My short bio. The abridged version is that in 2004, while coming home from work, I was mugged in front of my apartment. It escalated quickly and the mugger pulled the trigger of the .32 he was holding, sending a round at close range through my chest, nearly hitting my heart, puncturing my diaphragm and my stomach, and collapsing my left lung. I was nearly killed, and managed to (somehow) stay conscious until I finally hit the operating table, so I remember the whole thing quite well. It was a pretty close call and has shaped my life forever. So....Ask me anything!

My Proof: The best proof I could come up with, without getting a copy of the police report. Which is hard to do at 12:40am. It's a newspaper article the day after about the shooting, and you can see the surgery scar down the middle of my chest from the exploratory surgery fairly well.

EDIT: I've loved answering all these questions, but it is now very late and I must sleep. If anyone else has anything to ask I'll be sure to check back tomorrow. Thanks Reddit!

Comments: 333 • Responses: 75  • Date: 

soulless_pizzaface19 karma

How has being shot affected you? Do you have nightmares/anxiety/flashbacks? Are you are more untrusting/cautious now? Or are you like 'fuck you Im alive bitches' and seizing every moment like it's your last now?

WuTangGraham29 karma

Thank you for asking this. It's affected every aspect of my life every single day. It really put a lot of things into perspective. There was certainly a point where I knew he was going to kill me, and I prepared myself for it. Staring death right in the eyes like that has made me love life, even the bad parts. I do have nightmares and flashbacks sometimes. They aren't very fun, to say the least, although now they are fairly few and far between. The last one was about 3 months ago, and that was the first time in about a year it had happened. I am a bit more cautious in some respects, yes, but I also take many more risks now. I keep my eyes open a bit more in shadier places, and I HATE people sneaking up on me, but I also know how fragile and delicate life is, so I attempt to live it to the fullest as often as possible.

Motha_Effin_Kitty_Yo15 karma

Do you support the right to bear arms?

WuTangGraham32 karma

I certainly do, but the law definitely needs to be changed around a bit. It's too easy for bad people to legally obtain guns. That being said, I have three of my own. They are secured safely, and I only use them to target shoot. If need be, though, I would not hesitate to use one to defend myself.

Vicious_Fitz5 karma

How do you think they should be changed around?

WuTangGraham3 karma

The "Stand Your Ground" law needs to be looked at again. While everyone certainly has a right to defend their home from an attacker, they should not be allowed to pursue the attacker. That's what the police are for. Also, gun shows are an excellent loophole to be able to get weapons without a background check for very cheap. A class on how to use/care for your firearm I think should also be mandatory, just basic maintenance, marksmanship, and safety. Education, in my opinion, would help to drastically reduce the amount of gun violence. Or maybe just an intelligence test. Here's To Kill A Mockingbird, write me 1,000 words on it. Oh you can't? Well, you can't have a gun, either. I'm only sort of joking about that.

Vicious_Fitz2 karma

Interesting, thanks for answering.

WuTangGraham2 karma

I guess that is sort of the point of this. Thanks for asking.

x777x777x3 karma

Care to explain why you don't conceal carry?

WuTangGraham14 karma

Because I don't own a handgun, simple as that. Just too expensive at the moment. I have a rifle and two shotguns in my closet, and I keep a crowbar in my car at arms reach, just in case.

kenyanblast1 karma

do you know how fucking hard it is to legally get a gun in california, bad guys get them for 50 $

WuTangGraham2 karma

Which I believe is part of the problem, the system we have for firearms ownership in (most of) the United States just keeps honest people honest and dishonest people dishonest. It is also highly in favor of the upper class, since guns can range up into the $1,000 price range and well more. If you are someone like me, a line cook that's back in college for the third time, you have no disposable income, and therefor no means to purchase a weapon to defend yourself.

Baconismyfavoritefru14 karma

How did it feel being shot? And was adrenaline pumping

WuTangGraham24 karma

To be honest, at first I didn't feel a thing. Shock set in immediately, I didn't even realize I had been hit until I saw the blood. Adrenaline certainly pumped hard, and to be honest it was more terrifying than anything else. The pain didn't set in until well after the incident, pretty much as I was being loaded into the ambulance. At that point it felt like someone was putting a hot fire poker through me, like I could actually feel the path the bullet took.

morgan_freemun12 karma

Why did he shoot you? Did you refuse to give up your money or provoke him in some way?

WuTangGraham32 karma

It's a bit complicated. It turns out he was trying to rob my neighbor, who was a drug dealer. I'm a cook, so I keep strange hours, and I was coming home from work fairly late at night. He thought I was my neighbor and rolled up on me about 15 feet from my apartment door. To put it delicately, I kept it real, and it went wrong. I had a really bad day and for some reason thought he was using a fake gun, so I told him to go fuck himself. That turned out to be a very bad idea.

x777x777x13 karma

At least you were a badass about it

WuTangGraham13 karma

More like young and full of adrenaline. But thanks!

agarplate1 karma

same difference :P so did they catch the guy?

WuTangGraham5 karma

They did. He's currently served 9 years of his 35 year mandatory minimum prison sentence.

nosaJ42972 karma

Are you satisfied with that sentance, or do you think he should be in longer?

WuTangGraham4 karma

I am satisfied with it. I can't imagine losing 35 years (minimum) of my life. To put it into perspective, when he shot me he wasn't old enough to buy a beer. When he gets out of prison, he will be old enough to join the AARP.

agarplate1 karma

oh nice, so do you ever wonder if he might have changed at all in prison? like, learnt anything? do you see him as a criminal or just as someone who did something really stupid without thinking of the repurcussions?

WuTangGraham3 karma

I have wondered that, however I'm pretty sure he won't. I can't speak for every state, but, in Florida, if you are the survivor (they say victim, but I don't like that word) of a violent crime, you are enrolled in a program called VINe, or Victim's Information Network. They give me an automated phone call every time his incarceration status changes, so if he's moved to a different cell, different wing, or different prison, I know about it. He's been moved several times, now has a new tattoo that he didn't have when he went in (likely a gang tattoo), and has assaulted guards on more than one occasion. It's sad, but some people will never change. So, in short, he's just a bad person.

H_E_Pennypacker4 karma

Having been a cook, I get this. Normally would do all I could to avoid a fistfight with a single person, but catch me after a heated night at work and I'd probably be jacked on adrenaline enough to fight 7 with knives

WuTangGraham2 karma

Yeah, it was one of those nights, too. Unexpected double on my day off.

Raichu4u12 karma

Do you ever tell people "I got shot" to make yourself seem more interesting?

WuTangGraham28 karma

All. The. Time. Best pickup line ever. In all seriousness, though, it makes for a good story, and honestly I laugh about it a good bit. If I couldn't I would go insane.

Raichu4u4 karma

What's been the best way you've someone "I got shot"? Did it result in picking up some girls, getting a raise, or nothing at all?

WuTangGraham5 karma

I've never really gotten any sort of advancement out of it, but it certainly makes for a great party story. I've used it with groups of people I don't particularly know as a conversation starter.


Ever meet someone else that said "Oh shit, me too! Let's compare scars!"

WuTangGraham11 karma

All the time. I actually had a roommate for a while that had been in the Marines, he had a few gunshot wounds as well, although he did tell me mine was better (his were in his arm, leg, and armpit).

MrsQueenBee9 karma

Did the bullet go through or do you have a trophy?

WuTangGraham36 karma

The bullet hit my rib, splintered that (which is why I'm alive, it bounced off and missed my heart by fractions of a centimeter), pierced my diaphragm, hit my stomach twice, and stopped against my back. It was removed during surgery and kept in evidence for some time. I actually got it back about a year ago. It's sitting in a safe place now. Everyone has a bullet with their name on it, I just happen to get to keep mine.

autobahn8 karma

just be happy criminals are stupid and use whatever gun is laying around. a 9mm, .40, or .45 would probably have left you dead.

WuTangGraham2 karma

More than likely, however (according to my surgeon, at least), because we were so close when the gun went off, almost any caliber (short of rifle caliber) likely would not have killed me. The round needs some time to build speed out of the barrel to increase lethality. We were so close that the muzzle flash cauterized the wound. There were even powder burns around it for a while.

But yes, would much rather take my chances with a .32 instead of a .45.

tconklin8212 karma

Most badass last sentence I ever read. If I had a job I'd give you gold.

WuTangGraham3 karma

Haha, why thank you. I'll take your Reddit gold in spirit, and it's much appreciated!

CaptStegs7 karma

Did you ever make contact, like talk to, the shooter again? Did he apologize?

WuTangGraham12 karma

The only other time I saw him was on the day of his trial. He plead not guilty (even though the evidence was overwhelming, since there was a mandatory minimum sentence violent offenders will often plead not guilty just to take their chances with a trial). I got to testify against him. He never apologized, and I honestly don't believe he's sorry. He's an ass hole, and has since been in trouble in prison quite a few times, everything from minor infractions all the way up to attacking a guard. Some people just don't ever learn.

mrrp7 karma

Do you think he blames you for his arrest, and do you fear any sort of retaliation from his friends?

Did you have any interaction with his family or friends at the trial?

Did anything happen to the drug dealer?

WuTangGraham8 karma

I'm sure he does blame me for his arrest because he is a cock sucker. He likely blames the driver more (they worked as a team) because the driver popped the money for a real lawyer and rolled over on the shooter, which greatly aided in his conviction. Although the evidence was overwhelming even without that, but you know how the saying goes, "snitches get stitches." I don't particularly fear any retaliation. He will be pushing 60 when (if) he gets out of prison, and I'm fairly well armed. I can guarantee that will never happen again. As far as the drug dealer, I have no idea, I've never once spoken to him. Although I doubt anything happened, since, legally speaking, he wasn't involved.

Texanbass6 karma

How did your family react to you being shot?

WuTangGraham12 karma

That's a good question. I'm not entirely sure of their initial reaction. I didn't see any of them for a few days, my parents lived across town so they didn't get to the hospital before I hit the operating table. Once that happened, I was put under for surgery and didn't wake up for a few days. I vaguely remember them visiting me in the ICU (ICU patients aren't normally allowed visitors), but I was pretty heavily drugged. I do, however, remember seeing my dad cry. It was the first and only time I ever saw that and to this day it still breaks my heart.

curias006 karma

Was the gun obtained legally by the mugger? Were they caught?

WuTangGraham15 karma

The gun was purchased legally from a gun store in town. He had no previous record. He was indeed caught about 15 minutes later. In the getaway car. Not getting away. It was a pretty much open and shut case. They got the gun missing one bullet that was matched to me, my wallet and my paycheck in his possession. If anyone is interested, you can look him up on the Florida Department Of Corrections Database, his DC number is G12365.


What a fuckin' idiot.

What sort of drugs was the neighbor dealing? Trying to kill someone over any amount of drugs or money is shortsighted to say the least, I'm just wondering to what genus of Junky he belonged.

Stupid people take too many lives that aren't their own. Glad you stayed on this side.

Also, is life afterwards anywhere close to the movie cliche brush-with-death where the character lives as if each day is his last and it's packaged all badass with glitter and spikes? Or is it more fear-ridden than is portrayed?

WuTangGraham9 karma

I actually have no idea what my neighbor was selling. I had never actually met the guy, myself, I found out about it several months after the shooting. I had only lived in this apartment for just over a month when it happened. As far as life after, I do take some more risks, I'm pretty spontaneous and adventurous these days, and that is mainly due to my brush with death, but, of course, little day to day things still get under my skin. It's less of the cliche movie bit, and more of me saying "You know what, this long line at the drive thru isn't all that bad considering nobody is trying to kill me."

nicksinc7 karma

"You know what, this long line at the drive thru isn't all that bad considering nobody is trying to kill me."

Puts everything into perspective! Great line...

WuTangGraham2 karma

Haha, thanks!

Vortegne5 karma

What are your views on drugs on drug dealing? How long did it take to heal/recover?

Glad you're okay now, you're one badass of a man!

WuTangGraham13 karma

I think drug dealing should be legal. Then it wouldn't be drug dealing. It would just be commerce as usual. A lot fewer people would get shot if a dime bag cost a dime. It took quite a while to recover, and in some ways I never will recover fully. I spent 8 days in the hospital, 6 of those bed ridden, 3 on life support. Another 2 months off my feet (I could walk just fine, but I had lost a significant amount of weight in the hospital and was very weak), and about a year before I was able to lift anything heavier than 15lbs. The scar still hurts from time to time, and the exit wound actually itches sometimes. I have no clue why. Some nerves made new connections, as well, so certain pain responses are in the wrong place. If I eat too much, my left shoulder hurts. It's very strange. And I wouldn't call myself a bad ass, just determined to not die on a shitty sidewalk. But hey, thanks anyhow!

Vortegne4 karma

"...determined to not die on a shitty sidewalk"

That's all it take to be a badass, not everyone could do that. Also staying conscious all the way to the operating table? That's dedication!

Also are there any threats to your health in the future (caused by the shooting)?

WuTangGraham5 karma

As far as I know, no. My stomach is substantially smaller now, they had to fold it over on itself to stop any more bile from leaking out into me. That could have lead to sepsis, which is bad. And I've heard that anyone who has had a collapsed lung is at a high risk of having it collapse again, but I don't know if that's true or not.

Vortegne2 karma

Also love your tat! Thanks for the answers man, I wish you all the best! :)

WuTangGraham4 karma

Thanks very much, I have to say that is my favorite tattoo. If you are ever in Philly, locate an artist named Charlie Rouse. Great guy, and great artist.

Sangari5 karma

In what ways did it shape your life?

WuTangGraham6 karma

In every way imaginable. I now appreciate everything that life has to offer much, much more. The friendships I have, as well as my amazing family. My girlfriend at the time and man good friends that never left my side during my 8 day stay in the hospital (three days on life support in an ICU and five days in a trauma unit) . It put a lot of things into perspective for me. I could go on for days about how it's shaped me, but the best answer I can give is that I don't let little things bother me anymore. They just detract from living my life happily, and it's too short to not enjoy it.

iamstuckwiththis5 karma

What was going on in your head while you were being taken to the hospital? Did you fear dying?

WuTangGraham9 karma

There was a lot going through my head, and I certainly didn't know if I was going to live to see the next morning. I can't say that I was really afraid, though. I sort of accepted it, kind of went over my life in my head, and thought to myself "Well, I'm not going to give up, but if this is my time, well, then this is my time."

Donnie30304 karma

What did the guy get charged with and where is he now?

WuTangGraham8 karma

He was charged with, and convicted of, attempted second degree homicide and assault with a deadly weapon. He is currently serving a 35 year prison sentence in closed security at Gulf Correctional Institute in Florida.

LordGouda4 karma

Why does all the crazy shit happen in Florida?

WuTangGraham9 karma

Flouridation, Mandrake. The biggest commie plot of them all.

madeanaccountforu3 karma

Your proof gives your name.

WuTangGraham3 karma

I'm aware. Although there is a typo in it.

jampola3 karma

How was the court case that ensued? How did the guy plead? Was it strange acting as a witness? Did you feel bloody happy when he was handed down a 35 stretch?

Thanks for the AMA, Never been shot but I have seen it first hand. In saying that, it doesn't look like much fun!


WuTangGraham5 karma

The court case was (surprisingly) a model of how our justice system should work. The evidence was overwhelming, the gun, the bullet, three eyewitnesses (myself, and two of my neighbors saw it through a window), positive finger prints on the gun, he literally had no chance. That being said, he plead not guilty. It's a common practice in a case that has a mandatory minimum sentence. Plead guilty, you get 35 years, plead not guilty, maybe you get 35 years, maybe you walk. I was absolutely thrilled when he got sentenced. My parents were sitting on either side of me, and they both just grabbed my hand and squeezed when the jury read out the guilty verdict. It remains to be one of the happiest moments of my life, actually putting faith in the system and seeing it work was very rewarding. It was a bit strange being a witness at first. The last time he and I were in the same place at the same time he was trying to kill me. My lawyer talked to me a bit before hand, calmed me down, and during cross examination he was like a shark against the defense attorney. He barely let her get any questions in. It was a little weird when I was asked to identify who shot me. I pointed right at the defendant. He didn't even make eye contact with me. Coward.

jampola5 karma

I'm an Australian who constantly reads about how bad the US justice system can be but reading this also gives me a lot of faith. Mind you the whole 35 years whichever way you plead is kinda stupid but hey, I have no idea since I'm not a lawyer.

Stoked to see you've made the incident a positive in your life and not let it become a negative. high five

One last question, have you had any medical issues as a result of the shooting?

Again thanks for the AMA :)

WuTangGraham8 karma

The system is certainly screwed and needs lots of work, but when it comes to getting actual criminals behind bars, it's surprisingly effective (I also dated a crime scene investigator for a number of years, so I saw first hand how it worked through her).

I'm a firm believer of trying to take the bad and make good out of it, and always have been, even before I was shot. It's really the only way to survive life.

Not lately, I had some pain and discomfort (clearly) after the hospital stay, but most of that has subsided. Some nerves made new connections, and now some pain stimuli happen in the wrong place (when I eat too much my left shoulder hurts). Other than that, though, no.

jampola3 karma

when I eat too much my left shoulder hurts

Neurology rules!

Thanks mate and all the best!

WuTangGraham3 karma

It does that! I wish I knew more about it, I'm currently enrolled in school to become an EMT/Paramedic, so I'm learning a bit about the nervous system, but not as much as I would like to know. All I know is it's something to do with nocioceptors.

Sangari3 karma

Also what is your tattoo of?

WuTangGraham4 karma

It's lyrics from a Rancid song called Time Bomb. It's a bomb with a burning fuse that says "The Boy's A Time Bomb"

kingzombymandias3 karma

Do you feel like if you had the right to be strapped at the time that you would've/could've shot him first and avoided almost dying? Do you think that people should be allowed to carry to protect themselves? I'm a big supporter of this. I've always thought that if I was allowed to carry and someone tried to rob me I would just try to pop the fucker.

WuTangGraham6 karma

I absolutely would have attempted to defend myself if I had a weapon on me at the time. I probably would not have immediately shot him, at least give him the courtesy of a warning, but if he wasn't on the ground with his hands behind his head in a matter of seconds, then yes I would have shot and (hopefully) killed him. I, too, am a supported of an armed public, but I do think that the laws need to be overlooked a bit. There are too many loopholes.

Superfluous4203 karma

What did it sound like? How did the shooter react? Do you think justice was served?

WuTangGraham11 karma

It was a very loud, percussive sound. Surprisingly, a lot like it sounds in the movies.

He just stood still for a moment, I didn't go down immediately (that whole cliche of someone getting knocked over by a bullet doesn't actually happen), and I remember his eyes got really wide, almost like he was surprised. I suppose he may very well have been. After I hit the ground (once I processed what happened my legs just gave out), he rolled me over and proceeded to rob me with the gun pushed against the back of my head. Then he left. Because he's an idiot.

I do think justice was served. He won't get paroled until 2037, if at all. He hasn't exactly been a model prisoner. I think that this is an exceedingly fitting punishment. Often when I'm hiking through the woods or exploring a cave I think to myself, "I get to do things like this, while he has to sit in a cell and rot."

Live well, for it is the best revenge.

NathanOakCrest2 karma

Can you still have sex?

WuTangGraham11 karma

Yes, and I try to as often as possible.

NathanOakCrest1 karma

Honey, if it's okay, I'd like to shoot a load in you once a week. I'd understand otherwise, I've been an asshole. But if you want more of my cum in you, next time I'd like to try more positions. Don't tell your girlfriend and I won't tell mine.

WuTangGraham2 karma

At first that was strange. Then I read your username, and since that's the neighborhood I grew up in, and I was friends with a Nathan, I'm assuming it's actually you. That actually doesn't make it any less strange.

NathanOakCrest1 karma

The neighborhood is just not the same without you in it. Neither am I.

WuTangGraham1 karma

I certainly do miss the old Oak Crest. Drove through it not too long ago for nostalgia sake.

NathanOakCrest1 karma

You didn't even stop and say hi?!?

WuTangGraham1 karma

No idea you still lived there. I was just passing through.

NathanOakCrest1 karma

Hahaha. This isn't actually Nate. Just another old neighbor that felt like messing with you. Try not to kill me. :-)

WuTangGraham2 karma

I was starting to wonder. Now I'm starting to wonder which one.

cassassac2 karma

What was the most painful part of the entire experience?

WuTangGraham8 karma

Hands down the hospital. When I first got there they didn't have my medical history, so no pain killers. They did some fairly invasive things to me once they decided I needed surgery, including giving me a Foley catheter without anything for the pain. I screamed bloody murder. I actually sobbed through that part (so much for being a bad ass). Also, because the catheter was in me for so long (about 4 days), my ureter and urethra had atrophied, so I couldn't pee on my own. That meant that I had to get an "in-and-out" catheter, which is every bit as painful as you would think. They would put it in me, drain my bladder, and pull it back out. That happened 7 times. It never got easier.

IAZNAL3 karma

There's no shame in sobbing through a Foley catheter

WuTangGraham3 karma

None at all. Most painful experience of my life.

fracking_u2 karma

Dude. Wicked scar.

But seriously, I know my anatomy and physiology decently. Where you able to keep breathing on your own with the punctured diaphragm? I get the collapsed left lung is making breathing difficult, but damn with the screwed up diaphragm. That's just terrifying to think about.

WuTangGraham8 karma

Why thanks, there are actually more of them, but you can't see them in this picture.

It was incredibly hard to breathe on my own, but not at first. The adrenaline kicked in, I didn't feel a thing. I actually managed to get up after and walk inside to call my own ambulance. Once my roommate had me on the couch is when I started to calm down a bit, and that's when it became hard to breathe. I was actually on the phone with dispatch telling them I thought I had been hit in the lung and was having trouble breathing.

JuxtaTerrestrial2 karma

What's your favorite color?

WuTangGraham3 karma


Motha_Effin_Kitty_Yo2 karma

Did he shoot you to get rid of the witness or because you tried to stop him from mugging you?

WuTangGraham6 karma

He shot me mostly because he's a dumbass. I didn't want to give up what I had, since I had been paid that night. To this day I don't know all his motivations. He had a gun to the back of my head after I hit the ground, and I was convinced he was going to splatter my brains all over the sidewalk right then and there to get rid of any witnesses, but he didn't.

Motha_Effin_Kitty_Yo2 karma

  1. Did he get caught?

  2. What method had you been paid with? Cash? Check? Because you could have just given up a check...

WuTangGraham7 karma

He did, very shortly after. The police actually did an amazing job.

I had been paid with a check, and it was a corporate payroll check, so yes I could have just given it to him and he never would have been able to do anything with it. However, he also thought I was a drug dealer (which I was not), so if I did that he likely would have just thought I was holding out on him. Besides, "I once got robbed and just gave up my paycheck" isn't anywhere near as cool of a story as "Some cock biter shot me".

Motha_Effin_Kitty_Yo7 karma

I wasn't there so I can't say what I would have done...but I can't believe you held out on giving him a check could died over a piece of paper the crook couldn't have even cashed in

WuTangGraham6 karma

I've thought that every day. I guess hindsight is 20/20.

airitout2 karma

Hey man. Glad you are alright!

Well, since you are a cook, what's your favorite winter-time dish that a bachelor with minimal cooking skills could pull off?

WuTangGraham2 karma

I live in Florida, winter isn't really a thing here. But if it were, probably just about anything confit. Just something so warm and comforting about cooking one animal in the fat of another.

aero19922 karma


WuTangGraham1 karma

Thanks a lot, I'm glad there are so many questions.

volkz192 karma

Glad your alright man!

WuTangGraham2 karma

Thanks very much, so am I.

Freddit112 karma


WuTangGraham1 karma

Better or worse is a hard thing to gauge in a situation like this. The loss of a life is a tragedy, no matter how you look at it, and were I armed he likely would not be serving prison time, but instead be in a coffin. The outcome would have (likely) been very different, I'm sure, but I don't know if I could say it would have been better.

kathoron1 karma

Many people talk about having sudden clarity/ very focused last thoughts in moments like that. Is there any one thing or person/family member who came into your mind, or was it all most the "wow shit there is a hole in my body/ am I going to live" type thoughts..?? By the way I understand the pick-up line thing you mentioned in some previous comments, I would soooo listen to a guy sit at a bar and tell me about getting shot in the chest :P

WuTangGraham1 karma

It's hard to pin it to any one thought or point, really. I thought about my friends, my family, my life up until that point. I knew I didn't want to give up on all that without a fight, but I also knew that the situation was quite dire and that I might not make it out. A survival instinct certainly kicked in, so there was definitely a lot of "Alright, contain the bleeding, stay calm, don't hyper-ventilate" going through my head as well. And if you are ever in North Florida I'll meet you at a bar and we can talk about gun shot wounds all you want.

tronbob1 karma

Does you being shot have anything to do with you dating police officers?

WuTangGraham1 karma

Not at all. I've only dated one cop (and to be technical, she wasn't a badged officer, she was a civilian investigator. Had a truck that said "Forensic Crime Unit" on the side, but didn't say "Police"), and it was completely coincidental. She actually worked for the department that responded to my shooting, but didn't get hired until about a year after.

GrosSaucisson1 karma

Easily one of the best AMAs I've ever read. It's nice not having someone trying to sell you something.

What are your religious views?

WuTangGraham2 karma

I appreciate that very much, and I'm glad you enjoy reading as much as I enjoy answering.

My religious views are strange, to say the least, and they always have been. My mom is a non-practicing Catholic, and my dad converted from Catholicism to Hinduism, so, yeah. Try to figure out the family religions dynamic there, because I sure never could.

As far as my personal beliefs go, and these are just my beliefs, I'm not saying they are absolutely right or that they are what everyone else should believe. I believe in the concept of a higher authority, or a god, if you will. I DO NOT believe in anything from the Bible or any other holy scripture, nor do I believe that Jesus Christ actually ever existed. I've long held the belief that organized religions are pure evil, and while I know there are certainly exceptions to that (I know there are churches that do good things), they are the overwhelming minority, it seems. I believe firmly in science, reason, and logic, but I also understand that there are things beyond that which cannot, and maybe aren't supposed to, be explained.

CorporalEd1 karma

What was going through your head after getting shot?

WuTangGraham2 karma

A million things, it's hard to really pin it down into one thought.

Fight Or Flight certainly kicked in, I thought about surviving and what I needed to do to survive. I made my peace with God, because I knew the shooter was about to blow my brains out. I thought more about survival when he fled the scene and left me breathing. Mostly I thought about family and friends. About how it took an instant like that to realize how important they all are, because I knew there was a chance I wouldn't see any of them ever again. I thought about how, when I do finally die, I want to be able to say goodbye, not just get swept away in an instant.

roundhousekik1 karma

He's currently served 9 years of his 35 year mandatory minimum prison sentence.

Criminal justice grad student here. What's the minimum prison sentence you feel this guy should serve in order for you to feel like you got "justice" from the CRJ system?

WuTangGraham1 karma

I do feel like justice was served correctly in this case. 35 years is an incredibly long time. By the time he gets out, he will have lived more of his life in prison than out of it. I am actually a big fan of Florida's 10-20-Life law regarding violent gun crimes.

Love_Battery1 karma

Thanks for the AMA. Do you take any more precautions now, like being aware of your surroundings, not going out at night, etc.?

WuTangGraham1 karma

I take a few more. I keep a loaded gun in my house, and I try to be more aware of my surroundings. I tread a fine line of sensible precaution without living in fear. If I live my life every day afraid that something like this is going to happen, than he wins. That means he killed me on that sidewalk.

MrMostDefinitely1 karma

Are you pro-gun or anti-gun?

And what can you tell me to tell others to support your stance?

WuTangGraham2 karma

I'm pro gun, I actually own several myself. The pro-gun control lobby has their hearts in the right place, they seek to reduce gun violence in America, and that's a noble cause. The problem is, while their heart is in the right place, their heads aren't. I look at it from more of a stance of practicality than a stance of ethics. The reality of the situation is that there are lots of people in America who own guns. If gun control legislation was passed, the only people that would willingly give up their guns would be people that would not have committed a crime with them in the first place. Further, the government doesn't actually know who has guns and who doesn't, so in order to actually seize all weapons from citizens, they would literally have to go door to door through America. I can't begin to describe how much of a bad idea this would be. Not to mention the fact that no politician will ever put forth a real effort to get rid of guns, it's political suicide. Gun control is a losing fight. I also firmly believe that everyone has the right to be able to defend themselves and their home.

MrMostDefinitely1 karma

Are you familiar at all with Australia? And how their gun situation changed?

WuTangGraham1 karma

I know what I've heard, but I'm sure it was biased, and I'm sure I don't have all the details. So, no.

HunkySausage1 karma

If you could rewind time and change the fact that you got shot; would you? Thank you for answering all these questions.

WuTangGraham1 karma

Absolutely not. For as horrible as it was, it was also one of the best things that ever happened to me. I didn't realize how loved I was, or how much I loved others, until it was almost taken away from me.

WeAreStillLife1 karma

Not sure if it's been asked but what happened to the guy who shot you?

WuTangGraham1 karma

He was arrested that same night. It's actually kind of a funny story, and it has been asked but I haven't gone into great detail about here it is:

After he shot me he took some of belongings and fled the scene. He called his getaway driver, who then came and picked him up. By this point the police had already received several calls about the shooting, including my call. They had the apartment complex surrounded, and blocked off both entrances and were stopping any car coming in or out. I had given a description of the shooter so they knew who they were looking for. There was a brief altercation with the police (the details I'm not totally clear on since I wasn't there), at which point he was arrested and brought to the police station for interrogation. I've watched the interrogation video, and it's actually quite laughable. He admitted to shooting me, but said that it was accidental. He said he was getting the gun from a friend of his named "Tim" in the complex (hilariously enough, there was nobody named Tim living there. The cops checked), and that he peeing in the bushes, and I startled him, he turned around and the gun went off accidentally. At which point I gave him my wallet and paycheck and he fled. He subsequently went to trial, was convicted, and has now served 9 years of a 35 year mandatory minimum sentence in prison.

WeAreStillLife1 karma

Sounds like he had a solid story haha... seriously though if I were you I would want to see the guy dead. Do you think he got what he deserved?

WuTangGraham1 karma

Other than the fact that he will never experience the physical torment I had to deal with, yes I think he got what he deserved. I can't even fathom having my entire life stripped from me for 35 years. I harbor a lot of resentment for him, of course, but I know that, in the end, the universe has a way of working itself out.

Side Note: He actually changed his story the day of the trial from "Peeing and shooting" to "I was robbing him for drug money, he grabbed the gun, and it went off." Just for clarity, before he tried to kill me I had never met this guy.

krnxkin1 karma

Do you remember the pain of the gun shot? It's totally understandable if you can't remember how much pain there was due to shock and what not. If you do, what was it like? This may sound ridiculous, but any comparable pain?

WuTangGraham2 karma

There was no pain initially, I didn't even realize I had been shot until I saw the blood on my shirt. Once shock wore off, though, it was an intense burning sensation. It was weird, but I could actually feel the burn all the way through me, like I could feel the path the bullet took through my body. I can't really think of anything that would compare to this.

ablanchard171 karma

Do you wish you were carrying a gun of your own at the time?

or was a cell phone sufficient?

WuTangGraham1 karma

This is a complicated question. I have often wished I was armed and able to defend myself, but I also don't know how it would have gone. He certainly had the drop on me, snuck up behind me with the gun already drawn, so even if I had a weapon and I drew it, he likely would have shot me anyhow, and in that case probably would have finished the job. I didn't have my phone on me, I can't really remember why, now. It was 2004, so they weren't as common nor as reliable as they are now, so that could be why. I think it also may have been in the car instead of on my person. I did manage to get inside and call the police from a land line (In case you are under 25, those are phones you can't take out of the house), and, while their response time was excellent, if the shooter had still been there, I would probably be dead. A phone is certainly not a substitute for direct intervention.

EvilTech51501 karma

If there such a thing as "non-violent" gun crime? And if so, what would it be? ;)

This book might be of interest anyway.

It's out of print, but you might be able to find a pdf copy somewhere on the interwebs.

WuTangGraham1 karma

I may be mistaken, but just pulling a gun, while still a crime, I don't believe is considered violent. It's still a felony, just not a violent one. However, you do raise a good point, and that seems like an interesting read. Thanks!

credy1 karma

Did you have health insurance at the time? How much were your hospital bills? I work as an armed guard, so I'm at a higher risk of getting shot than most other people, but the company insurance is stupidly expensive compared to my pathetic paycheck. I understand that I have some sort of coverage through the VA as a veteran, but I don't know how much they would cover if I had to go to an ER and have an extended hospital stay

WuTangGraham1 karma

I was on my parents health insurance at the time. Luckily. The hospital bills were upwards of $50,000. The insurance company picked up part of the tab, but, since it's their job to deny benefits, they fought us pretty hard on it. Luckily the state of Florida has a program set up that will help cover medical costs for victims of violent crimes. They either cover 75% of the bill, or up to a certain dollar amount, whichever is greater. I don't remember what the dollar amount is, now, but I know that we went way over it, so they picked up 75%.

hamblender1 karma

Did you dieded?

WuTangGraham1 karma

I am indeed quite dead.

LewdConduct1 karma


WuTangGraham1 karma

They had to repair the hole in my diaphragm and the holes in my stomach, plus remove the bullet (the paramedics said they could actually feel it against my back). Being that I wasn't conscious, and I'm also not a med student, I will try to explain as best I can. They did exploratory surgery on me, since my rib had been splintered and there were bone fragments in me. They removed the fragments, and then went to repairing my punctured diaphragm and stomach. My stomach was actually folded on itself during surgery when they stitched it up, which has actually given me a much smaller appetite even to this day. Although for the actual medical terminology you would probably be better off asking one of your doctors. Good luck in med school, I have friends who have been through and I know how hard it is.

bayiscoolioz1 karma

What did the mugger demand?

WuTangGraham1 karma

Nothing I could have given him. It turns out he thought I was the drug dealer that lived in the apartment next to mine.