In a one hour span of time there were three deadly shootings on Sunday, December 2, 2012, on the streets of Philadelphia. Three lives reduced to three new hash marks to add to the tally.
On Saturday, September 1, 2012 in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, the fun at a block birthday party for a neighborhood child was shattered by the random shooting of a 21 year old man. The man died of a gunshot wound to the head. The innocence of the children at the party was lost as they watched the violence unfold.
The gun is a tool for killing. The killer is the shooter.
This is a truth but another truth is if a gun is not available the killer is not able to shoot the gun and kill.
Without a gun in the hands of the shooter, Edward Christian, Ladarious Phillips, and Demario Pitts would be alive today. They were killed on June 10, 2012, in Auburn, Alabama by a man who had a gun. The gun did not kill. The shooter did, but without the gun the shooter could not have killed Edward, Ladarious, and Demario. The gun and the shooter worked in unison. It was a deadly partnership.
To profile is to draw an outline.
To profile a shooter is to define a personality that could aim a gun at a human target. Police and mental health professionals have listed common traits that might be found in shooters-but not all shooters are depressed, not all shooters have a loveless life, and not all shooters are lonely, but all shooters have a gun.
To protect is to keep safe from harm or injury.
A mother had a gun to protect her and her son from harm. She hid the gun under her pillow. Her four year old son found the gun. On April 7, 2012, her four year old son shot himself in the chest. Her four year old son was critically wounded with the gun that was meant to protect him from harm or injury.
On April 2, 2012, a former student opened fire on the Oikos University campus in California. Seven people were killed. These seven victims became part of the mounting number of students and faculty who have been killed across the nation by gun violence. These seven victims started the day with their lives ahead of them and are now reduced to hash marks. Hash marks that reflect the grim statistics of gun violence on American college campuses.
To stray is to deviate from the direct course. When a bullet strays from its course it can hit anyone who is in its unintended path.
On May 28, 2011 in Buffalo, NY, a bullet was shot by Bangaly Chelley. The bullet missed its intended target and became a stray bullet. As Ansumane Kanneh was fixing his seven year old granddaughter’s bike, this stray bullet hit him. This stray bullet killed Ansumane. Ansumane Kanneh was 82 years old.
Power is defined as the possession of control over others.
A gun gives its owner the feeling of power. A gun gives the gun holder the power to kill. George Zimmerman had a gun. George Zimmerman had power. On February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin. Treyvon died. He was 17 years old. The gun gave George Zimmerman the power to kill. No one has the power to bring Trayvon back to his mother and father. A gun only takes away.
When a mother dies a child knows her death through loss. A child knows the loss of her smile, the loss of her touch, the loss of her voice.
On March 18, 2012, 6 year old Anthony and baby Robin lost their mother to gun violence. Their mother, Sandra Bajnath, was shot dead on her front porch in Queens, NYC. Anthony and Robin will never see the smile of their mother again. They will never feel the touch of their mother again. They will never hear the voice of their mother again. Anthony and Robin lost their mother to gun violence.
A community is made up of people residing in a specific locality, sharing government, and often having a common cultural background. In a community children might walk home from school, mothers might walk to the store for groceries. Grandparents might sit on their steps to take in the sun’s warmth. And in some communities gangs might shoot at each other in the middle of the day. In those communities children know the sound of gun fire, mothers fear for the safety of their children and grandparents have seen innocence lost.
Thursday, March 1, 2012 was a cloudy mild day. At 3:05, when children were walking home from school, gunfire erupted between two gangs in the parking lot at 139th Street and 89th Avenue, in Jamaica, NYC. Children ran for safety, parents screamed for help and grandparents saw innocence lost.