Philadelphia story: Terrible math of gun violence

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Since coming to Philadelphia in 1973, I personally have known at least six parents/grandparents who have lost a total of seven children/grandchildren to gun violence.

Some are close friends, some are people I worked with, or continue to see regularly.

* Two parents' children were caught in crossfire.

* One parent's two sons, ages 13 and 11, were cut down by a young man who robbed them for $7 and change.

* One grandfather's grandson was killed by someone robbing him and his two friends outside a corner store.

* Another grandmother's grandson was shot and killed - I don't know the circumstances.

* One co-worker, a young father, was shot and killed getting into his car to go to work one morning. They think it was mistaken identity.

* Another co-worker's husband was shot and killed on the porch of a VFW or American Legion Hall.

In addition, several students who attended schools where I worked were shot to death:

One was a girl whose friend held an "unloaded" gun to her head and pulled the trigger.

Numerous students were shot, but not killed. Some ended up with lifelong disabilities, often to spend the rest of their lives in wheelchairs.

I started this mental list while trying to fall asleep one night two weeks ago. I was STUNNED by the number. I am not sure why I started the list when I did. Undoubtedly it was brought on by the horror of the Newtown, Conn., bloodbath. Needless to say I didn't get much sleep that night.

I only lost a night's sleep, the victims and their families lost everything.

Yes, I stand with President Obama in tackling gun violence in America.

Photo: The "Wall" in Philadelphia. To Michael "MIC" Ta'bon and his friend Lionel Dunbar, the names are a measure of the social health of the city, and painting them on a wall in the Nicetown section of North Philadelphia is a way to make sure they are not forgotten.The men created a mural on Hunting Park Avenue near 19th Street known simply as "the Wall." It has no bold colors, no faces, no scenery - just the 406 names and ages of the homicide victims in Philadelphia in 2008. Tony Fisher Photography/CC 2.0

 

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  • There is a common thread in all of these stories. The weapon did not fire itself. In each case, blatant disregard for human life by a psycho is the cause. Gun restrictions are going to do NOTHING to stop this. There are 20,000 gun laws on the books and the only people affected by them are the people who follow the laws. The real problem is society. Our need to now teach children that we are all entitled to everything, lack of any moral compass, the disintegration of the family and the stupidity of NOT institutionalizing the mentally unstable are the cause and will only create more bloodbaths like Sandy Hook. Of course these are HARD things that need to be done and I hold out no hope that anything will ever be addressed by our government. Its easier to just take things from those who follow laws

    Posted by Mike in MN, 01/25/2013 12:22pm (2 years ago)

  • I live in a city of 400,000 that experienced 131 homocides in 2012. I was raised in this city and my father had 4 guns: 2 revolvers, 2 rifles. He taught me respect for these weapons. I accompanied him to the gun range for target practice and went hunting with him. When I was 15 he gave me a single-shot 22 calibre rifle. As an adult I bought a small pistol. Additionally I learned to use multiple firearms in the Marine Corps.

    I am in favor of gun control under certain conditions:

    (1) Universal check of gun and ammo purchasers to determine if they are eligible for buying them

    (2) This applies to purchases at stores, gun shows and all other outlets.

    (3) Abolition of magazines that hold more than 10 bullets.

    (4) Fingerprint and other identification technologies embedded in the purchased weapon so that it will operate ONLY when the purchaser squeezes the trigger and NO ONE ELSE. Such technologies will prevent "street sales" and stolen guns from firing.

    Notice I did not specify semi-automatic riflea or pistols. The provisions I outlined are enough to prevent most urban shootings and most of the average of 43 deaths per year (according to Senator Feinstein) from semi-automatic "assault" rifles.

    No government prohibition thus far contemplated is retroactive so some unregistered or registered weapons will be available in any case.

    There are political reasons for availability of weapons under the above provisions, but that is a different topic.

    Posted by Al Sargis, 01/22/2013 8:20pm (2 years ago)

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