It has not been nice in Minnesota in the last few weeks. The term Minnesota “nice” may apply to a lot of us here in Minnesota but it’s not nice when bullets are flying around in neighborhoods killing innocent children and adults. In the last few weeks, 3 children have been have shot and one died from bullet wounds because adults were taking out their revenge and anger on each other with their loaded guns in public places. Don’t get me started on the deadly effect of laws that allow for just about anyone to have a loaded gun in public. Minnesota’s “conceal” and carry law passed in 2005 after a one year hiatus because many churches objected to having guns on their premises. (the law allows for open carry as well which is not widely understood) The lapdog politicians and gun lobbyists mocked us on the side of gun safety reform for predicting that more guns in pubic would lead to more shootings and more deaths and injuries. They pushed back at us saying that we claimed blood would be running in the streets if the law passed. For the first few years, blood did not run in the streets so they believed they were right. A friend explained to me that it takes a while- years even- before we see the effects of new laws passed.
She was right. Blood is now running in our streets- in bars, cars, parking lots, public gatherings and celebrations. It’s not just happening in Minnesota of course. The laws allowing people to carry guns in public either concealed or openly have led to carnage in the streets in states all over the country. Some states have passed laws allowing for permitless carry. This means that a person carrying a gun does not have to apply for a permit or go through training to carry a deadly weapon in public. What could possibly go wrong?
Minnesota law does not allow people to carry loaded guns in their cars without being in a case or unloaded. Nevertheless, people in cars have loaded guns that they are using to shoot at innocent people in other cars or just going about their daily lives.
But let’s get back to the carnage on the streets in Minnesota. Last night 10 people were shot, 2 dead and one of the wounded with serious injuries in downtown Minneapolis. It was an argument between 2 people. When guns are readily available, the inevitable happens. Another article about this deadly incident quotes the Minneapolis Mayor and Police Chief:
“These outcomes are not fated,” Frey continued. “We can stem crime in our city, but it will take all of us coming together with a renewed commitment to preventative work and a shared resolve to stop the gun violence and bring the perpetrators to justice.” (…)Arradondo also released a statement saying, “These brazen senseless acts of gun violence must stop. The perpetrators of these crimes should never find refuge or anonymity in our communities. Minneapolis police officers will continue to rush into harm’s way to save lives, however we need help from community leaders and residents to stand up and speak out denouncing loudly that they will not tolerate this violence as well. … Our children are watching us and how we respond during these times. Let’s come together to uplift hope and peace.”
It’s the same thing we’ve said over and over again, bottom line is people need to put their guns down,” Elder said. “It’s as simple as that; there needs to be other ways to solve differences.”
And it happens over and over again with increasing frequency in public places everywhere.
Three young children were shot in the Minneapolis area in the last few weeks. Look at their beautiful faces.
Understandably and tragically the communities are grieving and angry. As one man said, he has gone from being sad to being mad after his granddaughter died from a bullet to the head during a “shoot-out” on the streets between rival gangs. So should we blame this all on gangs or should we look at some other underlying problems? There have always been some of this kind of behavior in urban areas. West Side Story was all about the rivalry between groups of young ( mostly) men. Toxic masculinity is a factor. Guns are definitely a factor. Easy access to guns is a factor.
Where to the guns come from anyway? They don’t fall out of the sky. They all ( or almost all) start out as legal purchases, unlike drugs. They are stolen ( store guns safely to avoid being the victim of a theft). They are trafficked on the streets but where do the trafficked guns come from? Some may be legal purchases but with the intent to make money by selling cheaply on the streets. Some are distributed around amongst friends and acquaintances with no idea where the gun came from in the first place. Some are bought with no background check from private sellers. Some are the result of a straw purchase.
So when a 10 year old gets shot while playing on a trampoline with bullets flying through the air, who is accountable? Shouldn’t kids be able to play outside with friends without fear of being shot by a “stray” bullet meant for someone else. Shouldn’t a child be able to ride in a parent’s car without being hit by a “stray” bullet meant for someone else?:
Ladavionne Garrett Jr. was shot while riding in a vehicle by someone outside the vehicle in the 3400 block of N. Morgan Avenue. The vehicle’s driver took him to North Memorial Health Hospital in Robbinsdale, where he was reported in “very critical condition,” police said Friday.
Ladavionne was the second child in a week injured by gunfire in a city that has seen an increase in violent crime over the last year. On Monday, an infant suffered bullet fragment injuries to his hands in a shooting that also wounded two adults. The victims in that shooting were also in a car that someone shot into.(…)
Among those attending Saturday’s vigil was LaTrisha Vetaw, who lives near the hospital. The night before, she had heard “a commotion” at the hospital and walked over to talk to the family, she said.
Vetaw, vice president of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and a candidate for City Council, said she was thinking about a harrowing incident that occurred when she was 15.
She was sitting on a bed next to her 9-year-old cousin when a bullet from outside struck her cousin and shot the girl’s eye out.
“We all are touched by this,” Vetaw said. “I feel like it could be anybody’s baby.”
That’s why Lisa Clemons was at the vigil, along with several other members of A Mothers Love Initiative. Clemons founded the Minneapolis group to support Black families who experience gun violence and other trauma.”
An infant suffered gunshot injuries. Where is commonsense? This is #notnormal. But the gun lobby and lapdog politicians must believe that collateral damage to our children is just the consequence of their right to own and carry guns with no restrictions. They want no regulation or restrictions. Hands off of their guns. Don’t regulate anyone because law abiding citizens falsely say their rights will be trampled.
Meanwhile gun violence is on the rise. Gang violence is also on the rise in many urban areas. An increase in the number of guns, panic buying during the pandemic, a national election, anger and frustration about the economy, job loss, learning from home, racial injustice, and an increase in fear and paranoia has resulted in an increase in the number of tragedies. These are just some of the factors and surely we must do research to get to the bottom of this national crisis. Finally the CDC will actually be allowed to do research on the causes and effect of gun violence after being prevented from doing so by lapdog politicians in Congress. That is a topic for another post.
If you are not touched by this, then where are we as a society? Gun violence prevention is a moral and societal obligation. It is a public epidemic and it’s screaming for a cure. We can save the lives of our children but we need the entire national village to decide that this is one of the most important issues of our time. There should be no excuses for inaction.