My cousin was playing with a .22 rifle that his older brother stored in their shared bedroom. The family hunted, so there were several guns in the house; the rule was to make sure they were unloaded before bringing them in the house. The gun went off as he was handling it, and I suddenly found myself sitting on the floor.
I didn’t realize what had happened until I looked up and saw the terrified look on my cousin’s face. When I looked down, I saw a tiny hole in my shirt with a spot of blood and a smudge of gunpowder. I was lucky to have been shot in the chest, 6 millimeters from my aorta, and not in the head or abdomen. I was also lucky to have been on the receiving end of the bullet, because the mental scars left by that accident are much harder on my cousin than the physical scars that still affect my health.