Gun violence has a ripple effect that spreads far beyond the victim and the immediate family. It is a public health epidemic. The corporate gun lobby is part of this ripple effect because were it not for their fierce opposition to doing the right thing to reduce and prevent gun violence, the ripple would be smaller. But the carnage continues daily and does not take a holiday.
Let’s review what happened in the past few days.
All over the country, young children were shot and killed or seriously injured in “accidental” shootings. Here’s a list of the ones we know about.
A 12 year old Texas boy shot himself in the leg as he was walking along a street. What in God’s name was this boy doing with a gun on the street? This is insane, to say the least.
Under the category of “good guys with guns” comes the following:
A Wisconsin man was arrested for threatening to shoot “the usurper” President Obama when he spoke in LaCrosse last week. – an alleged “good guy” with a gun carrying out his rights.
A Texas man was shot and killed after carrying an assault rifle into a Texas hotel and shooting one person.– a “good guy” with a gun exercising his rights or someone with evil intent? It’s hard to know because anyone can carry an assault rifle around in Texas.
A Florida open carrier was arrested for terrorizing families at the popular Daytona Beach. Why carry an assault rifle at a place like this? ” Christopher Ray cited the fishing and hunting provision of Florida law that allows people coming from or going to fishing or hunting expeditions to have guns.” Good grief. It must be pretty dangerous on the beach and you just never know about those trolls and zombies lurking at hunting and fishing spots.
This is the America the corporate gun lobby and gun extremists have created.
In other tragic gun news:
A teen aged Georgia girl ( honor student) was struck by a stray bullet during July 4th celebratory gun fire and died. She was sitting on a couch in her own home. I wrote a previous post and have written before about celebratory gun fire on holidays. This is insane. But when so many people have guns everywhere and think it’s OK to bring them to public places to “celebrate” this is what we get.
I am adding this “celebratory gunfire” shooting. A 9 year old Tennessee girl was shot during a July 4th celebration.
And I keep reading about more incidents so am adding one more to the list of celebratory gunfire on the Fourth of July. This time it’s a 7 year old Nebraska boy who was injured by a stray bullet. From the article:
Judging by the size and depth of the wound, police believe it was fired into the air from a five-mile radius, which would include Omaha.
“Just to be in your own yard and get struck by a bullet from the sky, you know, it is supposed to be fireworks coming from the sky, not bullets,” said grandfather Jim Riddle. “We thought it was a firework that hit him right here and then all of the sudden we found out it was a bullet laying on the floor after she lifted up the cloth, putting pressure on the blood.”
Where is common sense?
It’s not just kids who got shot over the holiday week-end. An awful incident happened in Hollywood, CA on Sunday when a man came behind a man and woman walking on the street and shot her in the head with a shotgun.
The man with a felony record who shot and killed a young woman on a San Francisco Pier claims he found the gun in a tee shirt and the gun went off when he picked it up. First of all, if that was true, what in the heck was a gun doing wrapped in a tee shirt on a very busy tourist and local attraction? Secondly, if this unbelievable tale is not true, what was this felon doing with a gun in the first place? Questions need to be asked and answered.
Five people were injured from bullets outside of Minneapolis bars on Saturday night. Guns and alcohol just don’t go together.
Chicago had a deadly week-end. Check out this article:
Looking weary and visibly frustrated, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy delivered a press conference Sunday afternoon addressing the high levels of gun violence Fourth of July weekend in Chicago, attributing much of it to lax gun laws.
As of 3 p.m. Sunday, Chicago police confirmed nine shooting deaths and at least 40 others wounded in shootings since Thursday afternoon. Earlier this week, McCarthy promised “all hands on deck” for the holiday weekend. (…) McCarthy displayed an array of firearms on a table at the press conference, saying that Chicago Police seized “about one illegal gun per hour” over Fourth of July weekend thus far. (…)
He used one shooting, “an absolute tragedy,” to illustrate his point — the slaying of 7-year-old Amari Brown in Humboldt Park Saturday night.
Amari was shot, along with a 26-year-old woman, just before midnight. Sunday morning, police said they were not the intended targets of the shooting; McCarthy confirmed that police believe the target was Amari’s father, who he said is a “ranking gang member” with 45 previous arrests, including for illegal gun possession.
McCarthy said he was most recently arrested on a gun charge in April, but then released the next day. “If Mr. Brown is in custody,” McCarthy said, “his son is alive. That’s not the case. Quite frankly, he shouldn’t have been on the street.
“It’s real simple,” he continued. “Gun possessors are potential murderers. If they don’t learn a lesson for carrying the gun, they keep carrying the gun. They get into an argument, now instead of fighting, they shoot.”
McCarthy said there need to be stricter gun laws and blamed “the gun lobby” for the lack of political motivation to pass them.
There is blame to go around and the corporate gun lobby is right in the middle of it. The Brady Campaign held a recent rally outside of Chuck’s gun shop outside of Chicago to highlight “bad apple gun dealers” who contribute to the carnage.
Lula Hill has a strategy for keeping her three sons alive.
It begins just before they leave for school in the morning. She rubs their foreheads with anointing oil and says a prayer that God might protect them when they are not in her sight.
Then there are the more practical steps, like teaching the boys to stay away from the windows of their own home, on the South Side Chicago neighborhood of Roseland. Jaden, the youngest, who is 8, knows why.
“A man might have a gun in his hand, and he can look through the window and see me and he can shoot,” he said. “That makes me feel, like, scared because I don’t want to get killed.”
These are the practicalities of life and family as another summer of violence breaks over Chicago.
Unfortunately, prayers will not keep her kids safe. Changing the laws and the conversation are the only hope this mother, and the many other parents like her have. Kids should not have to worry about being too close to windows in their homes because of bullets flying on the streets or for fear of someone with a gun looking in and aiming at him/her. This is the America we have, though. In some urban areas, kids are growing up with gun violence all around them.
My good friend and fellow activist for gun violence prevention posted about the “ripple effect” of the shooting that changed her life when her daughter got access to a gun and shot and killed herself leaving behind children and a grieving family and friends. It was 4 years ago today and my friend posted all of the things she is angry about that her daughter or her grandchildren or herself can no longer do. From her Facebook post ( just some of what she wrote):
” Every day I miss hearing her come in the door calling out Mom! Even the times when she was angry. I miss the time she changed the ringtone on my phone for her to play Stewie (from Family Guy) yelling out Mom in so many different and annoying ways. I miss that her kids may not always remember the different facets of Angela. I miss listening to her laugh as she would play dominoes with her friend Jodie, or giggle with her kids and when they were upset she would get them laughing by telling them not to laugh, she would say do not laugh, whatever you do DO not laugh, I do not want to see you laugh and in no time they would be giggling so sweetly. I remember her coming over and the kids running in all excited that they had rescued a turtle. They saw one on the side of the road so Angela pulled over and carried it across the street so it would not get run over by a car. I asked her are you sure that was where he was headed and she laughed. I miss her so much not only because of the times we spent together, but for the times we will miss.
I am angry that it has been 4 years and nothing has changed.
I am angry that I have friends that have been working hard to make changes since 1989 and nothing has changed.
I am angry that the system failed my daughter and so many other daughters and sons, siblings and spouses, so many loved ones.
I am angry my grandchildren are growing up and my daughter is missing all of it.(…)
I am angry that like her siblings, her children will meet milestones in their lives and like their Aunt and Uncles there will be someone missing.
I am angry that every day new people join our ranks of grieving survivors….
I am angry at the people and politicians that believe we want to take away everyone’s guns and abolish the 2nd Amendment, because they believe this false information people will continue to die every day from gun violence.
I am angry that since Sandy Hook there have been at least 125 school shootings and nothing has changed. (…)
I am angry that to some the answer is we need to arm more people…. Yet the death rate by gun violence keeps climbing.
I am told guns don’t kill people, people kill people…. With this I cannot argue, so let’s cut the gun violence by keeping guns out of the hands of those that should not have a gun. Felons, domestic abusers, those that are considered a danger to themselves or others.
I am angry that gun owners think because they are responsible gun owners that we shouldn’t have universal background checks. It isn’t the responsible gun owners I fear, it is the irresponsible ones. The ones that leave their guns where children can find them and use them. Those who will without a second thought give guns to anyone and call it their constitutional right and not give it a second thought as to what could happen. We have laws about stealing and robbery and those aren’t in place to stop the lawful…
I am angry when people look at me and say if she hadn’t had a a gun she still would have committed suicide…. Yes that is possible she may still have but then again had she chosen another method she could have possibly changed her mind.
I am angry that in 2012 – 32,288 people died from gun violence and 64% of them where suicides and yet people still will say to me she could have picked another way…. When there is a gun in the home it is more likely to be used in suicide, domestic violence or accidently than in defense.
We need to work together, we need to sit down and discuss and find an equitable solution. We need a universal background check that would prevent a lot of senseless murders and suicides. We need more education on gun safety to protect our children from accidental shootings.
In 2013 there were 41,149 suicides: 10,062 were by suffocation – 6,637 were by poisoning (pills) – 21,175 were by gun…. Do you still think we do not need a background check that includes severe depression and severe mental illness?
Please lets open the discussion and save lives.”
Diane’s daughter had serious mental illness and had been hospitalized. Yet she was able to purchase a gun anyway. And now, Diane is living with the ripple effects of the violence that takes way too many lives and leaves families and communities devastated.
Suicide by gun takes more lives than homicide by gun. It is a serious national public health problem. Easy access to guns makes it all too easy to take your own life and leave behind the devastating ripple effects.
I am angry that Diane had to post this today. I am angry that many of us have been working for many years to get our elected leaders to stand with us and do the right thing. I’m angry that too many of our leaders have chosen the money and the corporate gun lobby over common sense. I’m angry that the devastation continues unabated because we have not had the courage to have a serious national conversation about the role of guns and gun violence in our country.
Diane’s voice is just one of many. She is representing a lot of Americans and also a majority of Americans who just know that what we are doing now is not working and we need to work for change.
If anyone wants to know why the majority of Americans want something to change about our gun culture and our gun laws, just read what I wrote. And then read this article about why we are doing virtually nothing- post Charleston and post Sandy Hook and post Aurora and post the daily parade of gun deaths and injuries:
All of this has produced a certain level of cynicism among those who support gun restrictions, as expressed by the President when he said he didn’t expect reforms any time soon.
Each time that a massacre has occurred, we have seen not only a striking mobilization against any new restrictions but an equally striking absence of strong pressure to address this issue.
A significant number of liberal Democrats, who in previous years had strongly supported gun control, have remained noticeably silent on the issue. They are resigned to defeat.
The President often finds himself standing alone when calling for gun control. But those who say federal legislators can “never” pass gun restrictions should look to moments like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or the Affordable Care Act of 2010 to see how those predictions can turn out to be wrong.
The good news is that there has been some progress in states like Maryland and New York, which have attempted to move forward even as gridlock reigns supreme on Capitol Hill. But for an effective response to the kind of gun tragedies we see so often, supporters will need stronger mobilization to counteract what their opponents have achieved.
The country needs to do a better job dealing with its gun problem. Otherwise, it will be all too soon that we’ll find ourselves going through this again.
We can write and think about this all we want to. But what we need is action. Lives depend upon us putting our heads together to do the right thing. In the name of the victims, this needs to change. Act now to ask Congress to pass a universal background check bill. Act now to work with your own state legislators to pass a similar law. We can save lives if we stand together and have the will. Will we?
We are better than this.
This article adds to the gun deaths by stray bullets over the holiday week-end. A Colorado man about to roast marshmallows with his family at a camp site was hit by a stray bullet and died of his injuries. From the article:
Family members said they had heard distant gunshots a while before Martin collapsed. They reported the gunfire to a ranger, because using firearms is prohibited in that area of the national forest.
Now, the family is urging whoever fired the errant shot to come forward.
“It just happened. You never know when you’re going to go. You can be sitting at a campfire waiting to roast marshmallows with your grandchildren talking to your son in law and you’re just done,” Carlie said.
At this time, sheriff’s officials said it appears that Martin was killed by an errant bullet fired by an unknown person. They do not believed it was intentional at this time. However, that has not been ruled out, sheriff’s officials said.
Does anyone remember that our Congress passed a bill allowing guns in our national parks? Seems like a great idea because… rights. Where is the right to be free from stray bullets while camping in our nation’s parks? There really are places where guns are not needed.
The articles keep coming. In what can only be called a senseless, stupid and dangerous incident, a South Carolina man getting even with a group for shooting bullets into the air over the July 4th holiday shot off his own gun at a car, hitting and injuring his own friend.
This is one of the results of the guns everywhere American culture.
The reports of celebratory gunfire injuries keep coming in. In the Kansas City area, it appears that 3 people were injured by stray bullets flying in their neighborhoods. All were lucky no one was killed. This is the definition of insanity.