The United States has an epidemic of gun violence. Each year, more than 30,000 people are killed by firearms. More than half of those are the result of firearm related suicides. Discussions about gun control often center on reducing the numbers of firearm related deaths. Lost in that discussion, however, is that many people have had their lives irrevocably altered by firearms. They may not have died, but they have been affected by the gun violence in the US. Here is the story of one such survivor, Kharyee Reid:
Reid, 27, grew up in southwest Philadelphia. He has been shot a total of 10 times in three different incidents.
When I was 15, I was walking and somebody tried to rob me and I got shot in my knee. The gun was found at the scene. When we were at the hospital, I told the detectives what happened, but they said the way I left the scene made it look like I shot myself. So they charged me. I was on probation and they put me in a gun program, which I went to every day after school. I didn’t like it, but they talked about gun violence, talked about different experiences, took us to the morgue. In the end, it taught me a lot.
When I was 21, one night my girlfriend asked me to get something she left in the car. I guess there was some money or something in her jacket. This was 12 at night. So I was walking to the car and this guy just jumped out with a hood on and started shooting. I ran around the car, ran down the street and got hit in the hip. I fell and my leg was twisted. When I looked up again, the guy was walking to me and I just felt my body jumping. He ran off and my girlfriend came outside and called the cops. I got shot seven times. I was in the hospital for a month.
(This article is part of a series on gun violence by Rolling Stone. Click here to listen to a short interview with Kharyee Reid)