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In a flash, the gun was pointed directly at me. I had to make an instant decision.

I was a youth counselor for at-risk teens, ages 14-17. For most of these kids, social activities were NEUTRAL ground. There was no gang rivalry allowed; the intent was to help the kids see their commonality.

For the most part, we were successful. Grades and attendance went up. We met families. New alliances were, ever-so-slowly, being formed.

One evening, I created a skating event and snacks at the local roller rink. Under the sound of music, a rumble was brewing. It escalated. In the parking lot, directly across from me, a boy screamed to a passenger getting into my car, “I got you, homie.” He pulled a gun. “Put the gun down,” I said. “I’m not, Miss, I’m going to kill him.”

I stepped directly into the path of that gun: “You aren’t going to kill me.” I have always wondered and hoped that seeing that up close made an impression on young minds. Their friend put the gun down. It was terrifying, surreal. In one fragile moment, the gun did not fire.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.