Gun Violence in America
Last Friday I received a call at 7:50am from my 20-year-old daughter-which was odd because she was suppose to be working. I had just awoken only 10 minutes prior to get ready for my work day and just got out of the shower. My daughter, a current college student, works the before & after school care program at the elementary schools in our town between her own classes. On this particular day she was sent to a different school then usual and the kids had a two-hour delay so it was already not a typical day for her. She was whispering very frantically to me that a cop came to the door and told the staff to activate “shelter in place” and wanted me to find out why for her- then she said “I love you” and hung up. Shelter-in-place means selecting a small, interior room, with no or few windows, and taking refuge there.
My heart dropped as my head spun, I had no idea what was going on. As I threw clothes on, I went to social media to post and read if anyone heard anything, there was nothing. I called friends who had children in the same school to see if they were alerted-but no, they were not. They were home because of the delay and also had no idea what was going on. I couldn’t think straight, I had no idea what to do. I grabbed my handbag and jumped in the car and headed for the school. My phone rings, it’s my daughter again whispering asking if I found out anything. She said the cops made her take the 13 children she had in her care into a small room, lay on the ground and hide with the lights out. The children were becoming frightened with the real police activity; they knew this was not a drill. She said she was told there was a man with a gun on the loose in the school’s neighborhood from a robbery in a neighboring town. She said she was okay and doing her best to keep the children quiet and from being scared. We both said “I love you” and she hung up.
My heart now was in my throat. I pulled over my car and looked on social media and rumors were swirling but were the same as she just told me about a man with a gun in the neighborhood. Friends from the area were sending me pictures and videos of 30+ cop cars on their street, there was so much police activity. As I then continued to drive to the school, I thought “what am I doing?” there wasn’t anything I could actually do to help her or the children but I needed to see for myself. I figured if I saw a man with a gun running the best I could do is hit him with my car, that would make him at least stop running towards anyone. Yes, I know it was a very dumb thought but going through my head was the countless innocent lives lost in this country from gun violence. Not my town, not my kid- I would do anything for it not to occur.
The incident went on (what felt like an eternity) but was less than an hour. Thank God we have a wonderful Police force and great relationships with neighboring township police and they were able to apprehend the man and take him into custody without any incident. Luckily the elementary schools had a two-hour delay and there were not a lot of children in the school or the area at the time. I didn’t even want to start thinking about the “what ifs”.
I went to the school and saw my daughter, hugged and kissed her (my hero) and she was fine, the kids were fine and school and the work day continued with no issues. I went back and sat in my car and burst into tears. This violent crazy behavior has almost become routine. With so many violent incidents taking place on a daily basis around the country, it’s no wonder school employees and students are trained in school lock-down procedures, they have to be! What is going on in America? Why so much gun violence? How can we help change this? We need to talk about it.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the greatest predictor of violence isn’t religion, occupation or race. It’s gender. In the United States, 98% of those who commit mass shootings are male; 98% of the officers who have shot and killed civilians are male; 90% of those who commit homicide by any means are male; and 80% of those arrested for all violent crimes — murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault — are male. The reality is that we don’t know exactly why men are exponentially more prone to violence. If we are going to reduce mass shootings, officer-involved killings and the culture of violence in America, however, we need to talk about it.
Whatever your opinion is about gun rights, it’s hard to deny that the frequency of gun violence in America. The US has more civilian guns than literally any other country on Earth, with an estimated 270 million in circulation. There are many ways in which America is exceptional, this is NOT one to be proud of.
Let’s do our part to end gun violence through research, advocacy and community empowerment. Help support Girl Talk Marlton make our communities safer and healthier by fighting to end gun violence in America.
From the Evesham Police Department in reference to the above Incident:
At approximately 8:00 am this morning, Evesham Police assisted Mt. Laurel and Medford officers as they attempted to stop a vehicle that was involved in a crime with a handgun in Mt. Laurel. The suspect vehicle eventually crashed on Carlton Avenue and three subjects were taken into custody as they attempted to flee the stop on foot. DeMasi elementary/middle school was placed into a “shelter in place” as the event unfolded. The assigned SRO at DeMasi immediately secured the school as the surrounding officers apprehended the suspects involved in the crime.
This is another example of the importance of our agency’s school resource officer program as we immediately protected the school staff and students from a potential dangerous incident. The school resource officers and their assigned school staff prepare for these types of incidents on a daily basis.
Any witnesses to this incident should call (856) 983-1111 with any information.
Thank you again to our wonderful Evesham (and neighboring) Police Department.