This week is National Crime Victims' Rights Week. Nearly 40 percent of homicides committed in 2019 were unsolved. Read and share stories.

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Vicki Schmidt

In memory of Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung

Prior to December 14, 2012, I never imagined I would be affected by gun violence. That morning, when I heard about the shooting at Sandy Hook, I was heartbroken, thinking of the children who died. I texted Dawn to see if she was OK but, of course, never got a response. Later that day, when I found out she had been killed, my heart broke even more. I was numb for days as we traveled to Connecticut and New York for the wake and burial. I couldn’t believe this was reality.

I miss my best friend… someone besides my family who knew me my entire life. I miss the laughter and fun we shared.

Too many people are taken every day by gun violence. Every time I hear about another shooting, my breath catches in my throat. I flinch when I hear loud noises, and when I’m in a crowd of people, I always wonder if there’s someone there who has a gun.

I work for gun violence prevention to honor her memory. I know if the roles were reversed, she would do the same for me.

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