During the summer of 2013, Antonius, 30, was on his way to the subway near his apartment in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. A stranger, aiming for a nearby woman, shot at him from a passing car.
The violence was not from the neighborhood — the woman who was the victim, and the shooter, they were not from there — but the people that helped save my life were. The guy who held down my wound to stop it from bleeding was a local barber. A woman who lived here all her life kept me awake the entire time, yelling at me. There was a guy who was going to a job interview, and he fanned me with his résumé.
Before the shooting, I wasn't morally against [guns]. I felt like that was an American right. However, after the shooting, I discovered that there aren't any checks and balances for those rights.
It's a moot point whether the gun that shot me was legal, because at some point [the shooter] got this gun from somewhere. Preventing the authorities from tackling this is causing people to suffer and die. At some point, this guy got hold of a gun, and it's largely because a lot of the guns in states like New York come from places that have very open policies and no background checks.
“It's a moot point whether the gun that shot me was legal.”
But I was definitely more of a pessimist before I got shot. Now, it's like there are really good people in this world: One guy shot me and a hundred people saved my life.
As told to Elisabeth Garber-Paul