My brother is not the same person he was before he was shot. Growing up we spent a lot of time together. He loved to play guitar and video games. When he graduated high school he went to mechanic school. By the end of the first year, he was at the top of his class.
It was in the middle of the night when I received a call from one of his friends. He informed me that my brother had been shot in the head and was in the ICU.
I’m one of the lucky ones. My brother lived, though serious consequences remain. He doesn’t understand social cues like he did before. He finds the emotional lives of others confusing and has difficulty maintaining healthy and intimate relationships. The gunshot paralyzed his left arm and left him with epilepsy. He can no longer play basketball, guitar or the video games he loved so much. He’s been homeless, incarcerated and addicted. His friendships and romantic relationships are too often toxic. Sometimes he is OK. Sometimes he’s not.
My brother may not be the same person he was before he was shot – but neither am I. I’ve spent a lot of my time in the past 10 years thinking about my brother, guns and violence. I think our country can take sensible steps to prevent what happened to my brother from happening so often.
I am proud to work on the side with Moms Demand Action and the Survivor Network. I now know that I am not alone. It is a comforting feeling to know there are others who understand what I have been through. But it is also a devastating feeling to know there are thousands of people who can call themselves survivors.
The fact that gun violence persists in America at such a high rate is not inevitable and it is not OK. There are real and attainable gains we can make now with considered policy intervention. I have pledged to fight for these changes. Join me.