News / USA

    Gun Violence Inflicts Emotional Toll on Victims' Families

    Gun Violence Inflicts Emotional Toll on Victims' Familiesi
    X
    March 30, 2013 12:59 AM
    As advocates and politicians on both sides wrangle over whether or not to tighten gun control measures in the U.S., VOA met with the families of shooting victims to capture the emotional cost of gun violence in America. Mana Rabiee reports.
    Gun Violence Inflicts Emotional Toll on Victims' Families
    Mana Rabiee
    The shooting deaths of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut, in December ignited a heated debate in the U.S. Congress over reviewing the nation’s gun laws. As advocates and politicians on both sides wrangle over whether or not to tighten gun control measures in the U.S., families of shooting victims speak about the emotional cost of gun violence in America.

    Oliver Smith’s son was a police officer, shot execution style by three men during a robbery.

    He’s meeting with the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center to write his victim's impact statement for one of the men’s appeals.

    The walls in this room are a testament to victims of past crimes, including Oliver Smith, Jr.

    Young and old, they are a handful of the 30,000 people who die from gun violence in the United States every year.

    Smith said that for surviving families of gun violence, there is just no such thing as “closure.”

    “How do I put ‘closure’ on my son? The best thing we can hope for is how to get through this, not over it. The three men, they’re in jail, but we’re incarcerated right along with them,” he said.

    Russell Butler, who heads the center, said gun violence affects families on a material level because a family may lose its sole bread winner, or face legal bills.

    But the biggest impact to their lives, he said, is the emotional one.

    “I think it’s the depression. I think it’s the mental health issues. Normally, children bury their parents. So in a case like Oliver, you have a parent burying a child and not for some disease, but for being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Butler.

    Nadyne Jeffries’ 16-year-old daughter, Brishel, also was in the wrong place at the wrong time in 2010.

    She was killed with an AK-47 assault rifle in a gang-related shooting in Washington that left three people dead and nine injured.

    “She was such a pretty child,” she said.

    Jeffries bristles at what she said is lack of action on gun control.

    “I just feel like the government has ignored so much that, had things been done differently years ago, that could have saved Brishel and other victims. It could have saved the children at Newtown, it could have saved people you don’t even hear stories about,” said Jeffries.
     
    “That’s my baby boy. Oliver Wendell Smith Junior,” said Smith pointing to a photo of his son on the wall.

    Smith now helps other parents cope with the loss of their children. He grieves every time there’s another shooting. But he focuses on the here-and-now, and keeps his son’s memories alive for his grandson.
     
    “I have a lot of things saved for him. He’s 21 years old now. And when he’s ready I’ll sit down and I’ll talk about the career - the short career - that his father had and the man that his father is.”
     
    Beyond the emotional toll, there is a material price of gun violence in America.

    A report last year from Johns Hopkins University said the cost in terms of lost productivity and medical expenses, alone, was nearly $32 billion a year.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.