An Unsecured Firearm Changed the Life of My Toddler Forever

Eli Baseball

On April 5, 2002 my life changed forever. That day, my four-year-old son found a handgun lying on a stack of children’s books, loaded with the safety off. This negligent act would leave lasting scars on a beautiful four-year-old child, but those responsible would go unpunished. This is the story of my son, Eli. On this day, my estranged husband picked up our two young sons, Eli and Ethan (age 2), to take them to Louisville to visit their grandparents. The boys were cranky when their dad … [Read more...]

Faces of Courage: Wendy Watson Marietta


My youngest daughter, Caroline, lived in Arizona where she attended Pima Medical Trade School, where she graduated with honors in April 2011. A few months before her graduation, she met a man who moved into her apartment complex. He was charming, attentive, and always available with a helping hand to take out the trash or unload groceries. He often took the time to surprise her with flowers at her internship, despite his own demanding work schedule. By all appearances, he was a great guy. But it … [Read more...]

Faces of Courage: Uma Loganathan

Daddy 02

As this Father's Day drew near, I received tons of emails about the "perfect Father's Day present" from a number of my favorite companies. "Is your dad a techie? How about an academic? Does he love sports? Find the perfect gift here!" There were so many choices – he would want all of those things. He loved gadgets, books, and sports. They were all perfect, but I couldn't give him any of them. In fact, I haven't given him anything for eight years. My father, Professor GV Loganathan, was shot … [Read more...]

Faces of Courage: Michael Carlip


By Michael Carlip On May 15 of last year, I was busy meeting with students as part of my job as a behavior analyst for Collier County public schools in Naples, FL. I recall telling one student that my dad, Harry Carlip, was getting married again at the age of 70, and how I was looking forward to the wedding. Little did I know my dad would never make it to the wedding but, instead, be brutally murdered just two days before he was set to walk down the aisle. My world was shattered when … [Read more...]

Faces of Courage: Dorothy Paugh

Peter Paugh

Almost fifty years ago — on what I thought was going to be a fun-filled, relaxing summer day — my father took his life by putting a gun to his head, leaving my mother to raise five children between five and 15 years of age. I was just eight years old and, on that day, the world immediately became less safe to me. While he fought in Burma in World War II, my father didn’t own a gun—that is, until he bought one for the purpose of ending his life. Years later, I joined the Navy and qualified as a … [Read more...]

I Wish She Would’ve Held Me Rather Than That Gun.


By Khary Penebaker I am a 37-year-old man and I don't remember my mom. I don't know her birthday. I don't know her voice, her touch, her smell. I don't know much about her. On September 8, 1978, she committed suicide with a gun that my grandfather had given her. She died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, alone in her car. She left behind an infant who would never get to grow up with his mom. For most of my life, I have struggled with two questions: how much could I be worth … [Read more...]

Faces of Courage: Sandra Rougier Frank


On February 1, 1999, my only child, Teshawn Samuel, was walking around his Brooklyn neighborhood, handing out invitations for his daughter’s fourth birthday party. The details about what happened next are unclear, but Teshawn was approached by four gunman and was shot a total of 17 times with three different guns. As he fell to the ground, he asked for someone to “call my mother” and was able to dictate my phone number. When I arrived at the hospital, Teshawn had already succumbed to his wounds. … [Read more...]