Panel and book signing June 29 highlight gun violence survivors_lowres

Shyrica is one of many featured in Shot: 101 Survivors of Gun Violence in America.

One of every five people pictured in Kathy Shorr's Shot: 101 Survivors of Gun Violence in America was shot in an incident of domestic violence.

There's Shyrica, who was shot by her husband in a Walmart parking lot. Elizabeth was shot in the face by her estranged husband, who then killed her 18-year-old daughter. A Miami woman was shot in the parking lot of her apartment building by her husband, a veteran with PTSD.

These women all appear in the book, along with portraits of 98 other survivors. They represent just a small fraction of the thousands of people in America who are victims of gun violence each year, many of whom have no personal involvement with criminal activity. Shorr presents the book at a panel discussion at Treo Thursday night, where she'll appear with a trauma surgeon and some of of the people she photographed.


"I thought if I could put a human face on this experience that could happen to anyone ... if we started to look at the people who this happened to, we could have a better understanding about it," she says.

As a victim of violent crime herself, Shorr has first-hand experience with its terror. Many years ago she and her 2-year-old daughter were robbed at gunpoint during a home invasion. "Having a gun pointed at you is probably the scariest feeling a human being can have," she says.

That frightening experience helped inspire her work on the book. Her focus on survivors came from her intuition that the focus often falls on people who have been killed in gun-related incidents, while many others endure many different degrees of injury that go almost unmentioned or unnoticed.

"The survivor stories are really powerful," Shorr says. "For the most part, most of the people who come to the events don't really know many gun violence survivors. This gives them the chance to see a real person who this has happened to."

Shorr often photographed victims at the site where they were shot, an experience many found cathartic. Her book also includes a portrait of longtime Gambit contributor Deborah "Big Red" Cotton, who recently passed away from complications from her injuries sustained after being shot while attending a second line.

Shorr wants her book to encourage a more reasonable conversation about living with and among guns, a divisive topic she says is too often influenced by money from lobbying groups such as the National Rifle Association, and by America's polarized politics.

"[We should] stop calling people names and stop getting into these rigid positions," she says. "How can we smartly live with something that is capable of doing damage?"

Rotary Club of Mid-City co-hosts the panel and book signing, which begins at 7 p.m. The book is available for pre-order online. It's free to attend the discussion.