Shooting victim speaks out about the life-changing bullet that hit his spine

In the midst of the city's ongoing gun violence crisis, the shooting victims themselves often get forgotten about. Shooting victims face a lifelong battle as they recover from physical and emotional wounds and for some victims, their lives are forever changed. 

Doctors told Kareem Tighlman that he'd never be able to walk again, but he didn't accept that. While getting around may be tougher for him, now, Tighlman still manages to get to the barbershop, the gym, and to his weekly hospital visits. 

Tighlman was paralyzed two years ago by a life-changing bullet that hit his spine while he was driving his car. Ever since then, Tighlam says going to the barbershop is a lot more for him than just a simple shape-up. 

"You’ve got to get out. The way to cope is to get outside the house. To not be in the house. That's the way to cope. You find someone to look to, to pray to," said Tighlman. 

Tighlman is just one example of the 1600 plus shootings in the city so far this year. According to the city's gun violence statistics, four out of five shootings are nonfatal, leaving scores of people hit by bullets, hurt, and struggling. 

"It's still a huge transition. Just trying to maneuver him and his mobility and building his strength back up. It's a huge struggle from day to day," said Tighlman's mom. 

Tighlman says he will fully recover, but he also says the injury has made him aware of who his real friends are. 

Artist Michael "OG Law" Ta'bon was hit in the knew with a bullet fragment 20 years ago, and although he was okay, he says it hurts his heart to see people fall victim to gun violence every day. 

"People pull up on me, and I'm leaning in the car window to say "hi" and the gun is on their lap. And I know their personalities, they are good people, but they just feel like, ‘I would rather shoot somebody than be shot.’ So, now we are turning into this wild wild west mentality," said Ta'bon. 

Tighlman puts up with more than a dozen prescriptions everyday while also managing a schedule full of hospital visits. It's not too much for him to handle, though, and he says he owes it to the network of support he has. 

If you are a victim of gun violence, and you are looking for resources to help you recover, there are many right here in the city. Healing Hurt People at Drexel University and Anti-Violence Partnerhsips of Philadelphia  offer services to victims and their families.