Two Victims’ Stories: The Long Way Back Recovering From Shootings


While most people will never encounter a gun assault, the U.S. continues to have one of the highest rates of gun deaths in the developed world, says the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The newspaper is running a two-day series taking a detailed look at two women who survived shootings in recent years and the medical treatment that helped to heal them. At first glance, they seem very different.

Rasheeda Pennybaker, 29, is black, grew up poor, had a fiance who’d been involved in a criminal lifestyle, and knew the person who shot her. Surgeons are still working to repair her extensive injuries. Jackquilyne Morris, 28, is one of 12 women who were shot by a single assailant in 2009 at a fitness club. She is white, grew up middle-class, and did not know her shooter, George Sodini, who killed himself after his rampage. Her physical injuries were much less severe, although the last bullet fragment didn’t work its way out of her body until March. In other ways, they share a bond. Neither of them did anything to provoke her shooting — they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Each benefited from the treatment skills that existed at a Level 1 trauma center, UPMC Mercy. Both have shown courage and an upbeat attitude while they struggled with the emotional aftereffects of what happened to them.

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