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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid