I was recently moved by an interview with a police chief who lost his composure in what I felt was a most eloquent way. (Chief Flynn after Nov. 6 police commission meeting.) He said, “if some people here gave a good God damn about the victimization of people in this community by crime I’d take some of their invective more seriously… They know all about the last three people who’ve been killed by the Milwaukee police department over the course of the last several years but there’s not one of them can name one of the last three homicide victims we’ve had…”
His statement got me thinking. I can’t name any of them either. I began to wonder how many other deaths had there recently been? Besides the high profile ones? I recently held a gun for only the second time in my life. As I held it, all I could think was, “Wow. How can so many people be so cavalier about guns?” This sent me down the rabbit hole where I learned there were 101 deaths in a 72-hour period between July 16 and July 18 at 3 pm. You can review any of the latest 72-hour statistics by visiting http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/last-72-hours. By the time I came up with the idea to give these statistics back their names, the data had shifted. Luckily, I suppose, a hot Monday yields less deaths than a hot Saturday. Between July 17 and July 19, 2016 we lost 94 lives due to gun violence. Even with fewer numbers, that still works out to over 1.3 lives lost per hour. There were an additional 255 people injured by gun violence in that same period or 3.5 injuries per hour.
I do not want this post to be about gun control. I don’t want this post to be about anti-gun control. I want it to be about potential. 94 lives lost. 94 lives gone forever. Someone’s child. Someone’s husband. Someone’s wife. Someone’s friend. Someone born full of hope and potential. Someone who could love and be loved. Some of these people were victims. Some of them were the perpetrators. I grappled with separating them out of respect for the survivor’s of the victims. In the end, I decided to list them in the order they died, often meaning a victim was listed next to the perpetrator. I did this because we have to be able to do more to stop this violence. And that has to take place before the violence occurs. We have to be able to stop the perpetrators from wanting to hurt others.
WE HAVE TO.
Oh, it is so very easy to turn it off. It’s too much. We feel powerless in the face of such enormous problems. We need to stop the poverty. We need to stop the alienation. We need to stop the humiliation. We need to stop the anger. We need to stop the hurt.
We need to love. We need to care. We need to help.
When my boys ask me why someone is being mean I often say, “Well, I just don’t think they got enough love today.” And if these perpetrators had received enough love in their lives, maybe, just maybe this list would be shorter. And maybe, if whole swathes of our society weren’t made to feel like second class citizens, this list would be shorter. And, maybe, if we just take a few minutes to read these names, every last one of them, we’ll stop focusing on the forest and start noticing the people standing among its trees.
The youngest of these victims was a 4-year old boy. Another was a brand new father, accidentally shot by his brother. Another was a teen playing basketball on a community center play ground. Another was a mother of four. So many murder-suicide combinations. So many related to drugs. So many related to anger. So much pain. It will not be ignored. Like a festering wound, it just spreads until the body can ignore it no longer. If we want to heal, we must face the wounds.
I do not want these people to get lost in the shuffle. Let’s not forget their names. Let’s not forget there are people behind all the debates.
So here they are. Above, in an image format. Below, in a text format. There are a few where I have simply listed the gender and city as their names have not yet been released pending notification of next of kin. I have done as much research as possible to put names to the incidents. Where not possible, please know that I respect your loved one’s life. THEY MATTERED. YOU MATTER TOO.
If you wish to add a name to this list, please feel free to contact me and know that you are in my heart and prayers. ♥
EMILIO FLORES ~ DONZIE TAYLOR ~ LARRY STEWART ~ CAPTAIN ROBERT MELTON ~ DAYRON STATEN ~ TYRONE JOHNSON ~ HENRY VARNADO ~ KENT FRANKLIN ~ ALFRED MATTHEWS ~ JERRY BRIMER ~ SHERIC ANDERSON ~ NAME WITHHELD, KANSAS CITY, MO ~ SUZANNA PEREZ ~ EBONY SMITH ~ BRAHEEM QUEEN ~ MIKHAL DELOVE BAILEY ~ KEVIN DAVID POWELL ~ LUKE SMITH ~ RON EASTERLING ~ JOVANNI SIMS ~ BRANDON HANSFORD ~ FERNANDO MONTANO ~ ANNASTASIA MACKIN ~ ADDISON “HOLLYWOOD” SHEARIN ~ SETH MARTIN ~ ANGELICA FISCHER ~ EMMANUEL COACH ~ NAME WITHHELD, MALE, CHICAGO, IL ~ JERMAINE SMITH ~ DERRELL PEDEN ~ MICHAEL BROWN ~ MARK CUMMINGS ~ MARK FLETCHER ~ NAME WITHHELD, MALE, GARDEN GROVE, CA ~ JOHN STOWERS ~ NAME WITHHELD, MALE, BALTIMORE, MD ~ SHANE MCCORMICK ~ JESSICA ARRENDALE ~ ANTOINE DAVIS ~ CHUEMO GATEWOOD ~ KRISTI MAXWELL ~ RICHARD MAXWELL ~ KEVIN WHITE ~ KEVIN VILLEGA MELENDEZ ~ RAYMOND GONZALES ORTIZ ~ FRANCISCO ORTEGA MARTINEZ ~ EDWARD LONG ~ TOMAS URIEGAS ~ PHILLIP BANK ~ JESSIE GARCIA ~ MICHAEL RAY RAMSEY ~ NAME WITHHELD, FEMALE, ROCHESTER, MI ~ JACOB COMSTOCK ~ LOUIS TATE ~ JASON AQUINO ~ CYNTHIA ZINGSHEIM ~ CARRIE ROUZER ~ NAME WITHHELD, MALE, CARROLLTON, GA ~ TYISHA AUSTIN ~ LAQUITA ROBINSON ~ SHERIDAN THOMPSON ~ NAME WITHHELD, MALE BROOKLYN, NY ~ JERMAINE JOHNSON ~ PATRICK DEWAYNE DECKER ~ JOSEPH BROWN ~ 4-YEAR OLD BOY, SULPHUR, LA ~ KENNETH BACQUE ~ MARQUES ADDISON ~ MAURICE BROWN ~ MICHAEL REED ~ KEVIN HIGGINS ~ JULIUS SMITH ~ MICHAEL LEON KING, JR ~ ATHENA NICHOLAS ~ DENZEL OLAJUWON MORTON ~ OTAVIOUS BROWN ~ CARLOS HARDING ~ ARTIVIS GLADNEY ~ SADIE ROBINSON ~ BRANDON BERNARD BOWMAN ~ NAME WITHHELD, MALE, CHICAGO, IL ~ COURTNEY TURRELL GUY ~ ATRAYU RAMAL DAVIS ~ OFFICER MATTHEW GERALD ~ OFFICER MONTRELL JACKSON ~ DEPUTY BRAD GARAFOLA ~ DEPUTY NICHOLAS TULLIER ~ GAVIN EUGENE LONG ~ CHEYENNE STEWART ~ NAME WITHHELD, MALE, LOUISVILLE, KY ~ BRANDON HANSFORD ~ HASSAN MCALLISTER ~ HASSAN AL-WATAN ~ NAME WITHHELD, MALE, SAN FRANCISCO, CA