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Silent Shots: At Least 80 People Were Killed By Gun Violence In The Week Leading Up To Elliot Rodger’s Santa Barbara Rampage

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The Memorial Day weekend saw a community eviscerated by gun violence that left several dead and many more injured.

But it wasn’t UC Santa Barbara that witnessed this particular round of bloodshed. It was New Orleans. By weekend’s end, the city had seen 19 people shot, four fatally. On Friday, a fight broke out at a high school graduation party that resulted in one person being killed and seven wounded. On Sunday, three men were shot with an assault rifle. That night, a murder took place at a Cajun seafood joint. On Monday morning, a triple shooting happened right outside a hospital, where people sitting in a car were hit with bullets in their backs, arms and legs. All survived. That same day, a 17-year-old died after being shot multiple times. Even earlier, a man riding his bike was shot under an overpass. The day ended with a homicide in the Lower Ninth Ward.

Outside of New Orleans, the U.S. was pocked with bad news. In the week prior to Elliot Rodger’s shooting spree in Isla Vista, there were at least 80 gun-related deaths across the country, according to a Huffington Post analysis of local news reports.

That these shootings failed to garner the national attention that the one in Isla Vista did shouldn’t shock anyone who has followed the gun control debate. High-profile instances of gun violence are more likely to grab the spotlight than the everyday scourge of gun-related killings. And certainly, the shooting of three (and stabbing of three others) by the 22-year-old son of a Hollywood director who happened to leave a dark, depressing trail of self-made YouTube videos qualifies as high-profile.

But instances such as the one at UC Santa Barbara are rare in respect to gun-related homicides. In fact, FBI data shows that there were 900 people who died in mass shootings from 2006 through 2012. By contrast, firearms were used in 11,078 homicides in 2010 alone, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And for those on the frontline of the gun control debate, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher as to how the press tends to cover instances of violence.

“There’s a grim calculus in the heads of journalists about what makes a shooting newsworthy,” said Mark Glaze, executive director of the Bloomberg-backed Everytown for Gun Safety. “The total number killed and injured tends to be variable one. The role of young people as perpetrators or victims is a close number two.” Glaze argued that press coverage was actually becoming more comprehensive, with reporters “actually paying more attention to the 33 daily gun murders in America than they did five or 10 years ago.”

That may be true. But, unlike with Rodger’s killing spree, there was no national news coverage for the killings in New Orleans. Indeed, unless the shooting involved an athlete or a TV star, the only media that covered gun-related killings the week before Rodger took up arms was in the communities affected.

The Huffington Post catalogued these local stories, all from the week prior to Rodger’s rampage:

Alabama:

Arizona:

Arkansas:

  • Douglas Cloyes, 72, was killed in a domestic disturbance on Sunday.
  • James Green, 56, was chased out of his apartment and fatally shot on Sunday.

California:

Colorado:

Florida:

Georgia:

  • Marshal Tucker, 48, was found dead of a gunshot late Monday night.

Illinois:

Indiana:

  • Two men were shot to death at the front door of a home in Indianapolis late Monday night.

Kentucky:

Louisiana:

Maryland:

  • James Lee Butler, 28, was shot (multiple times) and killed on Saturday.
  • Davon McLaurin Sr., 37, was shot dead on Wednesday morning.
  • John Jackson III, a 40-year-old father of two, was shot to death late last week.
  • Rodolfo Miguel Cervantes, 31, was found dead on Friday afternoon.

Massachusetts:

  • Shannon Richardson, 25, was shot several times while walking a street on Wednesday. Taken to a hospital, he was later pronounced dead.

Michigan:

  • Johnny Clyburn, an active duty Air Force sergeant, was shot to death on Tuesday morning. The suspect was a 19-year-old man who was the son of the women he was scheduled to marry.

Mississippi:

  • A man was shot inside a Ford F-250 pickup truck late last week and died of a gunshot wound to the neck.

Missouri:

Nevada:

  • An adult male died from apparent multiple gunshot wounds near the Desert Inn Road on May 22.
  • An aspiring rapper named “Hollywood Will” died from a shot in the chest during a fight at a party in the Palms Hotel Casino on Thursday.

New Mexico:

  • Jose Mesa, 27, was shot to death on Sunday. Police arrested 61-year-old Enrique Carmona.

New York:

North Carolina:

Ohio:

  • 50-year-old Tyrone Hilton was fatally shot in the head and his 28-year-old son Lamont Quarterman, was shot in the arm. A young girl witnessed the shooting, which happened on Sunday.
  • A 28-year-old man was found with gunshot wounds to the chest by police on Monday. He died from his injuries in the hospital.
  • 21-year-old Raheem Stenson was shot just before midnight on March 17.

Oklahoma:

Pennsylvania:

South Carolina:

Tennessee:

  • 26-year-old William Brock was fatally shot by his 67-year-old father, Ralph, on Sunday in what was described as a domestic dispute.
  • Michael Richard, 47, was killed by the man with whom he was walking on May 23, law enforcement officials allege.

Texas:

  • Two people were shot to death on May 19. The victims were identified as Dylan Headrick, and Rudy Hernandez III
  • William Hill, 29, was shot to death at a shopping center on Wednesday.
  • A man was shot to death at a northwest Houston hotel on Thursday morning.
  • Jennilynn Montana, 6-year-old girl, was fatally shot Sunday.

Virginia:

  • 18-year-old Elijah-Juan Zaire Vanness of Hampton, Virginia, was shot to death on May 16.

Washington:

  • Monique V. Williams, 29, was found dead on Monday in what police suspect is a murder-suicide involving her boyfriend.

Washington, D.C.:

Wisconsin:

  • A 34-year-old man from Milwaukee was shot dead on May 17 after what police suspect was a fight.
  • One person was shot to death on Saturday in Plover, Wisconsin.

If current trends continue, as they look to do, gun violence will surpass car accidents as the leading killer of young people sometime in the next year. That’s why physicians and public health experts are urging our politicians and our nation’s citizens to view gun violence as a public health problem. They’ve come up with research priorities and outlined a public health approach to gun violence prevention — now all we need is the political support to carry it out.

Just last week, two Congressional Democrats introduced legislation to restart funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s gun violence prevention research efforts. However, the NRA and their allies in Congress are trying to stop that. Rand Paul and several other Congressional Republicans are currently blocking the nominee for Surgeon General simply because he has suggested viewing gun violence as a public health problem — just like the medical and public health communities say we should.

Guns hurt or kill more than 10,000 children in the U.S. each year. Gun violence is devastating our younger generation, and it’s time to do something about it. We don’t want to take anyone’s guns away — we just want common-sense solutions like background checks, which have been proven to save lives. Guns do not make a nation safer; they’re killing our children and placing women’s lives in danger.

We shouldn’t have to live in fear of gun violence, and we shouldn’t let the NRA speak for an entire nation. Gun violence is a preventable problem, and we have the tools to do something about it.

So let’s act.

 

To learn more about how you get involved in the fight to prevent gun violence, visit the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Action Center

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