This Is the Gun Control Debate in a Summer of Gun Violence
One week. Three states. Three separate gun incidents.
Sound like a bad movie? Think again--this actually just happened in the US.
Thing is, there were probably more than three incidents, too. We're just talking about the three biggies that got media coverage this week after shots rang out in West Virginia, Virginia, and Georgia.
As you've probably guessed, the gun debate is raging right now.
So what happened in each of these incidents? And what are people saying about gun control in the US? Here you go.
1. Holding a class hostage in West Virginia
On Tuesday, a 14-year old student pulled out a gun and held his class hostage in West Virginia.
Luckily no one was shot, but it was a scary afternoon as the emotionally upset gunman wouldn't let his teacher and 27 students leave the classroom. The teacher, Twila Smith, successfully communicated with him until she subtly alerted others, signaling a school lockdown.
Police and the gunman's pastor talked to him and he eventually surrendered. The suspect is now at a local hospital under evaluation.
2. On-air shooting in Virginia
Two young members of a local news TV crew were shot on live television Wednesday morning.
Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were reporting on a local park anniversary when several shots were fired at them and the person they were interviewing.
Parker and Ward were killed almost immediately. Vicki Gardner, the woman being interviewed, was shot in the back and is now in stable condition.
The shooter, Vester Lee Flanagan, was a disgruntled former employee.
3. Deadly university campus shooting in Georgia
A Savannah State University student was shot to death last night.
22-year old junior Christopher Starks, known as rap hopeful Booley Boo, was fatally shot near the university's student union building. Shortly after, the campus was put on lockdown. The lockdown has been lifted, thought authorities have yet to find a suspect.
How serious is this gun crisis?
According to the FBI last year, mass shootings--or gun incidents with multiple victims--have been on the rise in the United States.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) August 27, 2015
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) August 26, 2015
The FBI has been particularly concerned with active-shooter situations, which happen when a person is "actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area."
— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) August 26, 2015
— Jon Williams (@WilliamsJon) August 27, 2015
America owns so, so many more guns per capita than anywhere else http://t.co/YVhXu9NW4i
— Zack Beauchamp (@zackbeauchamp) August 26, 2015
There have been many shootings in America through President Obama's two terms of presidency. In fact, the mass shooting at a AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina earlier this summer marked the 14th time Obama has had to respond to a shooting incident during his tenure.
6. Since the Sandy Hook shooting — which was just in 2012 — there have been more than 850 mass shootings in the US: pic.twitter.com/fcUUxwoiml
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) August 26, 2015
So, how is the gun debate now after this week?
Amongst those calling for such conversations are the boyfriend and father of Alison Parker, who was killed on air in Virginia this week.
Parker's boyfriend, Chris Hurst, wants serious change in the country:
"There needs to be some action that is taken out of an event like this--out of an event like Sandy Hook, like Charleston, like Aurora, Colorado ... where these things just don't occur anymore. We need to have a substantive conversation on what is going on in America that is allowing evil to continue to crop up over love? Is it because we are in the media? And the attacker knew this was going to get a lot of play, and here we are again, another mushroom cloud of coverage over gun violence?"
For his part, Parker's father, Andy Parker, is ready to work on gun control in the US:
““I’ve been robbed of a treasure that I will never see again, so the only thing I can do is make something happen where someone else’s treasure isn’t taken--and I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop. I’m for the Second Amendment but there has to be a way to force politicians who are cowards in the pockets of the N.R.A. to make sensible laws to make sure crazy people can’t get guns.”
Presidential candidates are chiming in.
"We've got to come to terms with hard truths about guns in America." https://t.co/Wf2SFrAZKb
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 28, 2015
Shocked by the horrific murders in Roanoke. Columba and I are praying for Alison, Adam and all those affected.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) August 26, 2015
Many are just calling for help and for people to care.
80 more people will die from guns in America tomorrow. And Friday. And Saturday. And every day. Any Americans care?
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) August 26, 2015
— KHARY PENEBAKER (@kharyp) August 28, 2015
Again, America. 2 innocent people murdered with a gun. QUIT GIVING THESE MURDERERS THEIR TOOLS.
— Chris Millington (@ChrisJohnMilly) August 26, 2015
America's gun culture is a national pathology, a virulent disease that is constantly reaping a tragic toll. New laws are the only cure.
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) August 26, 2015
Others are proclaiming their right to arm themselves, often invoking the Second Amendment, which pertains to the right to own and hold a gun.
— NRA (@NRA) August 28, 2015
— Jeff Danker (@DankerJeff) August 22, 2015
And again, Liberals: White officer shoots black criminal: Racist! Black man shoots two white people on live TV: Death to the NRA!
— Leah the Boss (@LeahRBoss) August 27, 2015
nothing says america like a 6-gun over your kilt & a tattoo of the 3 words in the constitution you actually remember pic.twitter.com/jBOH7mif5r
— Adam Weinstein (@AdamWeinstein) August 27, 2015
— Chuck Nellis (@ChuckNellis) August 26, 2015
People are distraught, upset, and frustrated with the situation America is in.
People are being shot to death on live TV. Maybe it’s time to talk about guns America. http://t.co/ZMlylNc7bh
— Joel Pavelski (@joelcifer) August 26, 2015
Executed on live TV. Guns kill people.People with guns kill people.Play all the semantics you want,America.Guns kill https://t.co/ssvHFC31qr
— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) August 26, 2015
It's not polite to talk about gun policy after a shooting which is a problem because there is a shooting every day in America.
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) August 26, 2015
Why doesn't America change their gun laws? Why have tragedy after tragedy? For what purpose? It makes me embarrassed to be an American.
— Evan Edinger (@EvanEdinger) August 26, 2015
The greatest trick the NRA ever pulled was convincing America there's no lessons to be learned from countries with low rates of gun violence
— Bob Schooley (@Rschooley) August 26, 2015
Patrick deHahn is a freelance international news reporter, having contributed to The Atlantic online and Mic. He's worked at CNNMoney, the New York Daily News, and Voice of America. Patrick loves tweeting, reading, and grabbing coffee in either New York or Washington D.C. Tweet anything on politics or world conflict to him! Follow: @patrickdehahn.