May 29, 2022
by Stephen Stofka
It is fitting that the Memorial Day holiday weekend should follow this week’s shooting of nineteen fourth-graders in Uvalde, Texas. As we honor those who died in war, we should acknowledge the schoolchildren and two teachers who died on the killing field of our American hostility. Respect the parents whose hearts lie in the grave with their child.
In 2020, 55% of gunshot deaths in this country were suicides (CDC, 2022a). 53% of 46,000 suicides were committed with a gun (CDC, 2022b). Most mass shooters use an AR-15 style weapon designed for military assault in war. Since the assault weapon ban expired in 2004, the Congress has been unable to pass legislation restricting the sale and carry of these weapons. The children in Uvalde died on that battlefield.
In 1863, President Lincoln spoke on the Gettysburg battlefield, calling us to “highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom” (Library of Congress, 1995). Let us stop listening to the sound of our thoughts and listen to the wind as it blows over their graves.
CDC. (2022a, January 5). FastStats – Homicide. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved May 28, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/homicide.htm. Almost 20,000 died by gunshot.
CDC. (2022b, March 25). FastStats – suicide and self-inflicted injury. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved May 28, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/suicide.htm. Out of 46,000 suicides in 2020, 24,000 were committed with a gun.
Library of Congress. (1995, January 12). Gettysburg Address Exhibition Home. Library of Congress. Retrieved May 28, 2022, from https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/gettysburg-address/