Public Shootings: As American As Apple Pie

Image: Pendelton family (left) Hadiya Pendelton (right)

“Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard, but the time is now. You must act. Be bold, be courageous. Americans are counting on you.” – Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

Today, we received reports of another public shooting, this time at an Atlanta middle School. More from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

A 14-year-old student shot in the head at an Atlanta school Thursday is “alert, conscious and breathing,” said police.

The shooting occurred outside Price Middle School in southeast Atlanta, said Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos.

The male victim has been taken to Grady Memorial Hospital.

One suspect, another Price Middle student, is in custody, according to Channel 2 Action News.

 This shooting comes a day after Hadiya Pendelton, a 15 year old Chicago teenager, was shot and killed. Per NBC News:

A 15-year-old Chicago girl gunned down a week after she performed during President Obama’s inaugural festivities was remembered Wednesday as a “walking angel” – the last person her family could imagine dying by a bullet.

 Hadiya Pendleton was an honor student, a marching-band majorette, and a doting big sister who thought about becoming a journalist or a pharmacist or even getting into politics after she witnessed history in Washington last week.

 The biggest trouble the insatiable reader ever gave her parents: running up their credit card buying books on Amazon.

 “I couldn’t ask for a better child,” her mother, Cleo Cowley, said through tears at her Chicago home. “She didn’t give me any hard time at all. She had a heart of gold.”

 The numbers of gun related homicides, in America, are startlingly high. The shooting we hear about on the news are only the high profile ones, we often do not hear about the shootings that take place daily in communities across the country. Just consider the most recent high profile shootings: The Gabrielle Giffords Arizona, Aurora, Colorado movie theatre shooting, and Newton, Connecticut Elementary School shooting. Since the Newtown, Connecticut shooting there has been an estimated 1, 471 or more gun related homicides in the U.S.

For every 100 people in America there are 89 guns which is why there is a need for responsible gun legislation in this country. No one is proposing to take your guns away; all we are asking for is a ban on assault rifles, extended magazine clips, and universal background checks.  I agree that mental health issues and violence in society should be addressed, but let’s be clear here, guns are the primary issue in this debate.

I am afraid our society is slowly accepting public shootings as a normal part of life. We now hear about horrendous shootings and move on with our lives a few hours later instead of demanding change. We do not have to accept ghastly shootings as a part of everyday life. Unfortunately, public shootings are becoming as American as Apple Pie.

“We were all running because we heard the gunshots and then she stopped and she was like, ‘I think I got shot.’ And I was like, ‘Hadiya, please stop joking,’” Jones said. “She was like ‘No seriously, Klyn, I think I got shot’ and she just fell. And then time just like started moving in slow motion.”

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