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Stories about kids, guns and how to stop the violence. Precious Lives, created by 371 Productions, is a 2-year, 100-part weekly radio series about gun violence and young people in the Milwaukee area. The series applies a public health lens to each story to help listeners understand the full scope of the problem: who are the victims and the shooters; how are the weapons obtained; and what can we change about the environment that contributes to violence in Milwaukee?

#046 Precious Lives: The Cost Of A Single Bullet

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Mike De Sisti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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Claudiare Motley still has scars on his neck after a teen shot him on June 21, 2014 during an attempted carjacking.

Over a hundred people have been killed by guns in Milwaukee this year. But nearly five times that many have been shot and survived. We often don’t think about them, their recovery and what it costs.

Claudiare Motley was shot during a botched carjacking. He shares his story with us.

Motley is a father of three. He and his wife Kimberly left Milwaukee eight years ago for Charlotte, North Carolina, which they say is a safer place to raise kids. Kimberly is an international lawyer. Motley helps her run the firm, while waiting to see if he passed his bar exam.

In 2014, Motley was in Milwaukee for the weekend to visit family and attend his high school reunion. He had just dropped off a friend near 63rd and Capitol and, before driving away, he checked his email on his phone. That’s when he noticed a car full of teens pull up.

"They were kind of looking at me and when I looked up they turned their heads real quick. So at that point in time I knew that there was something was going on," Motley says. "I put my phone in my pocket, I put my car in gear... and start to take off, and as I did the guy in the passenger seat jumped out the car and tapped the window with the gun."

The night Motley got shot didn’t cost him his life, but it still cost him...Motley has already had seven surgeries to reconstruct his jaw, and he’s not finished.

"You know these bills are killing me," he says. Motley estimates that this one single bullet has cost him $80,000.

"You can’t separate that and say well, 'I’m not going to pay for this because I got shot and that wasn’t really my fault,' it becomes a part of who you are," he says. "Who is bearing the cost of these actions for when these kids actually do make bad decisions? And that’s you know it comes down to the person, the victim. You know you get victimized once again."

Now, Motley  waiting to see if his jaw will ever be the same. He’s facing more major surgeries and bills.

Corresponding Content:

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism - After Guns Wound and Kill, Bills Pile Up for Victims and Society

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Bills add up when someone is shot, and costs spill over to taxpayers

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