It’s funny, but I really didn’t think of myself as being a gun violence survivor until recently. I’ll tell you my story and let you decide what you think.
I was living in New Orleans; I was about 23. It wasn’t very late; it was only about a quarter after 10. I was coming home from seeing a movie near Tulane University, walking down this seemingly safe street in the Garden District, past a mansion, when a man stepped out of the bushes, grabbed my wrist with one hand, pointed a gun at my head with the other and said, “Don’t scream or I’ll kill you!” He tried to pull me into the bushes, I assumed to rape me. I tried to continue on my way, pulling him in the opposite direction. I said “Hey, you just go your own way; I’ll go my way. Leave me alone.” He said again, “Don’t scream or I’ll kill you! I said, “I don’t care! Leave me alone!” He said, “You don’t care—are you crazy?” He then hit me in the side of the neck with the butt of the gun, not hard enough to knock me out, but hard enough to make me see stars. That infuriated me. I leaned in close to his face, and screamed as loudly as I could. He dropped my wrist and ran away.
In retrospect, this scenario could have gone entirely south; he could have easily shot me. I was lucky. But even though he didn’t fire the gun, that was still gun violence.