Telling Gun Violence Stories Is Good, But Talk About Solutions, Too

Readers' Forum

To The Reader’s Forum:

PBS aired a documentary on October 5 called “Ricochet”, which showed how gun violence affected people – the brother of a deceased suicide victim, parent and sister of a young man who died by suicide, parents of young woman who died at a mass shooting in a theater, a young woman who lost three family members to gun violence, a survivor of a mass shooting at a theater and an ER doctor who, most often, could only console survivors. The intent was to show just what it means to be a surviving “victim”.

One statistic revealed is how virtually everyone in America is connected to the dead and wounded because of gun violence in America – being a victim, knowing a victim, living near a victim and, I would add, by reading/seeing news reports of gun violence. Another statistic is that once you are victimized, you are always a victim, but the closer one is to the violence, the greater the impact. One final statistic came from the doctor who experienced that most people who attempted suicide by gun were successful.

One parent of a dead child said she couldn’t believe the audacity of those who say, “Aren’t you over it?” She essentially said that no one would say such a thing if gun violence had taken their loved one – that is, try to walk in someone else’s shoes.

One mother said she was not opposed to guns but felt guilty that her son had immediate access to one at the time he chose to end his life. There were stories of the fact that no one is ready for the shock of the losses they would experience and even years or decades later the survivors still grieved.

While they all wanted to return to the time before gun violence ripped their lives apart some were using their grief to help others who might have, or have had, similar experiences. Some helped young children in violence-prone neighborhoods, some consoled family members of subsequent mass shootings and suicides. Some felt powerless to do much of anything for others.

I have only one complaint: the documentary did not address “solutions” to gun violence.

I have my own personal connection to gun violence, and I start with the belief that there would be less “gun violence” by reducing the proliferation of guns. Profiling victims is good, but it can’t end there.



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