By William R. Wynn | TULSA, OK
Last weekend thousands of local residents and visitors from out of state attended the Tulsa Gun Show, many taking advantage of a loophole in federal law that permits the sale of firearms between private sellers and buyers to purchase weapons without a background check.
Meanwhile, on both coasts of the United States, episodes of gun violence resulted once again in tragedy, claiming four lives including those of two children.
On Saturday night at a park in Brooklyn, New York, people were about to make their way home from a popular annual festival when gunfire erupted, killing one man and injuring 11 other individuals. Police said at least two shooters were involved and they believe the shooting may have been gang-related.
“We had a terrible shooting in Brownsville tonight that shattered a peaceful neighborhood event,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a post on Twitter.
The following evening, 3000 miles away in the picturesque town of Gilroy, California, that community was wrapping up another annual tradition, the Gilroy Garlic Festival, when shots rang out and three people lay dead, including six year old Stephen Luciano Romero, 13-year-old Keyla Salazar, and 25-year-old Trevor Irby. All of the victims were enjoying the festival with family and friends when they were killed by a 19-year-old gunman with no apparent connection to any of those he murdered.
The shooter, whom police identified as local resident Santino William Legan, was killed by police, but not before he had taken three innocent lives and wounded 12 others. Legan reportedly purchased the AK-47-type assault rifle he used in the shooting legally in Nevada, which has less strict gun laws than California.
No motive has yet been determined in the Gilroy killings that have shattered the lives of three families.
“My son had his whole life to live and he was only six. That’s all I can say,” Stephen’s father Alberto Romero said.
But as tragic as the killings of last weekend were, they were not isolated incidents.
Six people died from gun violence in Oklahoma in the past week alone, but that number pales in comparison to deaths across the country over the past seven months.
There have been 8,507 gun deaths and 16,869 injuries due to guns in the United States so far this year, as reported by the website gunviolencearchive.org. 376 children have been killed by guns in 2019, and the year is just a little more than half over.
Last year 14,769 people lost their lives to guns in this country, and it appears that number will be surpassed by this December if the deadly trend continues.
There is no simple solution to such violence, but Democrats in congress and those seeking the presidential nomination are vowing to pursue legislation that aims to at least get some of the highest power assault weapons off the streets. However with a Republican controlled Senate and Donald Trump in the White House, there is virtually no chance of any such measures becoming law any time in the next two years.
And as the nation debates how to respond to the bloodshed, families are once more left to bury their children and mourn young lives that never had the chance to grow old. (La Semana)