Six Months Later

crosses-symbolizing-grave-markers-sit-on-the-national-mall-in-april-as-part-of-a-24-hour-vigil-toIt’s been six months since the gun deaths of 20 children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-two other people also lost their lives to gun death and my brother’s memorial service, also a gun death, was that day.

Since December 14, 2012, there have been close to 6,000 gun deaths according to Slate magazine and the Twitter feed @Gun Deaths. There have been 14 mass shootings since Newtown. That’s more than one mass shooting per month since December! It’s an average of 28 shooting per day.

The shootings tell a familiar story that is becoming a trend in our county. Besides suicides, domestic violence is the most common reason for shootings. The gunman begins by shooting his spouse, partner, or another family member. Often the gunman has a history of violence or a criminal record.

December 20, 2012, Blair County, PA: Jeffrey Lee Michael, 44, went on a shooting rampage that ended in a church, killing three and injuring three state troopers. Police confiscated an arsenal of ammunition and guns from his house. He had his girlfriend purchase the guns and ammunition because a restraining order was out against him.

crosses-symbolizing-grave-markers-sit-on-the-national-mall-in-april-as-part-of-a-24-hour-vigil-toDecember 24, 2012, Webster, NY: Ex-con, William Spengler, 64, killed two and shot three. He had previously murdered his grandmother with a hammer. 

January 21, 2013, Albuquerque, NM: Teen Nehemiah Griego, 15, shot and killed his parents and three siblings with his parents’ .22 caliber rifle and another semi-automatic rifle. He intended to shoot up a WalMart, but changed his mind. He confessed to the shooting and explained he had “anger issues.”

January 30, 2013, Phoenix, AZ: Known to be extremely paranoid with anger issues, Arthur Douglas Harmon, 70, shot into an office building. Two people were killed and a bystander was injured. He later killed himself.

February 19, 2013, Orange County, CA: Twenty-year-old college student, Ali Syed, shot and killed four people during the morning commute. He had sought help for ADHD, panic disorder and anxiety from the student health department. He left a suicide note explaining how he planned the massacre.

March 13, 2013, Herkimer, NY: Kurt Myers, 64, opened fire on a barbershop and car wash, killing four and injuring two. He had 50 rounds of ammunition on him and another 45 round in his car when he was killed in a shoot out with police.

April 18, 2013, Akron, OH: Two men and two women were shot execution style in a townhouse where students were having a post-production party. Two felons have been charged with aggravated murder, kidnapping, robbery, and illegal possession of firearms.

April 21, 2013, Seattle, WA: Dennis Clark, III shot his girlfriend Justine Baez before killing three other random people. Clark had a concealed handgun license, but had previous clashes with police over domestic violence.

April 24, 2013, Manchester, IL: Rick O. Smith, 43, had a criminal history of homicide, drugs, and writing bad checks. He shot and killed a family of five. One six-year old girl survived.

May 12, 2013, New Orleans, LA: Akein Scott, 19, injured 19 people ata Mother’s Day parade. He had recently made bail for charges for illegal gun and herion possession. He had two recent prior arrests for possession of stolen guns and extended clips.

May 25, 2013, Hampton, VA: Two teens, 15 and 17, have been charged with the shooting death of 16-year-old Ralphael Davis and injuring several other teens at a carnival.

May 26, 2013, Concho County, TX: Active duty Marine, Esteban Smith, shot and killed his wife in a motel room before going on a shooting spree that killed another woman and wounded five others. He was in possession of an assault rifle, handgun, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

June 7, 2013, Santa Monica, CA: John Zawahri shot and killed his father and brother before burning down his house and indiscriminately shooting several other people. He had a history of mental illness and enough ammunition to kill more than 100 people.

June 13, 2013, St. Louis, MO: Two men and two women died in a murder-suicide in an office building. There was a semi-automatic gun at the scene.

We hear about mass shootings, but there are countless children, teens, women, and men who are shot and killed everyday who never make the national news. Neighborhoods and communities, schools and churches, homes and offices are all witnesses to the devastation, destruction, and disruption of gun deaths.

Heather Johnson is a regular person like you and me who is paying attention and offered names that didn’t make my list. You can see her album honoring those who died by gun death in Cincinnati, OH.

Gun Deaths Since Newtown is updated daily to reflect those who died while Congress dithered on the gun issue.


Photo: Crosses symbolizing grave markers sit on the National Mall in April as part of a 24-hour vigil to “remind Congress action is needed on gun violence prevention.”

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