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Marilou Montis

I was a child of privilege, having grown up in a diverse and wealthy community outside of Cleveland. However, privilege does not guarantee that gun violence won’t find you.

My first incident with gun violence occurred at the tender age of 4. Dad treated me to a McDonald’s breakfast. We exited the restaurant only to see a lifeless man lying in the parking lot. He had been shot. The image of the wound in his chest never escapes my memory.

My first job out of college was with a well-known rent-to-own company. I had sold, delivered and installed various merchandise throughout every corner of Cleveland. I instinctually would knock on a customer door sideways to avoid possible gunfire from behind their door. My store was robbed at gunpoint during a busy Friday evening. I averted my gaze as he left; l didn’t want to draw attention to myself. At 25 I had been traumatized again.

Fast forward to today. I live in a once quiet neighborhood that is now plagued by gunfire. Privilege does not guarantee that gun violence won’t find you. My car back window was shattered in my driveway. I fear for our safety. Will it ever end?

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.