On June 28, 2018, a man wielding a shotgun blasted his way into the offices of the Capital Gazette community newspaper in Annapolis. He murdered five staff members, including my brother-in-law, John McNamara. Not only did my young daughters lose a beloved uncle that day, but they must also now navigate a world where the threat of bloodshed feels close – almost inevitable.
They know too well that “it couldn’t happen here” is an empty phrase. February 1-8 marks the second annual National Gun Violence Survivors Week, which aims to draw attention to the stories of gun violence survivors who live with the impact of gun violence every day of the year.
The trauma and harm from gun violence spread far as 58% of American adults or someone they care for have personally experienced gun violence in their lifetimes, and gun violence is the second leading cause of death for children and teens in America.
Gun violence in any form can leave a lasting impact — whether someone has witnessed an act of gun violence, been threatened or wounded with a gun, or had someone they cared for injured or killed with a gun. If death from gun violence can happen to my family, it can happen to anyone’s.
During this week, and beyond, I hope more people will recognize their own personal connection to this life-and-death issue and will use the power of their voices to help end gun violence in our country.
Jan Donohoe McNamara
Volunteer, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America