total hearts received for Moments That Survive

Tony Cope

When my daughter was 6, I hid her and an unknown girl (15) from a gunman in our local Target. The gunman killed his ex while she working the register, and eventually took his own life when the police arrived. Try explaining to your small child why that would happen while shopping for shoes for her birthday.

When my oldest was 18, she called in terror as she hid in a bathroom at a friend’s home from a man with a shotgun. Domestic violence with an older sibling in that home. My child was held hostage, alone in that home for 45 minutes with the gunman. She survived. Try a few years of 3 a.m. PTSD panic attacks with your daughter — both at home and over the phone while she was away at college.

Six months later, an angry man fired his pistol into the floor. My oldest daughter was directly below in the downstairs apartment, and the bullet missed her by less than two feet. She laughed it off. My wife and I did not sleep that night.

We have all survived, unlike so many of my friends, and yet the cumulative effect of gun violence has left wounds that will last a lifetime.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.