David Waters, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee
How long, Memphis?
How long do we let guns terrorize our children and our community?
A 3-year-old child shot and killed his 1-year-old sister with a gun left on a bed by a 25-year-old man. The man said he needed the gun for protection.
A 10-year-old boy was shot and killed and his 12-year-old brother wounded after people from three separate vehicles fired gunshots into an SUV driven by the boys’ mother.
“These killings of our babies has got to stop,” said Alan Thornton, the child’s youth football coach.
How long until they stop? How many more babies do we sacrifice? How many more bodies do we lay at the altar of the almighty gun?
A 17-year-old boy was shot and killed by his 19-year-old friend, who said he fired shots from the car he was driving at other young men who shot at him from another car.
A 21-year-old man was arrested for robbing, shooting and killing a 56-year-old woman who was unloading her car in her garage in Harbor Town.
“After I see that there is a homicide, I send an email requesting that we could get more patrol in that area,” City Council member Berlin Boyd said afterward.
How many more patrols do we need, Memphis? How many police officers, armed guards and guns do we need to protect us from all the guns?
A 12-year-old boy was shot and killed at his family’s home. His sister’s boyfriend was charged in the death.
A 2-year-old girl was shot and killed when young men fired gunshots into a car with a “baby on board” sticker driven by her mother.
“Basically you’re just like, ‘whatever.’ You have no sense for human life,” the mother said of the killers.
How many senseless killings will it take, Memphis? How many senseless, reckless, hopeless killers do we arm and arm ourselves against?
Why wouldn’t troubled young men want guns? They see that everyone else does.
They see us make laws to allow guns in cars and parks and parking lots, guns on college campuses, in government buildings, even in churches where we worship the Prince of Peace.
They see guns in the hands of rock stars and rap stars, sports stars and movie stars, judges and politicians and even preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
They see us removing statues instead of guns, rounding up immigrants instead of semiautomatic weapons, raging more against people who kneel than people who kill.
They have guns instead of fathers, guns instead of jobs, guns instead of safe homes and neighborhoods.
The police keep telling us they can’t solve the problem of gun violence alone.
“It’s not just a law enforcement issue,” Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings said last week. “We see a lot of violence within families, we see a lot of violence between people that are friends and acquainted with each other. And we see young people getting access to guns.”
How long will we try to solve the gun violence problem by ignoring the gun problem?
Guns don’t kill people. Men and women and children use guns to kill people.
Guns they have no trouble getting or using to rob or retaliate or wreak havoc.
Guns they buy, borrow, grab or steal from us.