About six weeks ago, a sniper opened fire near Moment’s offices in Northwest Washington, DC, where I grew up.
Concerned for my colleagues, I called the office number from California to ensure everyone was safe (thank G!d, everyone was). As details became more available, I learned that the attack had actually occurred just a few blocks east of the office—at my high school. Four people were injured, as they stood outside the school or waited to be picked up. The shooter, a 23 year old who reportedly had four long guns, two handguns, and 800 rounds of ammunition in reserve, shot himself as police approached. According to the New York Post, the shooter posted “Dear God please forgive me” on the online forum 4chan shortly after the first shots were reported.
Almost 19,000 people have been killed by gun violence so far in 2020, according to the Gun Violence Archive (GVA). About 10,500 of those have been suicides. There have been 240 mass shootings this year, 27 of which have been at schools, most of which did not make national headlines: just this past Sunday, eight were killed and 24 were injured in four separate shootings in Saginaw, Michigan, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Andrews, South Carolina, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Mesa, Arizona. Then there were last month’s higher profile shootings, at an elementary school in Texas and a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
This week, the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives is considering a host of gun control measures, but Republican opposition in the Senate makes these moves largely symbolic. (After voicing support, Republican Representative Chris Jacobs, who represents suburban Buffalo, received such backlash from other conservatives that he announced he would not run for reelection.)
Whether these killings are due to poverty, racism, psychological or other factors, the phenomenon of this widespread violence is a national crisis with cultural, political and spiritual dimensions. For help navigating these issues, Moment would like to share some of our past stories with you which highlight the Jewish perspectives on gun violence, the Second Amendment, and the state of our democracy.
Be safe out there.