Saturday I went to a Pride/ Family Togetherness Rally. Everywhere I looked I saw the happy, smiling faces of people who were enjoying each other’s company while celebrating who they truly are. And I looked everywhere, too, because I was watching for people who appeared out of place.
People like the 30-something white guy (a former high school teacher) that showed up at a rally held in a town an hour away and heckled the crowd while an Episcopal priest offered prayer. When confronted by members of the crowd, he pulled out a gun.
The NRA wants us to believe that all gun owners are responsible and have nerves of steel, but the stories I read daily about our well-regulated militia are enough to make your hair curl. Actually, It’s the Well Regulated Militia that share those stories on Twitter and Facebook (I strongly encourage you to follow this account).
Here’s a sample of the stories shared just this weekend:
Ronald Ladner of Hancock County, Mississippi, was arrested and charged with Aggravated Domestic Violence for shooting and seriously wounding his son. The perpetrator stated he shot his son because they argue all the time and he got tired of it.
Christopher Pierce was arrested in Portland, Tennessee, and charged with attempted 2nd Degree Murder after shooting at another vehicle during a road rage incident.
William Maines shot and killed his wife, Sarah, then shot and killed himself in their home in Gladewater, Florida.
An unnamed woman, while shopping at a Walmart store in Lexington, Tennessee, was shot by her own firearm. The gun dislodged from its’ holster while she retrieved a shopping cart, dropped to the floor, and discharged. The woman has a carry permit.
Shelley Thornton of Nathalie, Virginia, was arrested and charged with 2nd Degree Murder after shooting her father to death during an argument.
An unknown perpetrator shot and killed a family’s 8-month-old Mastiff puppy while the owners were away at work. The dog, along with two other dogs, was inside the family’s fenced, 3-acre yard located in Dodge Center, Minnesota, when shot several times in the head and killed. If caught, the most the shooter will be charged with is trespassing, aniimal cruelty, and reckless discharge of a firearm.
An unnamed man in Overland Park, Kansas, argued with a contractor over air conditioner repairs. The man shot at the contractor as the contractor left in his truck. No one was injured and no charges have been filed as yet.
An unknown perpetrator shot and seriously injured 18-year-old Syed Haider in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Haider was selling decorative lanterns in an empty lot. The perpetrator became angry and accused Haider of disrespecting him, then pulled out a gun and shot him. He then fled the scene, along with a woman and child who were with him.
An unnamed man in Bryan, Texas, was cleaning his gun inside of his home when the gun discharged. The bullet hit and seriously injured a 71-year-old man who was driving down the street. No charges have been filed as of yet.
And in the area where I live, 5 people were murdered this past week, including 3 on Sunday. Darwin Brazier shot and killed his ex-wife, her current husband, and their roommate. He was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His ex-wife had twice petitioned the court for a restraining order and to have his guns removed and twice she was denied.
Does this sound like a well-regulated militia to you?
Here are some sobering statistics to ponder (taken from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence):
EVERY DAY 96 people die from gun violence. Of those 96, 59 die by suicide, 34 are murdered, and one is an unintentional death.
EVERY DAY 46 children and teens are shot in the US. Seven will die. Four of those children are murdered and the other three die by suicide.
EVERY DAY in the US 222 people are shot and survive. Of that number, 164 survived an attack, 10 survived a suicide attempt, and 45 were unintentional shootings. We rarely hear of the extent of their injuries or how it impacts their lives going forward.
And a study published earlier this year in the American Journal for Public Health found that over half of gun owners, or approximately 5.5 million households, have at least one gun that is stored without any locks or other secure measures. Guns may be locked up in your home, but what about the other homes your children visit? Do you ask?
When we turn our focus from the scary mass-shooting stranger to see that it’s our family, friends, and neighbors we also need to worry about, we get a more clear picture of why gun violence isn’t just something that happens to other people.
Let’s be clear: The 2nd Amendment does not give people the right to behave irresponsibly with firearms, so how about we start acting like it?
(graphics from Everytown for Gun Safety website)