May 18-It's all so senseless.
If you are not enraged and heartbroken about what happened in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, you should be. Acts of gun violence all over the country have become commonplace. Sadly it has officially joined systemic racism as an integral part of our culture, as this attack demonstrates.
It is hard to accept that this must be accepted. Saying we can't live in fear is easy, what's harder is to deny something as tragic as what happened in Buffalo, New York, will not happen elsewhere. On May 14, inside a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, a teenager wearing body armor and carrying an assault weapon sprayed bullets into people entering the supermarket and continued shooting once inside. A recently retired Buffalo police officer, working security inside the store, was able to fire back yet the shooter's body armor could not be penetrated. The Black officer was one of 10 people killed. Three people were injured. Eleven of the victims were Black. This happened because of racial hatred. Recent history shows us it will happen again.
In fact the very next day across the country in a church in Laguna Woods, California, a man walked into the Geneva Presbyterian Church on May 15, and killed another man. Parishioners subdued that shooter until police arrived. The reasons for that attack are still under review.
Gun violence as a solution to what ails some people is now commonplace in the United States. It is a public health crisis, one as serious as drug overdoses and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Acts of gun violence, from Buffalo (2022) to Pittsburgh (2018) to Aurora, Colorado (2014), to Newtown, Connecticut (2012), and more, are now part of who we are.
In 2013, civic and political leaders and ordinary citizens got together to study how to end gun violence, according to the website www.everytown.org. Organized by Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the group "combined the best minds in research, policy, litigation, advocacy, and grassroots organizing to grow Everytown for Gun Safety into a movement of more than 8 million supporters."
"In the ten years between 2009 and 2018, 1,121 people were shot and killed in the United States in a mass shooting, and 836 more were shot and wounded," according to the website. "The reach of each mass shooting stretches far beyond those killed and wounded, harming the well-being of survivors, their families, and entire communities."
The urgency to act came from the gun violence and mass shootings that have defined us as a nation. Yes, defined us as a nation. It's the unfortunate truth. Now, the question is, "what can be done?"
From May 6 to May 15 of this year, in mass shootings, there were 30 people killed and 115 injured in cities across the country, according to gunviolencearchive.org. And that doesn't take into consideration the people harmed by witnessing the violence, or who lost a loved one, and the grievous trauma they will suffer for the rest of their lives.
Buffalo, like so many other places, has been traumatized - and most particularly its Black community, whose members were just out shopping for Sunday dinner when a gunman stormed the building.
One can only hope that those who were shot for the color of their skin mercifully died as quickly and as painlessly as possible. As for the survivors and loved ones of those who were killed, they will never forget.