June 21, 2023 by Wes Kilgore, Well Beings
Due to the description of some of the events in this article, reader discretion is advised.
On a weekend traditionally devoted to celebrating fatherhood, families across the United States found themselves grappling with a chilling and widespread outbreak of gun violence. Over the Father’s Day weekend of 2023, instead of the expected laughter, games, and grill-filled backyards, many communities were shaken by the relentless echo of gunshots. Amid the surge of violence, there is an urgent need to understand and access resources available to help stem this lethal tide.
From Chicago’s busy city streets to Missouri’s quiet neighborhoods and Pennsylvania’s rural enclaves, no geographical boundary or demographic divide seems to provide immunity to this nationwide plague. As we delve into the heartrending specifics, it’s essential to remember that these incidents are not mere statistics; they are an aggregation of personal tragedies, dreams extinguished prematurely, families shattered, and communities left in fear and sorrow.
Among the gun violence incidents over the weekend:
- Chicago: Over the holiday weekend, more than 70 people were shot in Chicago, 13 of them fatally. This includes a father of four who was gunned down at a large family gathering for Father’s Day in the park.
- Missouri: An early Sunday shooting in a downtown St. Louis office building killed a 17-year-old and wounded 11 other teenagers, the city’s police commissioner said. The teens were having a party in an office space when the shooting broke out around 1 a.m. Sunday.
- Pennsylvania: One state trooper was killed and a second critically wounded just hours apart in central Pennsylvania on Saturday after a gunman attacked a state police barracks. The suspect drove his truck into the parking lot of the Lewistown barracks about 11 a.m. Saturday and opened fire with a large-caliber rifle on marked patrol cars before fleeing, authorities said Sunday.
Many Children Who Survive Gun Violence Face Barriers to Mental Health Care
These are just the latest in a string of mass shootings that have taken place in in recent months, and the surge in violence has renewed calls for action on gun control. President Biden has called for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. And some lawmakers have introduced legislation that would expand background checks and make it more difficult for people with mental health problems to obtain guns.
However, it is unclear whether any of these measures will be able to pass Congress. The Republican Party has been largely opposed to any gun control measures, and despite public outrage and overwhelming calls for action after the Sandy Hook and Parkland massacres, the party seems unwilling to change its stance.
Here is a list of resources to help you learn more about the crisis and what you can do to promote anti-gun violence legislation that can increase the odds of keeping yourself and those in your community safe.
Gun Violence Prevention Resources
- AACAP Resource Library on Guns and Violence (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)
- Brady United: Brady United is a national organization that works to prevent gun violence. They offer a variety of resources, including information on gun safety, gun control laws, and how to get involved in the fight against gun violence.
- Everytown for Gun Safety: A movement of nearly 10 million moms, mayors, survivors, students, and everyday Americans working to end gun violence.
- The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence: The Giffords Law Center is a national organization that works to reduce gun violence through legal advocacy. They offer a variety of resources, including information on gun violence laws, gun control litigation, and how to get involved in the fight against gun violence.
- In the Aftermath (FBI): This FBI-produced documentary focuses on best practices after school shooting tragedies, including family reunification, dealing with accompanying trauma, and crisis planning. It highlights the difficult journey of recovery while also giving hope to survivors.
- Webinar: Public Health Approach to Gun Violence | Hosted By Centers for Disease Control & Community Justice (Prevention Institute)
Gun Violence in the News
- Mass shootings and violence around the country leave several dead and injured this weekend (PBS NewsHour)
- A High School Teacher’s Response to the MSU School Shooting (PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs)
- Full Episode: Is Washington any closer to addressing gun violence? (Washington Week)