Surely you’ve heard the following argument before from various gun rights advocates: gun laws won’t stop criminals, who are, by definition, flouting the codes of common decency that hold the rest of us.
But the concern isn’t limited to deliberate crime alone: accidental firings do happen. Sometimes people are careless. And other times they are poorly trained. There’s no malice behind these incidents, but the blood is still on our hands.
New Yorkers Against Gun Violence offer this startling statistic: for every 1 time a gun in the home was used in self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were 4 unintentional shootings, and 11 attempted or completed suicides. Even without counting the 7 criminal assaults or homicides per successful self-defense, the risks are too high. The casualties are too high.
16 year old Rasheedah Evans was watching a movie in her living room, enjoying a quiet 4th of July at home, when a stray bullet came in through the window. It struck her behind the ear, killing her instantly. Her stepfather, Rashid Salaam, found her unresponsive.
“We should be safe in our own homes but we're not safe in our homes. Put the guns down."
Gunshots had been heard just moments before, which the Fulton County, Georgia police deemed “celebratory gunfire” in honor of the 4th of July. It is believed that Evans’ family’s neighbor, 23-year old Marcel Smith, had fired the gun. Smith is wanted for questioning, but is yet to be found. It is possible he fled the scene.
Evans’ uncle, Patrick Muhammad, stated that
“We are a loving family and a forgiving family, with an accident. Let it remain an accident, but fleeing the scene and not turning yourself in allows us not to be believers in accidents.”
Police received many calls for celebratory gunfire this past 4th, but this is the only case that caused fatalities. Still, it is one too many. As the police themselves put it:
“When you discharge your firearm you own that bullet. Wherever it goes, you’re responsible for it."
Evans had been an honor roll student at Benneker High School. She had a bright future ahead of her, and her family is in immeasurable grief over her death.