NEWTOWN, Conn. – Over the past weekend, a devastating series of mass shootings took place across nine states – Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Ohio, Utah, New York, and South Carolina. According to the Gun Violence Archive, a total of 476 mass shootings – where four or more people are killed or injured, not including the shooter – have been recorded in 2023.
The attack in Jacksonville, Florida is the latest example of the hate-fueled shootings that have disproportionately targeted Black, indigenous, and people of color communities. Other recent racist shootings include the supermarket attack in Buffalo, New York last year, the Atlanta, Georgia spa attack on women of Asian descent in 2021, and the 2015 assault on a historically Black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
In response, Mark Barden, co-founder and CEO of the Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund and father of Daniel who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, issued the following statement:
“As I reflect today, my heart is heavy, standing in solidarity with the families of those innocent lives taken by these tragic events, sharing in their anger and outrage. The trauma caused by these incidents is deep and irreparable, and nothing can undo its impact.
“The heinous hate crime against the Black community in Jacksonville demands not only national outcry, but also decisive action. Gun violence disproportionately impacts Black, indigenous, and people of color communities in the U.S. and we need urgent action from our leaders to confront this epidemic with the same fervor as any public health crisis. This means implementing policies that uplift communities, while also addressing the underlying causes and barriers that contribute to ongoing gun violence.”
According to the FBI, the nation has seen more hate crimes in recent years than in the past decade. And with millions more guns in U.S. homes than ever before, meaningful steps must be taken.
In response, Nicole Hockley, co-founder and CEO of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, issued the following statement:
“Our hearts ache for the parents, children, and communities who are mourning loved ones taken by the shootings this weekend. Yet another weekend has been consumed by sorrow and frustration, as we track the escalating gun violence incidents across the nation.
“These mass shootings have become a horrific part of our daily existence, and we can no longer feel safe anywhere we go. We’re becoming increasingly numb to these tragic occurrences, seemingly desensitized to the rising toll they take on human lives. Increasing our frustration is the undeniable truth that we possess the tools to curb these mass shootings, yet they persist unchecked.
“Research leaves no doubt that we can prevent gun violence by recognizing warning signs and taking immediate action. Making direct threats and expressing persistent thoughts of harming themselves or someone else, like the Jacksonville shooter’s manifestos – as well as suddenly withdrawing from friends, family and activities; excessive irritability, lack of patience, or becoming angry quickly; experiencing chronic loneliness or social isolation – are all potential indicators for crisis and should be taken seriously and reported immediately. By knowing the warning signs, looking out for each other and being willing to get help, we can effectively prevent the next tragedy from happening.”
Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) envisions a future where all children are free from school shootings and other acts of violence. As a national nonprofit organization, SHP’s mission is to educate and empower youth and adults to prevent violence in schools, homes, and communities. Creators of the life-saving, evidence-informed “Know the Signs” prevention programs, SHP teaches the warning signs of someone who may be in crisis, socially isolated, or at-risk of hurting themselves or others and how to get help. SHP also advances school safety, youth mental health, and responsible gun ownership at the state and federal levels through nonpartisan policy and partnerships. SHP is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646-761-5579