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North Valley Jewish Community Center shooting survivor, mother seek answers to gun violence

December 15, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
When 19-year-old Ben Kadish thinks about the children killed in the Connecticut shooting, his grief is accompanied by a deeper understanding. Kadish survived a gunman's rampage in 1999. He was 6 years old attending summer camp.

"I remember just paramedics coming and me crawling and stuff like that, and I remember just waking up in the hospital," he said.

The shooter, Buford Furrow, walked into the North Valley Jewish Community Center and fired dozens of rounds from a semi automatic rifle. Two bullets hit Kadish, and four others were wounded. Furrow continued his attack fueled by bigotry and gunned down a mailman.

It took years for Kadish's left leg and hip to recover. He says the emotional healing process that many in Connecticut now face begins with communication.

"You need to talk out your emotions and it's okay to show your emotions and the true feelings that you have, instead of holding it in and keeping it from everyone," he said.

Kadish is now an advocate for control. He favors strict background checks and laws that will make semi automatic weapons hard to obtain, weapons like the one that nearly took his young life.

Why he didn't die that day is a question he can't answer, at least not yet.

"I just feel like I'm lucky as a person to be able to still spend my time here and do what I can do as I'm growing up and show that I was meant to be on this planet," he said.

Donna Finkelstein agrees with Kadish's method of coping with these types of tragedies. Her daughter, Mindy, was also a victim in the summer camp shooting.

Mindy Finkelstein sustained two gunshots to her leg. The Finkelsteins also kept lines of communication open following the shooting. But each time there is a mass shooting in the United States, the wounds can't help but reopen.

Donna Finkelstein called her daughter immediately Friday following the Connecticut school massacre.

"She was sickened, of course, thinking about these parents and these kids that have to face this," said Donna Finkelstein. "Not only the parents of these 20 children but all of their families and all of society."

While it's hard to comprehend these events, Donna Finkelstein knows there are ways to potentially stop them from happening in the future.

"We'll never make sense of it, ever, and nor should we, but there are things to do and one of them is to talk openly about gun violence," she said.


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