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Growing up in Knoxville, Tennessee, I have seen my fair share of gun violence. However I was never aware that it was abnormal. It was actually very normal and just another day to me and my friends.

My first experience came in late summer, when I was 14 years old. My cousin and I were playing in our yard when a car drove up and parked in front of our house. My uncle went out to meet the man, and a heated argument ensued. The man then walked back to his car, and moments later, shots rang out. We didn’t duck or run because we didn’t know what was happening. My uncle ran towards him with a knife as he kept shooting at our house, which had my grandmother inside. The man then drove off. No police were called, and nothing was ever said to me or my 9-year-old cousin.

It was a drug deal gone bad. Drugs were a part of a normal day in Knoxville, and drive-bys were just part of that. When police were called, only statements were taken, and there was never any further action taken. This was my normal.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.