By Evie Fowler
Artwork by Ella Benitone
Living in Memphis, it is hard to escape news of shootings and gun violence. Tatler brings you members of the SMS community on what they believe needs to be done to help combat this issue.
When I originally started researching for this article, I googled the phrase “Memphis shootings” expecting the top headlines to reflect the recent shooting in Frayser that killed twenty year-old Brandon Webber. Instead, information on that story was not even on the first five pages. My laptop screen was immediately flooded with phrases like “Monday shootings left 2 dead and three injured” and “mayor calls for stricter laws after more than 30 interstate shootings.”
If I am being honest, I was not as shocked as I wish I had been. Living in Memphis, we hear about shootings all the time. It is almost a part of daily life, which can make it easy to quickly move on after hearing about them. According to the Commercial Appeal, Memphis was ranked the third most dangerous city in the country by the FBI. That sounds horrible to say, but it is true; however, instead of clicking out of the news article or making a mental note for some thoughts and prayers, I want to shine a light on different thoughts on the prevalence of gun violence in Memphis from anonymous members of the SMS community.
The following are anonymous quotes from members of the St. Mary’s community detailing thoughts on the prevalence of gun violence and what they believe needs to be done:
“I think one issue that recent gun violence has brought to light is the desperate need for policy change. I think that universal background checks and bans on assault weapons need to be put into place. In order for this to happen, however, we need to be getting the attention of our representatives so that we can push towards reform. Specifically in Memphis, I think we need to look further into where gun violence is occurring and what is at the root of the problem rather than looking at it from surface level.”
“These recent events perpetuate the stereotype of Memphis being ‘dangerous.’ While these shootings may seem like they are worlds away from us, citizens of our own town are living in fear of being shot and killed. I am an advocate for gun control and believe that it should not be as easy as it currently is for unfit citizens to obtain weapons. Nonetheless, I think an effective way to greatly improve the issue would be to teach and practice effective methods of conflict resolution in schools starting at a young age. Additionally, addressing people's mental and emotional issues in a healthy way would drastically decrease the number of violent attacks and shootings both in and outside our city.”
“I believe that guns were created for protection, the army, hunting, and for first responders. Guns have also been used in sporting clay events such as trap, skeet, bunker trap, etc. However, guns have gotten into the wrong hands. I think that before buying a gun, there needs to be a lesson taught on gun safety and how to handle one. There should be many background tests done on people who want to buy guns.”
“There is no easy solution, but as students and teenagers, we can spread the word by bringing it up to our parents and other adults. We can spread the awareness to people who may think gun violence does not have an effect on them. Once more people understand just how dangerous guns make the everyday lives of many citizens in not only Memphis, but also the US … then maybe some more push for control can take place.”
“My mom forced me to watch the news to see … not only … what my community was doing to each other, but [also] what they were using to do so: guns. I have never been very fond of guns. They personally make me feel unsafe.”
I love my city. I just wish that more was being done to prevent gun violence in the otherwise vibrant and culture-filled city that we call our home. We as a community and the next generation of Memphians can be the voice of change against this issue.
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