully, my friend had already taken her keys out of her purse. We jumped in the car as fast as we could and drove, trembling, home. We called the police when we arrived home, and they told us there wasn’t much they could do and that we should have gone back to the coffee shop (in the direction the men ran!) to call the police from there (we didn’t have cell phones then). I constantly replayed what happened over and over in my head and wondered what we could have done differently. Even though we were okay I couldn’t stop thinking about if things had gone wrong and one or both of us had been shot. Even now, over 25 years later, I can still remember every detail of that night.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.