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

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurdish Leader: Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid