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Natalie & W

On February 13, 2022, my four-year-old son and I were both wounded as uninvolved bystanders, caught in the crossfire between a group of people who had met up for an illegal gun sale. The incident happened in the middle of the afternoon, just steps away from the playground at our neighborhood park, in a suburban neighborhood known for being one of the safest communities in America.

The bullets seemed to hit my legs out of nowhere; my brain could not process what was happening. I instinctively scooped up my son, and we ran for our lives. Later I learned that a bullet had entered my thigh, traveled down the back of my knee, and is now permanently lodged in my calf. My son retained a large piece of shrapnel in his arm, which later had to be surgically removed due to the high levels of lead it was leaching into his body. Fortunately, we are now almost fully recovered from our physical injuries, but the psychological trauma and anxiety still lingers for both of us.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.