On November 30, 2021, students left home to go to Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, thinking it was going to be a normal school day. But it was not a normal school day. At about 12:51 p.m.,15-year-old Ethan Crumbley left a boy’s bathroom with the gun his father bought four days earlier. He fired at students in the hallway and he killed four schoolmates and wounded six other students and one teacher. The four students who did not come home to their families because they were shot dead at school by a peer, are 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin and 17-year-old Justin Shilling.
There have been at least 29 school shootings in 2021. Eight children have been killed in shootings in schools this year and 48 have been injured. America holds the world record for school shootings.
The gun culture is alive and well in America, while Tate Myre, Hana St. Juliana, Madisyn Baldwin and Justin Shilling are dead.
“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is stated in the United States Declaration of Independence. A gun’s only purpose is to kill and take away “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Guns take away these rights that America is founded on.
Friday, April 20, 2018, 17-year-old boy was shot in the ankle by a 19-year-old man. He was shot in school.
This happened on the day of a National Walkout Against Gun Violence. Students at Forest High School, Ocala, Florida were planning to walk out in protest against gun violence. Before they could participate in this peaceful statement against gun violence, shots broke out in their high school.
All reports are focused on the fact that the injury was not “life threatening”. Let us be clear a gunshot wound to the ankle can be life changing. Being shot is life changing.
This should not be acceptable.
Each one of us needs to address the culture of guns in America.
On Thursday, December 7, 2017, Casey Marquez and Francisco Fernandez went to school. They were students at Aztec High School in Aztec, New Mexico. Casey was 17 years old. Francisco was 18 years old. They never came home from school. They were shot dead at school.
On December 6, 2017, the House passed The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. This will permit concealed carry license holders to conceal a handgun in other states.
No single legislation will prevent gun violence and no single legislation causes gun violence, but the national attitude prevents a change in the gun culture that is part of the American fabric.
The gun culture kills. Our youth are being killed at school. Our youth are being killed at concerts. Our youth are being killed at malls. Our youth are being shot and killed.
Casey and Francisco are dead. They were shot at school.
The second weekend in June 2016 was horrible. It was horrible because on June 10, 2016, Christina Grimmie was shot to death. It was horrible because on June 11, 2016, 49 people at the Pulse Club were shot to death. Now the number of victims from gun violence will include these deaths. The new total will include the death of these 50 people. These people who died will become hash marks in the never ending death count from gun violence. But these people are not hash marks they were sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. Some were short, some were tall, some were serious some were carefree, some were men some were women. We the people of America must see each death from gun violence as individuals, as our brothers and our sisters. Only then can we see that we the people of America must make changes in our gun laws. We the people must have the courage to do the right thing. Change is slow but change only happens when there is a start. The start must happen. These victims are not hash marks, they were members of our community.
A park is a public area in a town that is used for recreation. Recreation is an activity done for enjoyment when one is not working. On January 29, 2013, Hadiya Pendleton went to a Chicago park with her friends. They were using the public area as a place of recreation. Hadiya was shot to death in the park. Hadiya Pendleton was 15 and was a hard working student. Hadiya Pendleton performed at the 2013 presidential inaugural events. Hadiya is dead because in Chicago gun violence seems to have become a way of life that could be said to border on recreation for some members of the Chicago community.
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.