In the mid 2000s I lived about an hour from Philadelphia in a city known for gun violence. On a New Year’s Eve I awoke to an odd sound. I looked around but couldn’t find anything. The next day I found a hole in my bedroom wall three feet from the head of my bed and a hole in a window in a back room. It had just missed my head. I called 911. Police came over and found a bullet in my bedroom. It had been fired into a room in the other end of my apartment.
A few years later, a shooting took place at my apartment building. One of the shooters shot off a porch 20 feet above my apartment. He used a semiautomatic gun and fired off 12 shots within five seconds. Overnight I crashed into a massive depression. I had paralyzing nightmares about being shot at with automatic weapons. I still jump at sudden loud noises sometimes. A couple of batteries rolled off my desk and onto my hardwood floor, sending me into sheer panic. It sounded like automatic gunfire.
I decided to write a letter to lawmakers to try to get better gun laws. Not to ban all guns but to get tighter restrictions so that no one else would ever have to go through my pain. No law would eliminate gun violence, but if my letter helped to save one person from having to go through this, then it was worth it.