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Matt Stoner Fehsenfeld

As a kid, I was at a Blockbuster Video with my friend and his mom when a group of people burst in the front door and opened fire on the security guard. Hearing the shots, but not really understanding what was happening, I dropped to the floor in terror. A few more shots were fired before the shooters fled. In the minutes following, people were screaming, crying, calling the police, hiding in the back room — all in a complete panic.

In the chaos, none of the adults noticed these two kids wandering around, trying to figure out what had happened and what to do next. We walked toward the biggest group of adults we could see; they were gathered around the security guard, who had been shot. There was blood everywhere, and I witnessed his final, struggling breaths before he died. No one in my family or in my life was prepared to deal with a trauma of this magnitude, and so I was left to suffer alone with a shattered sense of safety and security. It was 25 years, thanks to countless hours of therapy, meditation, and support from other survivors, before I felt whole again.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.