the cut on tuesdays

How It Feels to Survive Being Shot

Photo: Photo Illustration by Stevie Remsberg/Photos Getty

The Cut on Tuesdays

A weekly podcast from the Cut and Gimlet Media, with host Molly Fischer.

At this point you can probably picture the standard front page photos of a shooting: crowds embracing and weeping outside an office or school, aerial shots of police arriving, and eventually a candlelight vigil.

A few weeks back, on Twitter, some doctors started posting a different kind of photo. They wanted to show the immediate aftermath of gun violence that they saw at work every day. They posted photos of bloody gurneys, bloody scrubs — the things left behind all the time, not just when a shooting makes the news. And amid all that, a woman named Kate Ranta shared a photo of her own. She wasn’t a doctor, and the photo wasn’t from her job. It was taken in her house — right after she was shot.

In this episode, Kate tells the story behind that photo. It begins when she fell in love with a man named Tom.

KATE: When I first met him in his townhouse, he had this case of hunting rifles on display. I was like, “Okay.” He really let it be known, that he had multiple shotguns in the home. One was under the bed. Multiple handguns just in a drawer not locked up or anything. When I was moving in with Henry … Henry was three. And this was before I really knew anything at all about guns, gun safety, anything. Just instinctively, I was like, “I need you to get at least trigger locks and some safes for these handguns because I don’t need Henry–especially with a shotgun under the bed–discovering this.”

He was resistant at first because it was like, “Well, if somebody breaks in, I have to be able to grab the shotgun and blow them away.” I was like, “I can’t do this. You need to secure these guns.” He did relent and he got trigger locks and he got safes for the handguns. I was uncomfortable and he could tell I was uncomfortable.

MOLLY: Yeah, what did you say?

KATE: I was like, “Why? Why do you have so many guns?” He talked about growing up in New Jersey with his father who also was military who was a big hunter. They lived in rural Connecticut, so I know hunting and being around guns was something he had done his whole life. He was also in the military, so he explained his training. It’s something he enjoys. He likes having them also for protection. I never dated anybody with guns. I thought to myself, “Well, this is his culture. This is how he grew up. He’s military. They all have guns.”

Hear the rest of Kate’s story on this week’s episode of The Cut on Tuesdays. Click above to listen, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

How It Feels to Survive Being Shot