No End in Sight for Gun Violence in America

Beverly Vaz - 2T Software Engineering
Posted on: November 14, 2018

On October 27 , an armed assailant opened fire on a peaceful Jewish gathering at the Tree Of Life congregation in Squirrel Hill – a neighborhood with a dominant Jewish population. The accused, Robert D. Bowers, was armed with an AR 15-style assault rifle and at least 3 handguns. Authorities say the accused had no previous criminal record, but that there were signs that he harbored anti-Semitic feelings through posts on social media sites.

The shooting claimed the lives of 11 people – including a 90-year old woman and a couple in their 80s – and left at least half a dozen injured. Fortunately, no children were killed. The day started off as a normal Saturday morning at the synagogue, but things had taken an ugly twist by 9:54 am when an emergency call had to be placed about a shooter. About 5 minutes later, an officer who was on the perimeter reported that they were under fire. A little after 10 am, a dispatch was sent instructing all units to arrive at the scene. By this time, the suspect had killed 11 people and was on his way out. When he spotted law enforcement officials, he started firing at them and then moved back in for cover. By 10:30 am, tactical teams entered the synagogue. Six minutes later, an officer described finding 4 bodies in the atrium, and, a couple of minutes later 4 more bodies were reported to be found. At close to eleven, officers located the position of the suspect on the third floor. A little after that, at 11:08am, the suspect surrendered. The weeks following this incident have been filled with funerals, memorial services, visits from notable people, and, talk about making things right.

The way things unfolded at Pittsburgh may seem shocking, but what’s more appalling is the fact that not even a mere 2 weeks afterward, there was another mass shooting – this time in California. A gunman opened fire at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California on the night of November 7, killing 12 people and injuring at least a dozen others. The shooter has been identified as David Long, an ex-marine. Mr. Long has had previous run-ins with law enforcement, including one earlier this year.

On the night of the incident, the police received the first call around 11:20 pm. The gunman is said to have killed a bouncer and security guard as he forced his way into the bar. The police arrived at the location a couple of minutes after receiving the call. The County Sherriff and a Highway Patrol Officer too arrived, as more shots continued to be heard. The County Sherriff was injured in the attack and later succumbed to his wounds at the hospital.

By the time the officers entered the bar, the gunman had killed himself. The gun he used was a .45-caliber Glock handgun with an extended magazine. The use of an extended magazine is illegal in California.

Borderline Bar & Grill is close to the California Lutheran University and attracts many students, hence, many of the victims are suspected to be in the age range of 21 to 26 years. Amidst all of this, it may seem that people are losing their humane side to things with such acts of violence. However, as dismal as this may seem, there is still hope in humanity. In the words of the Jewish nurse who treated Mr. Bowers, “My care is given through kindness; my actions are measured with empathy”.

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