All Articles Tagged "gun violence"

“They Were Very Close”: Ohio Dad Shoots, Kills 14-Year-Old Son After Mistaking Him For Intruder

January 13th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
Share to Twitter Email This

NBC News

NBC News

The day started like any other. Georta Mack, 14, was dropped off at the bus stop in the very early hours of Tuesday morning by his father to make his way to school. Afterward, the father headed back home. But unbeknownst to him, so did Mack. The teen decided to skip school and soon after being dropped off, he headed back home, sneaking back into the house through the basement.

According to Cincinnati’s WCPO, when Mack’s father heard a noise coming from the basement, he grabbed his handgun and went to see who or what it could be. That’s when the unthinkable happened.

“I just shot my son by accident,” Mack’s father said when he called the 911 operator. “He scared me. I thought he was in school. I heard noise and then I went downstairs looking. He jumped out at me. I shot him.”

The teen was shot around 6:30 a.m. and was hit in the front of his neck. The father claimed that when he was startled by his son after flinging open the basement door, immediately after, the handgun discharged. During the 911 call, the operator told Mack’s father to apply pressure to the teen’s neck to help with the bleeding, doing so as Mack was struggling to breathe. Sadly, after Mack was rushed to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, he died.

Those who knew Mack and his family told WCPO that they were a tight-knit bunch, making this tragedy all the more heartbreaking.

“They were very close,” said neighbor Courtney Williams. “His dad is actually a good guy, too. He was a very good guy.”

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said the father’s story matches the forensic evidence, so no charges will be filed.

“It is impossible to imagine how horrible this father must feel for mistaking his son for an intruder,” Deters said. “All of the forensic evidence matches what the father told police, and, therefore, no charges are appropriate.”

And the 911 call definitely shows a concerned and confused father, as he can reportedly be heard saying, “Oh God” repeatedly and even asking his son, “Why didn’t you go to school?”


Obama To Honor Gun Violence Victims With Empty Seat At SOTU

January 10th, 2016 - By Ashley Monaé
Share to Twitter Email This



With his last term in the White House coming to a close, President Obama is doing all that he can to dedicate his time to pushing gun control and educating Americans on why taking action on such matters are important, since Congress has not passed legislation doing so.

In an effort to continue this task of executive action, Obama has decided to leave a seat empty in the first lady’s box to honor slain victims due to gun violence during the State of the Union address on Tuesday (Jan.12), The Huffington Post reported. Historically, the process of deciding who will sit next to the first lady takes a significant amount of time, but instead of a high-profile figure, Obama felt it was only right to use that opportunity to reflect on larger issues the country is facing at large.

“We want them to be seen and understood that their absence means something to this country,” Obama said.

A White House official explained, “because they need the rest of us to speak for them. To tell their stories. To honor their memory. To support the Americans whose lives have been forever changed by the terrible ripple effect of gun violence—survivors who’ve had to learn to live with a disability, or without the love of their life. To remind every single one of our representatives that it’s their responsibility to do something about this.”

President Obama Sheds Tears In #StopGunViolence Press Conference

January 5th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
Share to Twitter Email This

I don’t have to tell y’all that gun control in this country is a problem. From the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, to the one in a Black church in South Carolina and then the nearly everyday occurrences in Chicago, there is a problem and we have to address it.

Today, during a press conference on gun control, President Obama is seeking to do just that.

President Obama has been calling Congress to act on gun control for months now, with no results. So after meeting with his team to see what could be done, today he proposed an executive order that seeks to do several things.

1. Keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people, through background checks.

2. Make the communities safer from gun violence, through stricter enforcement of gun laws, tracking the illegal sale of firearms, renewing domestic violence outreach efforts.

3. Increasing mental health treatment and reporting to the background check system.

4. Shape the future of gun safety technology

You can get a more in depth look at the proposal here. 

In proposing this new legislation, President Obama shed tears speaking about the children slain in Newtown, Connecticut.

“All of us should be able to work together, to find a balance that declares the rest of our rights are also important. Second amendment rights are important. But there are other rights that we care about as well. Because our right to worship freely and safely, that right was denied to Christians in Charleston, South Carolina. And that was denied Jews in Kansas City. And that was denied Muslims in Chapel and Sikhs in Oak Creek.

Liberty and the pursuit of happiness, those rights were stripped from college kids in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara and from high schoolers at Columbine. And from first graders in Newtown. First graders. And from every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun.

Wiping tears away, he said, “Every time I think about those kids it gets me mad. And by the way it happens on the streets of Chicago everyday.”

You can watch President Obama’s full remarks in the video below. (The press conference starts around the 35:15 mark.)

NBA Stars Lend Their Voice To Anti-Gun Violence PSA

December 27th, 2015 - By Ashley Monaé
Share to Twitter Email This

As many of us know, Christmas Day was chock full of family and friends, good food, gift-giving, and of course all the men in the family huddled around the TV watching several hours of basketball.

However, the NBA stars that are known for defensive plays and scouring triple doubles, decided to talk about much more than their love for the game. On Christmas, a public service announcement debuted, in which four ballers – Stephen Curry, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Joakim Noah – lent their voices to an anti-gun violence campaign by Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization that aims to prevent gun violence.

“My daughter Riley is that age,” Curry says, referring to a three-year-old girl that was fatally shot over the summer. “The gun should never be an option,” Anthony says during his segment.

The series of videos, which aired as one commercial, was shot by director Spike Lee, who is also a member of the organization’s creative council.

“I think [Lee] sensed and saw that our guys were feeling that same passion that he had and he reached out to Adam [Silver, the NBA’s commissioner] and said, ‘I want to do something about this and I think we should do it together,’ and we thought it was a good idea,” said NBA president of social responsibility and player programs, Kathy Behrens.

“The guys really wanted to kind of put their voices behind this, and so we like the way it’s come together, and I think the guys speak very passionately about the issue of trying to end gun violence, trying to make their communities stronger and safer for families.”

Watch each of the NBA player’s video segment below.

Barbershop: The Next Cut Will Not Only Make People Laugh, But It Will Also Tackle Gun Violence In Chicago [Trailer]

November 24th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
Share to Twitter Email This

MGM/New Line

MGM/New Line

Welcome back to the barbershop!

It’s been more than 10 years since the last installment in the Barbershop franchise. But after rumors of another film being shopped around popped up last year, Malcolm D. Lee was able to make it happen. Ice Cube and the gang all hustled back into Calvin’s barbershop in Chicago to make a third film. Barbershop: The Next Cut will open nationwide on April 15, 2016.

Until then, you can check out the first trailer from the comedy, which was released today.

Directed once again by Lee, but written this time around by Black-ish showrunner Kenya Barris and The Neighbors Tracey Oliver, we catch up with Calvin (Ice Cube) and Eddie (Cedric the Entertainer) and the inhabitants of their beloved shop. Major changes have been made to it, including the establishment now being co-ed thanks to the addition of a beauty shop that brings with it Angie (Regina Hall) and the feisty Draya (Nicki Minaj).

And major changes are also happening in the surrounding community, where gang violence is rampant. In the hopes of not only saving the shop, and the neighborhood, but to also keep his son Jalen (Michael Rainey Jr.) out of harms way, Calvin and the barbershop crew work together to try and bring about change.

That’s right. This story is a bit deeper than what we were given the first and second time around–and I’m not mad at that.

But no worries! Based on the trailer, the film still has very humorous moments, and that makes sense considering all the funny folks with roles. Anthony Anderson is back as J.D., of course, Cedric the Entertainer is an important player, and then there’s JB Smoove, LaMorne Morris (of New Girl fame), and Deon Cole (of Black-ish popularity).

Common has joined the cast, and some of your old favorites are back too, including Sean Patrick Thomas (Jimmy), Troy Garity (Isaac) and Eve (Terri). No sign of Michael Ealy though.

Check out the trailer for yourself and let us know if you’ll be down for another visit to Calvin’s barbershop next spring.

Woman Vows To Stay Celibate Until Black Men Restore Peace In Chicago Neighborhoods

November 19th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
Share to Twitter Email This

April LawsonP-ssy power is real and a South Side Chicago woman is asking every woman to tap into theirs and go on a sex strike until the gun violence in their city stops.

We don’t have to go on about the alarming murder rate plaguing the metropolitan city; almost daily a national newspaper does that for us as it details yet another shooting or massacre of some sort. And while many on the outside are stunned by what’s transpired in the city during the past few years, April Lawson says young Black men in Chicago are operating as if a crisis isn’t on their hands. It was seeing a group of young males camped out in front of a shoe store recently that let Lawson know she had to do something herself.

“You’re watching these guys just like buying gym shoes and carrying on like life is normal,” she said before pointing to another inspiration for her sex strike. “Then I saw the trailer to ‘Chi-Raq’.”

If you haven’t checked out the trailer already, the premise of the new Spike Lee film centers on neighborhood women withholding sex until gun violence ends. Lawson wants to bring that notion from the big screen to real life. The mother has already started an online petition, asking other women to agree to this pledge she read aloud on ABC news:

“I vow to stay celibate until Black men organize and create a strategy to keep the peace in our neighborhoods.”

In an open letter on the petition site, Lawson wrote:

The day after Tyshawn Lee and Kaylyn Pryor were shot dead on the south side within blocks of each other I watched you file into stores on State Street to buy gym shoes despite the fact that your neighborhoods are being torn apart. I watched in dismay as you carried on with your lives at work and at home as if this were of no consequence. I watched when you shook your heads and uttered, “That’s a damn shame,” on the CTA Red line with the newspaper in your large brown hands. I listened when you gave benign excuses about how there’s not much you can do about it and that somehow through it all, “God’s got it.”

You simply ran on Dunkin in the morning. And you supersized your fries at lunch time. As Londoner’s say, KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. Seriously, you kept a little too fucking calm, in my opinion.

Step into your greatness and out of the shadows of impotence. I need you to be leaders, not consumers. I need you to cherish your woman and protect your babies using every ounce of fortitude and creativity you can muster. I need you to insist the adage “justice for all” includes you too.

No, Chicago men. I’m done marching. I’m fed up with chanting catchy slogans like, “Black lives matter.” My silent protest to fight this battle is by keeping my panties up and my skirt down, one day at a time. My legs are closed to you. IT’S GAME TIME. I’m bringing on some real life Lysistrata in Chicago, and I’m hoping to enroll thousands of other single and married women in this city before the end of this bloody week.

My headshot could be plastered just as easily on the front page of tomorrow’s headlines. How dare you shake your heads and just walk away. God gave man more muscle mass than woman because it’s his job to protect and defend. Isn’t it time ya’ll got on your job?

Just like Lysistrata entreated the mighty women of her city I implore the strong ladies of Chicago to take this oath. If you are a woman who is sick and tired of the senseless violence then please, please take this pledge.

Elaborating on the pledge, Lawson added this:

Until an official treaty is signed and an actionable plan is in place by all black men who live in this city, I take a vow of celibacy. I vow to refuse sex to any man I’m dating, engaged to or married to until the perpetrators of these heinous crimes are brought to justice. I vow to keep my affections for men vocal, spirit filled and non-sexual until all children on the south side are safe to play outside their doors. I vow to stay celibate until black men organize and create a strategy to keep the peace in our neighborhoods. All men must take responsibility to take back their communities and behave as global citizens who patrol their own streets until every block in every neighborhood can all breathe again in ease.

Until ALL men in every neighborhood take a solemn oath that they will stay proactive instead of passive I will remain vigilant to the cause.


Why Isn’t All Lives Matter Protesting Mass Shootings?

October 5th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
Share to Twitter Email This



If All Lives Matter where is the outrage over the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon?

It really is an obvious question, but it is also a poignant one.

When folks say Black Lives Matters, they are told “nuh-uh. All Lives Matter” and how it is not fair to focus on one specific kind of death in America.

And it would be a fair argument if the folks who proclaim All Lives Matter were actually doing something about it. Heck, I see more folks upset about the Jenner-Kardashian being christened “America’s First Family” by Cosmopolitan than I do about the latest mass shooting, where people actually died.

For whatever reason the mass violent death doesn’t bring about the same sense of urgency as it does when a single cop kills an unarmed Black person. Maybe it is because when it comes to death, Black lives matter more?

Or maybe folks just don’t care.

As noted by Ben Dreyfuss who writes in a piece for Mother Jones entitled, 16 Years After Columbine, How “Never Again” Became “Oh, Well:”

“Both responses, “never again” and “don’t bother trying,” offer statements about the USA. The former says “America is the greatest country on Earth. We went to the moon. Surely, we can stop kids from getting shot to death at school! If the Brits can do it, so can we. ” The latter says, “No, we can’t. We’re America. The greatest country on Earth and the cost of the liberty that makes us so is that our kids may get shot to death at school.”

Every time there is another mass shooting and nothing happens it becomes a little easier to believe that the “don’t bother” crowd is right.

Nothing changed after 13 people were killed at Columbine, or 33 at Virginia Tech, or 26 at Sandy Hook. Each of those tragedies came with the same breaking-news urgency as Columbine, but none generated the same sense of expected action because fewer and fewer people actually believed things could change. The last 16 years have been a lesson in how “never again” can be cowed into “I need a drink.”

What is great about the Black Lives movement, and subsequently those who champion the BLM hashtag, is that it essentially embodies the former, more optimistic side of the America in which Dreyfuss speaks about. The side that believes that although police killings of mostly young and unarmed Black people has gone on forever – and although there are other kinds of violent death that warrant outrage – we have to take a stand somewhere in our demands for “never again.”

It also illustrates how the only ones actively working to address any kind of violent death in America are those activists on the front lines championing the cause of more police accountability.

Meanwhile, it has been three days since the tragic shooting in Oregon and there has not been a single call by any All Lives Matter leader for nationwide protests, which demand an end to the violence. No one is bum-rushing Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump’s campaign to demand they pay attention to mass shootings or make all lives a priority. There are no ALM activists holding sit-ins in the corridors of power, demanding their elected leaders enact new anti-violence laws. There are no rallies outside of gun stores or the NRA headquarters demanding that they be held accountable for their parts in this tragedy.

Basically. all of those who claim they are about all lives mattering have no demands, which would give any impression that violent death – regardless of the color of the person who died – is worthy of doing something about.

There is a bit of truth that exists at the core of the All Lives Matter argument: what is needed in society is a cultural shift, which values and respects the lives of all people equally. But if folks who champion the All Lives Matter want to see that cultural shift happen, then they need to be out here in these streets, putting themselves on the frontline and taking a stand for “never again.”

Until that happens, All Lives Matter will continue to sound like nothing but hollow rhetoric.

“Thoughts & Prayers Are Not Enough” Pres. Obama Delivers Stern Remarks On Need For Gun Control Laws After Oregon Shooting

October 2nd, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
Share to Twitter Email This

Yesterday, when I heard the news that there was yet another mass shooting, this time at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, I sighed. I asked myself if I knew anyone in Oregon and then checked to see if that person was ok.

At the time, they were reporting that there were 10-15 deaths and I took a brief moment to think about the loss of 10-15 lives. And then I went on about my day. Mass shootings are all too commonplace in America and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t desensitized to people being killed as they’re trying to go about their everyday lives.

And that’s sad.

Yesterday evening, as the details of the shooting and facts about the shooter, who was killed, continued to trickle in, President Obama held a press conference discussing the shooting and how it evidences the need for stricter, more effective gun control laws.

He was not playing around with this speech. Watching him speak so emphatically, President Obama reminded me of the type of  lecture your parents would give, in the middle of the night, when you just couldn’t seem to do the right thing. He looked angry and yet exhausted.

Check out the most poignant words from his speech below and watch the full video below.

…America will wrap everyone whose grieving with our prayers and our love. But as I said, just a few months ago and I said a few months before that, and I said, ‘Each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough.’ It’s not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted some place else in America, next week or a couple months from now.

We don’t yet know why this individual did what he did. And it’s fair to say that anybody who does this has a sickness in their minds, regardless of what they think their motivations may be. But we are not the only country on earth that has people with mental illnesses or want to do harm to other people. We are the only advanced country on earth that sees these kind of mass shootings every few months.

You know earlier this year, I answered a question in an interview by saying ‘The United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient, common sense gun safety laws even in the face of repeated mass killings.’ And later that day there was a mass shooting in a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. That day.

Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine, the conversation in the aftermath of it. We’ve become numb to this. We talked about this after Columbine, and Blacksburg, after Tucson, after Newton, after Aurora, after Charleston. It cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun.

Later in the speech he spoke about the opposition:

Somebody, somewhere will comment and say Obama politicized this issue. Well, this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic.

I would ask news organizations, because I won’t put these facts forward, to tally up the number of Americans who have been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the number of Americans who’ve been killed by gun violence and post those side by side on your news reports.

We spend over a trillion dollars and pass countless laws and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil and rightfully so. And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?

This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen, every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.

I hope and pray that I don’t have to come out again during my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances. But based on my experience as president, I can’t guarantee that. And that’s terrible to say… and it can change.

May God bless the memories of those who were killed today. May He bring comfort to their families and courage to the injured as they fight their way back. And may He give us the strength to come together and find the courage to change. Thank you.


Boston Appoints First “Chief Resilience Officer” To Help The Poor Handle Race-Based Trauma

August 11th, 2015 - By Chelcee Johns
Share to Twitter Email This


Atyia Martin,

Last night, I sat scrolling through Instagram viewing accounts of those on the ground in Ferguson. There was a 12-year-old girl in handcuffs surrounded by police, a man grabbed from the sidewalk, pepper sprayed and laid on the ground in cuffs, and many more images that took me back to Ferguson a year prior or the incidents I’ve experienced personally with the NYPD at protests. These racial occurrences are not just news items, they have a way of moving into your core and can even disrupt one’s health due to stress.

Boston’s newly appointed and first- ever “chief resilience officer,” Dr. Atyia Martin, knows this first-hand as she works to fight stress in poor neighborhoods that often contain a disproportionate amount of African Americans. The new position was created by the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program. A program that helps cities adapt to economic, physical and social challenges faced.

Martin, 34, has spent the last four years leading the Boston Public Health Commission’s Office of Public Health Preparedness, but her new role will allow her to get even more hands-on with what she feels these communities are battling the most.

“The people who suffer the most after emergencies are disproportionally those who are considered the most vulnerable — people who are low-income, people with disabilities, the elderly, children,” Martin told The Huffington Post. “Then we have the undercurrent of race.”

Martin is using her new role to deal with the history of racism embedded into Boston and the ways in which it manifests itself today. The neighborhoods of Boston are still highly segregated. Roxbury is comprised of 85.4 percent Blacks and Latinos, while 90 percent of residents in a more wealthy neighborhood, Beacon Hill, are white.

However, one unfortunate incident that knew no color was the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013. Martin played a critical role in providing psychological and physical support for those who faced trauma. It is this same trauma we often see in poor, minority communities.

“The marathon bombing response was very well-coordinated,” Martin told The Huffington Post. “Juxtaposed with that, over 50 shootings that happened in the month after the bombing. You don’t have the same level of coordination and attention focused on people who suffer under chronic community issues like violence.”

But Martin believes creating discourse is the first step to moving forward.

“You have the best discussions when you have a nice mixture of people in the room across all races because it helps people see different perspectives,” Martin said. “It’s a challenge we’ll be able to overcome, but a challenge nonetheless.”

In a press release, Mayor Marty Walsh stated Martin’s new position will aid in Boston’s ability to “withstand and bounce back from the ‘shocks’ — catastrophic events like floods, infrastructure failure and acts of terrorism — and ‘stresses’ — slow-moving disasters like persistent racial and economic inequality, lack of affordable housing and unemployment.”

Martin’s new position could be what many other cities are in need of to combat the realities and affects of the racial history ingrained into our communities. Many studies have been done to reveal the realities of post traumatic stress disorder due to racial events, which is often referred to as “race-based trauma.”

Last month, NPR spoke with many psychologists for “Coping While Black: A Season Of Traumatic News Takes A Psychological Toll” and realized individuals who take on a level of stress due to racism often have changes in mood, appetite and become worrisome about other unrelated events, sometimes making it hard for them to be as productive.

“It’s not the incident that causes stress, distress or trauma; it’s the helplessness in the face of the incident,” psychologist Carl Bell told NPR.

Martin’s new position may not solve the issue or eradicate the racial incidents occurring, but her work may be an example of the types of things leaders in more poor and racially segregated communities should be doing as a service to its residents. What do you think?


This Is What Black Mothers Are Doing To Stop Senseless Violence In Chicago

July 31st, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
Share to Twitter Email This

The next time one of your ignorant Facebook friends asks what are Black people doing about “Black on Black crime,” you can tell them about the “Army of Moms” on the South side of Chicago.

This…vintage news somehow slipped under our radar about a month ago, but we felt it was an important and inspirational story that needed to be told.

According to, these concerned women, mothers, started patrolling their neighborhoods in late June after the death of Lucille Barnes. The group of volunteers calls themselves Mothers Against Senseless Killings. The women wore pink shirts, sat in folding chairs and leaned on mailboxes  hoping to prevent retaliation.

According to police Barnes, 34, was killed after a man walked by her and two other women and opened fire.

Tamar Manasseh, Englewood resident and founder of Mothers Against Senseless Killings, said “People are very emotional about it, and we don’t know what’s going to happen. If people say there will be violence, there likely will be violence, and you go where you are called.”

Manasseh organized the event for the first time after this particular shooting, hoping that people would be dissuaded from shooting if they were being watched by a mother figure, 15 mother figures, to be exact.

Manasseh said, “If you’re trying to shoot someone and we’re out here, you’re not getting off the block.”

The group plans to be on that corner everyday, for four hours, from now until Labor Day.

If and when another shooting happens, the mothers will move to make sure the neighborhood knows the mothers are watching.

The group, who is working without the help of police, brought grills and hot dogs to show that the message is coming from community members rather than law enforcement.

Manasseh said, “This is about reconnecting with children that haven’t been mothered that much. Take away the guns, and they’re just kids.”

Manasseh and others in her community believe that parents had relinquished authority to their teenaged children and the violence in Southside is a result of that.

The goal now is to change the mindset and not just simply take the guns away.

So far, it’s worked. according to another piece in DNAinfo, five weeks after Barnes’ murder there have been no shootings on the block or on the 7500 block of South Harvard where the patrols are set up.

Still, Manasseh says that the group needs more volunteers.

Right now there are about 15 adult volunteers who have pledged to be out every day until Labor Day. It’s the same number of people they had initially after the June shooting.

She laments the brevity of people’s attention spans.

“It’s hard to keep their interests between tragedies.”

One community leader cited fear as the reason Manasseh hasn’t seen more participation.

“It’s not easy. Our people are afraid so they don’t participate.”

Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case with the teens from the neighborhood. At least 24 teenagers have taken an interest in keeping their community safe and have started participating in the patrols.

The ultimate goal is to get people on other blocks to follow Manasseh’s example and start their own patrols in their own neighborhoods. Manasseh plans to hold an orientation in the future to teach conflict resolution and strategic placement.

In an earlier interview, Manasseh said, “A mother’s love is selfless, annoying and always there. This is what mothers do best, get in the way.”

If you’re interested in helping Manasseh and her cause, you can learn more here.