‘Vir­tu­ally noth­ing mean­ing­ful’

Connecticut Post - - OPINION -

Ed­i­tor’s note: The fol­low­ing are ex­cerpts from an ad­dress U.S. Sen. Chris Mur­phy, D-Con­necti­cut, de­liv­ered on the Se­nate floor Wed­nes­day re­gard­ing the an­niver­saries of mass shoot­ings in Orlando, Florida, and Charleston, South Carolina.

“About 93 peo­ple are killed every day from guns. That’s a mix­ture of sui­cides and homi­cides, ac­ci­den­tal shoot­ings. That means that in the 731 days since the Pulse Night­club shoot­ing, we’ve had some­where around 70,000 peo­ple hav­ing been killed by guns in this coun­try. That’s a statis­tic that has no com­par­i­son anywhere else in the world.”

“We have done vir­tu­ally noth­ing mean­ing­ful since the tragedy in my state in Sandy Hook. And, thus, the slaugh­ter con­tin­ues.”

“Melvin Gra­ham’s sis­ter, Cyn­thia Gra­ham — she was mur­dered in Charleston as part of that shoot­ing. And ear­lier this year he talked about how an­gry he is that Congress has done noth­ing mean­ing­ful to try to af­fect the re­al­ity of gun vi­o­lence in this na­tion. He said, ‘You would think that this would be the time. Each time some­thing hap­pens you think this is the time we’re go­ing to get some ac­tion, some move­ment, some unity in Wash­ing­ton to do some­thing. And each time they have let me down. They have failed me. They’ve shown me that they sim­ply do not care.’ ” “But un­for­tu­nately, this coun- try tends to only pay at­ten­tion to the is­sue of gun vi­o­lence when these mass shoot­ings hap­pen. And they are truly soul crush­ing, com­mu­nity-chang­ing events. New­town, Con­necti­cut, is never, ever go­ing to re­cover from what hap­pened there.”

“In my state, An­to­nio Robin­son was re­cently ready to grad­u­ate from Stam­ford Academy. And he was the for­mer co-cap­tain of the Stam­ford High School foot­ball team. He was stand­ing on an over­pass and he was shot to death. His sis­ter said that he never both­ered any­body and so he never thought that he had to dodge or hide from bul­lets. He was on his cell phone stand­ing on the over­pass. He wasn’t even aware that he was about to be shot. His for­mer coach and sixth grade teacher said that, ‘He wasn’t the big­gest kid out there but he played with a lot of heart and soul. He gave it ev­ery­thing he got.’ An­other one of his foot­ball coaches said that, ‘He was very re­spect­ful. He was just an awe­some, awe­some kid.’ Eigh­teen years old, An­to­nio Robin­son is gone.”

“The young woman I met with to­day who has gone through one of these trau­mas her­self hav­ing sur­vived the Pulse shoot­ing from two years ago speaks about that same kind of trauma. Her life is fun­da­men­tally changed from that day. Re­la­tions with her fam­ily mem­bers have been rup­tured. She lost her cousin in­side the night­club that night. It’s a re­minder that re­searchers tell us every time one per­son is shot, there are likely 20 other peo­ple who ex­pe­ri­ence some kind of trauma based off of that one shoot­ing. So take the 93 peo­ple every sin­gle day, mul­ti­ply that times 20, and you get the sense of just over a 24-hour pe­riod the catas­tro­phe that hap­pens in fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties be­cause of gun vi­o­lence.”

“The United States has a rate of gun vi­o­lence about 10 peo­ple per 100,000 in terms of gun deaths. And there’s no com­par­i­son. The next high­est coun­try is Fin­land, which has rate of about three per 100,000. The av­er­age coun­try is down around one per 100,000. So you’re talk­ing about a rate that’s 10 times higher in this coun­try than in other coun­tries.”

“We aren’t the coun­try with the most as­saults. We are close to the coun­try with the low­est num­ber of as­saults. Bel­gium has more, Is­rael has more, Por­tu­gal has more, Swe­den, France, Nether­lands, Italy, Switzer­land, Spain, De­mark, Ger­many, Aus­tria, Nor­way, Ire­land, Fin­land, New Zealand, Aus­tralia, South Korea and the United King­dom. Only Japan and Canada re­port fewer as­saults per per­son per capita than the United States. So it’s not that we are a more vi­o­lent na­tion. It is that we are in par­tic­u­lar a na­tion plagued by one type of vi­o­lence — gun vi­o­lence.”

Contributed Photo

U.S. Sen. Chris Mur­phy, D-Conn., speaks on the House floor Wed­nes­day about the an­niver­saries of the mass shoot­ings in Orlando, Fla., and Charleston, S.C.

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