On a quiet Sunday morning in November 2017, a gunman entered First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and opened fire into the unsuspecting congregation. The small church in the small town of less than 700 citizens lost 26 individuals that day. Half of the victims were children.
Fourteen-year-old Annabelle Renee Pomeroy was one of these victims. She was the adopted daughter of Pastor Frank Pomeroy and his wife, Sherri. Her father spoke of Annabelle as “one very beautiful, special child.” Annabelle was a typical teen, loved by all who knew her, attending church when she was suddenly and maliciously taken from the world. The loss of a loved one is hard to imagine.
Attacks like this raise lots of questions around gun-control and mental health. Would the situation have been different if the shooter, who had mental health issues and a violent criminal past, hadn’t been able to purchase the weapon he used? The Supreme Court has ruled that any person who has committed an act of domestic abuse/violence—even misdemeanor offenses—is banned from purchasing or owning guns. Who should be held accountable for this type of oversight? How can we prevent horrific events like this from happening in the future?
President Trump stated that this issue is “a mental health problem at the highest level,” but that this incident was not due to “a guns situation.” He also stated it was fortunate that “somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction. Otherwise it would’ve been—as bad as it was—it would’ve been much worse.”
Politicians, political advocates, and lobbyist groups are in a constant battle to determine what kind of gun-control measures, if any, need to be enforced in our country; many activists are fighting for better screening processes for those who show signs of mental health issues. However, is there a case for a few “bad apples” causing the country to have to restrict what some believe to be their Second Amendment right?
How does hearing news like this shooting affect you? Does your family or someone you know own a gun? Do you believe in the Constitutional right to bear arms? Do you think that there should be stricter limits or more relaxed regulations on purchasing, selling, owning, and using firearms? How do you cope when these tragedies happen, and how can you help others cope or heal?
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