Mom Recalls Uncle’s Shooting and Killer’s Light Sentence: “As usual, the criminal had more rights than the victim.”

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By Tara Russo There was before and after. Before, at the age of 9, there were school activities, recreational sports and church. After, there was my uncle’s murder all over the local news. November 23, 1983, was the day before Thanksgiving and my parents were expecting a full house. My mom was busy in the kitchen and my dad and I were playing in the living room. When the phone rang, my dad picked it up jovially, but quickly his face went ashen and he turned away from us. Something was … [Read more...]

Longing for Memories That Will Never Be

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By Cristina Lafferty Hassinger, daughter of Dawn Hochsprung I was grocery shopping with my two youngest children when I got the call from my sister. Erica was crying so hard I could barely understand her. “There’s been a shooting at Mom’s school,” she told me. As I rushed out of the store, I was shaking so badly that strangers forced me to sit down in the parking lot. I didn’t know it then, but that was the first of many times I would be paralyzed by grief over the loss of my mom. Our … [Read more...]

Fatherhood Interrupted: Annette Valentin Shares Story of Her Son, Lee, Who was Killed Before His First Daughter’s Birth

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On July 29, 2006, my son Lee was shot leaving a pizza parlor in Irvington, New Jersey. He was 21-years-old and handsome, with long dreads. We had been expecting him home to discuss details of the baby shower planned for the daughter he was to have, but never to hold. Witnesses were afraid to come forward to share details of what they saw. I can’t blame them. I believe Lee knew his killers. Of the young men on the scene that night, two have since been killed by gunfire. The third is in prison … [Read more...]

A New York Mother Recalls the Day Her Teenage Son was Gunned Down After Sunday Church: “I did not realize God was preparing me for a lifetime of pain.”

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By Linda Merritt I have lived in Brooklyn, New York, my whole life and would never have thought I would be telling the story, of the day my son Tommie Merritt was gunned down on the streets of New York City. That was the worst day of my life. My baby was only 17 years old. On August 3rd, 2008, a Sunday, I spoke to my son as I was preparing to go to church with my mom. We laughed and we said to each other, “I love you,” and he went home. I went to church, where for some unexplained reason, … [Read more...]

Two Lives Extinguished: Child Commits Suicide with Dad’s Illegal Gun – His Mother then Takes Her Own Life

By Alexandria Bodden On January 14, 2013 my world was completely shattered when I was told that my 13-year old brother, Michael “Mikey” Graham, had taken his life. His death rocked the community of Putnam County, New York. There were an estimated 1500 individuals who went to Mikey's wake. Most of those people waited in line for hours just to pay their respects. Mikey was a popular kid in school. He had many friends and was the type of person who would befriend the new kid and introduce them … [Read more...]

Two Lives Extinguished: Child Commits Suicide with Dad’s Illegal Gun – His Mother then Takes Her Own Life

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By Alexandria Bodden On January 14, 2013 my world was completely shattered when I was told that my 13-year old brother, Michael “Mikey” Graham, had taken his life. His death rocked the community of Putnam County, New York. There were an estimated 1500 individuals who went to Mikey's wake. Most of those people waited in line for hours just to pay their respects. Mikey was a popular kid in school. He had many friends and was the type of person who would befriend the new kid and introduce … [Read more...]

Kate Ranta, 41-Year-Old Mother: “I almost lost my life at the end of the barrel of a gun—but I was spared.”

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Kate Ranta’s estranged husband, Thomas Maffei, appeared at her apartment in Coral Springs, Florida, on November 2, 2012, and opened fire, hitting her and her dad. She nearly died in front of her four-old-little boy. Now they all must deal with the memories—and the reality that this keeps happening to others. Kate shares her story with Moms Demand Action. I came to realize that I had endured emotional/psychological abuse throughout our marriage. I didn’t know anything about emotional abuse at … [Read more...]

A Tragic Refrain: Adult Leaves Loaded Gun Unattended—Child Dies

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Mom Darchel Mohler Writes About How Another Adult’s Negligence Caused Her Daughter’s Death On June 4, 2013, my life was obliterated. My special, beautiful, talented, and amazing daughter, Brooklynn Mae Mohler, was shot and killed due to an irresponsible gun owner. She was only 13 years old. Our current laws did not and will not protect her life; nor do the current laws give her life any value. As it stands, there will be no further accountability on the irresponsible gun owner. My … [Read more...]

A Conversation with Roxanna Green, Mother of Christina-Taylor Green

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Christina-Taylor was fearless. She wanted to change the world. Christina-Taylor said she would be a star someday. She said that up until she passed. I didn’t want it to be like this. She wanted to be the first female major league baseball player or the president. I would ask, “Do you mean first lady?” And she would say, “No, the president.” Christina-Taylor Green, age 9, was a dancer, an artist, a little league player, and a student leader in her elementary school. On January 8, 2011, … [Read more...]

33-Year-Old Lauren Green Shares Her Story of the Day She Stopped Trusting

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“I was always a fairly trusting and carefree child.” The week before High School officially started in August 1994, we had what is called “hell week” in field hockey to prepare us. I never would have imagined how close to hell this week would be. After a long tough practice, I gathered my backpack and belongings and set out for walk to my home in Old Wethersfield, Connecticut, which was about four blocks. I hadn’t even made it off school property when a car pulled up beside me. Two young … [Read more...]