Warm Southern Breeze

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Mother’s Day Mass Shootings 2021: It’s Mourning In America

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, May 9, 2021

The second Sunday in May in the United States is always Mother’s Day. This year – 2021 – it’s on the 9th of May.

Typically, Mother’s Day is a special day in the nation set aside to honor mothers nationwide.

Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis, remained a childless spinster her entire life, initiated the idea of Mother’s Day in 1908, and in 1914, Mother’s Day became an official U.S. holiday.

By about 1920, however, Anna became disgusted with what she perceived that Mother’s Day had become – an commercialized business opportunity for florists, card companies, and other merchandisers – and denounced the day, and urged others to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards, and candies.

But one thing Anna Javis never saw coming, was mass shootings across the nation around, or on, Mother’s Day.

Doubtless, she would have spoken out about, and condemned that, as well.

While this is being written, the sun hasn’t yet begun to set, and though conditions been largely overcast and rainy off-and-on throughout the day, there are still several daylight hours remaining, and I was utterly stupefied to read of the sheer number of news stories about killings, mass shootings, and other kinds of firearm violence… on, or near – of all days – MOTHER’S DAY.

Here is a partial listing of the ones which appeared – all without searching for them – in a news feed:

1.) Denver, CO Cop Shot:

DPD Division Chief Ron Thomas said just before 11PM local time, officers responded to a call at a residence in the 4200 block of Alcott Street on a report of an unknown person who was on someone’s porch. As officers approached, they were fired upon and one of them went down with a gunshot wound. The as-yet-unnamed shot officer was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

2.) Miami, FL Mall Mass Shooting:

A fight between two groups of people outside the Aventura Mall near the Hugo Boss store at the 19501 Biscayne Boulevard luxury mall Saturday afternoon around 4PM local time resulted in 3 hospitalizations for non-life threatening gunshot injuries. Aventura PD have several suspects in custody.

3.) Atlanta, GA Driver Shot in Road Rage Incident:

Atlanta PD reported that a female driver was shot and hospitalized after a verbal altercation with a male driver near Mercedes Benz Stadium on Saturday evening around 7PM local time. The male driver/suspect remains at large.

4.) Missouri Hiker Shot, Mistaken for Turkey:

St. Charles County Missouri Police Department reported a hiker on the Lewis and Clark Trail at the August A. Busch Memorial and Weldon Spring Conservation Area on the last day of turkey season Saturday around 12:30 noon local time, was critically wounded after a hunter claimed mistaking the hiker for a turkey. The incident is under investigation, and the hiker was medevaced to a nearby trauma center.

5.) Phoenix, AZ Hotel Mass Shooting Kills 1, Injures Many

Phoenix Police Sergeant Margaret Cox said 1 adult male was found dead inside the Hyatt Regency Phoenix hotel downtown shortly after midnight Sunday morning around 12:30AM local time, and at least 7 others were hospitalized with gunshot injuries. All victims are between ages 18 & 22. A group attending an event got into an altercation that erupted in gunfire. Police are investigating, and believe more than one shooter was involved.

6.) Suspect At Large in Charlotte-Mecklenberg, NC Shooting

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and SWAT team members are searching for at-large fugitive suspect 41-year-old Michael Roach who used a rifle to shoot a female victim, in a northwest Charlotte attack that happened early Saturday morning around 3AM local time in the 3500 block of Kentucky Avenue, near Honeywood Avenue. One victim was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

7.) Tampa, FL Barbershop Shooting Hospitalizes 2

A convicted felon is the prime suspect in a 1PM local time Saturday afternoon shooting at Fade Station barbershop in which 27-year-old Avondre Victor got into an argument, pulled out a gun and shot 2 men as they ran out the door. The 2 men ran next door to Sunshine Animal Hospital where employees initially treated, and awaited EMT/Paramedics. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.

8.) 6th Grade Girl Shoots 3 at Idaho Middle School

Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson said a female student injured an adult and two students at Rigby Middle School near Idaho Falls in Jefferson School District on Thursday. A teacher wrested the handgun from the little girl shooter outside, and held her until law enforcement authorities arrived. The victims were shot in their limbs, and injuries were not life-threatening. Jefferson County Prosecutor Mark Taylor said criminal charge decisions won’t be made until an investigation is complete, but could include 2 counts of attempted murder.

9.) 4 Dead, 1 Injured in Shooting & Explosion Near Baltimore, MD

Baltimore County Police Director of Public Affairs Joy Stewart said 4 people are dead and 1 person was injured after a shooting and explosion in a townhouse in the township of Woodlawn, a few miles west of Baltimore. Neighbors called 911 to report a fire and an armed man in the 7500 block of Maury Road, and officers and firefighters arrived together Saturday morning, about 6:40AM local time to find a man outside one of the burning buildings. Police confronted the suspect – 56-year-old Everton Brown – who neighbors said had a pattern of erratic behavior, and was believed to have shot 2 other men and 1 woman who all died at the scene, and started the fire. Spokeswoman Stewart said 4 Baltimore County police officers shot at the man, and said “the threat was neutralized,” which is police jargon meaning they shot and killed him. A 4th man is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Only 3 days earlier, a recent peace order had been filed against Brown after over a decade of neighbors’ complaints who said he was paranoid that his house was being constantly searched by the FBI and other agencies, and accused neighbors of assisting them. Neighbor Kweku Quansah, 51, heard an explosion and went outside to investigate, and saw his neighbor’s house on fire, then saw the gunman walking between cars shooting at neighbors, and then shoot a deceased woman lying on the ground who Brown shot again. Another couple who are residents said Brown was also going door-to-door with a firearm. Yet other residents said Brown threatened and confronted neighbors for many years, and that many neighbors had filed numerous complaints over the years about his bizarre behavior, all to no response. The massive explosion destroyed the side of one building, and firefighters extinguished the burning remnants.

10.) Three Shot in NYC’s Times Square, Including a 4-year Old

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said a Brooklyn family had brought their daughter to Times Square to purchase toys and she was shot, along with two other victims – a 23-year-old female tourist from Rhode Island and a 43-year-old woman from New Jersey all who were unrelated on one another. Commissior Shea said that “all three are innocent bystanders.” She also said there was 1 person of interest, and that a dispute broke out between “two to four people” just before 5PM local time Saturday.

11.) 7 Dead at Colorado Springs, CO Birthday Party

Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski said a murder/suicide occurred at the Canterbury Manufactured Home Community, on the southeast side of town, near the Colorado Springs airport, about 70 miles (110 km) south of Denver. A statement by the Colorado Springs PD stated that “The suspect, a boyfriend of one of the female victims, drove to the residence, walked inside and began shooting people at the party before taking his own life. Friends, family, and children were gathered inside the trailer to celebrate when the shooting occurred.” Authorities were alerted to the massacre by a phone call shortly after midnight when a son of one of the women at the party, was crying and said, “Somebody came in and shot everybody.”

12.) Bicyclist Shot & Killed in Greenville, SC

Greenville Police Department Police Chief J.H. Thompson said that shortly before 11AM local time, near Rocky Slope Road and Sedly Road, a bicyclist was shot and killed by a man whom he presumably knew. As he called police, the sound of gunfire could be heard by the 911 dispatcher, and he mentioned the man’s name. There were also numerous eye witnesses near the scene who were outside for a Mother’s Day event who confirmed the initial shooting. Shortly later, police officers then shot and killed a man believed to be the suspect after he exited his vehicle with a firearm in his hand.

In every instance, all those incidents could have been avoided.

Every. Single. One. Of. Them.

Part of a longstanding problem with firearm violence in America has been because of an amendment to a bill – the so-called “Dickey Amendment” of 1996, so named after AR Republican Representative Jay Dickey (1939-2017) who authored it, which forbade the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from funding, and by extension, studying, firearm violence. His amendment read, “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”

Dickey, who was a self-proclaimed “point man for the NRA” on Capitol Hill, did not explicitly ban research efforts by the CDC on firearm violence, but his amendment did cut their budget by $2.6 million, which was the amount they’d spent the year prior on such research. One physician-researcher said of his amendment that, “Precisely what was or was not permitted under the clause was unclear… but no Federal employee was willing to risk his or her career or the agency’s funding to find out.”

Years later, after he’d retired from Congress, and shortly after the Aurora, Colorado movie theater mass shooting which killed 12, and injured scores more, Mr. Dickey wrote an OpEd which was published in the Washington Post on July 2012. In essence, the piece was a mea culpa, of sorts, in which he expressed regret for ever writing the amendment. In part he wrote that, “Firearm injuries will continue to claim far too many lives at home, at school, at work and at the movies until we start asking and answering the hard questions. Scientific research should be conducted into preventing firearm injuries.”

Years later, he spoke with ABC News and further expressed regret, saying that, “I wish I had not been so reactionary.”

While he remained a supporter of Second Amendment rights until his death, he later formed a fast friendship with Dr. Mark Rosenberg, MD, the founder and former Director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, and a public health researcher, in order to promote academic inquiry of firearms. Their friendship was so close, that Dr. Rosenberg gave the eulogy at Mr. Dickey’s funeral. Dr. Rosenberg later told an editorial writer that “there are ways that you can keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them while you are protecting the rights of gun owners and reducing gun violence. It’s not either, ‘Keep your guns, or prevent gun violence.’ There’s a strategy that science can help us define where you can do both — you can protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and at the very same time reduce the toll of gun violence.”

Mr. Dickey said, “Scientific research… it’s our responsibility. It’s silly for us to watch this nonsense take place, without doing something.”

Mr. Dickey and Dr. Rosenberg both wrote that research suggests that “childproof locks, safe-storage devices and waiting periods save lives.”

They further wrote that, because firearms safety research had been neglected,

“As a consequence, U.S. scientists cannot answer the most basic question: What works to prevent firearm injuries? We don’t know whether having more citizens carry guns would decrease or increase firearm deaths; or whether firearm registration and licensing would make inner-city residents safer or expose them to greater harm.

“We don’t know whether a ban on assault weapons or large-capacity magazines, or limiting access to ammunition, would have saved lives in Aurora, or would make it riskier for people to go to a movie. And we don’t know how to effectively restrict access to firearms by those with serious mental illness.”

In 1991, Dr. Rosenberg’s group awarded a research grant to a lead investigator whose research made startling, landmark findings which were published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers found that having a gun in the home tripled the risk of gun homicides, and quintupled the risk of gun suicides.

The National Rifle Association didn’t like that, and immediately began attempts to shut down Dr. Rosenberg’s center.

After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT in December 2012, then-President Obama asked the Centers for Disease Control to investigate gun violence, but the Republican-controlled Congress, bowing to pressure from the NRA and firearms industry, would not fund the research.

In an interview with Steve Inskeep of National Public Radio in 2015, Mr. Dickey analogized the need for gun safety research by saying,

“The thing that really brought this to my mind was watching as the little barricades were set up between the Interstate to stop head-on collisions. The highway industry spent money in their scientific research to figure out what could be done, assuming that they were going to allow cars to continue to be on our highways. Enormous reduction of head-on collisions has been caused just by that little 2-and-a-half, 3-foot fence. We could do the same in the gun industry.”

In 2018 Congress passed clarifying language that retained the Dickey Amendment and stated that the CDC could resume research on gun violence as long as they weren’t lobbying for gun control.

Another piece of prohibitive legislation, the Tiahrt Amendment, was enacted as part of the 1999 Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, was written and sponsored by Kansas Republican Representative Todd Tiahrt and prohibits the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) from maintaining a searchable electronic database. It hamstrings officers who attempt to trace a firearm which was used in the commission of a crime, and relegates them to searching by hand through boxes and boxes of papers – many of which are illegible – and an antiquated card catalogue and telephone system to track the history of a gun. The non-partisan Congressional Research Service has written that the Tiahrt Amendment “unduly hampered” the ATF from enforcing the law.

Dr. Andrew R. Morral, PhD, is the Senior Behavioral Scientist, and Director of the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research at RAND Corporation, and has identified five different types of gun violence problems in our nation:

1.) Mass shooting;
2.) Suicide;
3.) Family shootings;
4.) Urban gun violence, and;
5.) Police shootings.

Dr. Morral’s research at RAND has found that there is “moderately good evidence that the current background checks system is helpful” in reducing firearm-related violence, and so “it seems logical to think that background checks on all sales might help more.”

RAND research also found that there is also moderately good evidence that waiting periods for gun purchases reduce suicide and violent crime, and there is strong evidence — which RAND calls “supportive” — that laws which require firearms to be safely stored away from children further reduce firearm injuries and deaths among young people.

Dr. Naik-Mathuria, a Houston-based pediatric trauma surgeon, would prefer that, instead of addressing the problem of firearms injury as a matter of politics, Congress should address it as a matter of injury prevention. She said that she began researching methods to reduce gun violence about 6 years ago after seeing “kids come in dead because they shot themselves in the head when they found a gun at home.”

Of note, there is NO official database, nor clearinghouse of any kind for incidents of firearm violence in our nation.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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