Four Shootings in April Highlight Everyday Danger of Guns

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Need to Know from SafeWise
  • In April, eight people were shot in less than a week across the U.S.
  • The eight people were targeted for seemingly harmless and random reasons: going to the wrong address, opening the wrong car door, ringing the wrong doorbell, and entering a neighbor’s yard for a basketball.
  • One person is dead, and two remain hospitalized due to the shootings.
  • The shootings have reignited debate over gun control in the U.S. and stand your ground laws.

In less than a week, eight people across four states in the U.S. were shot for honest mistakes, like going to the wrong address or car or even ringing the wrong doorbell. 

These ordinarily harmless events have become deadly with the rise of gun ownership and relaxed gun laws in the U.S.

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While the U.S. has experienced a record number of mass shootings this year, according to data from the Associated Press, the shootings this past week are disturbing for the seeming mundanity of their circumstances.

In three of the four instances this week, a homeowner had a gun and used it on someone who approached or was on their property. SafeWise found that more guns lead to more gun violence.

Four shootings in six days of April

In Kansas City, 16-year-old Ralph Yarl was going to pick up his siblings. He rang the doorbell and was shot twice with a revolver by the male owner of the home. Yarl had gone to the wrong door and was shot. (The man who shot Yarl has been arrested by police, according to NBC News.) 

Two days later, in upstate New York, a car with four friends pulled into a driveway while looking for a friend’s house. As they were backing up out of the driveway, the male owner of the home fired two shots from his front porch, killing 20-year-old Kaylin Gillis. “A case like this is absolutely senseless,” Washington County Sheriff Jeffrey Murphy said.

Three days later, on April 18, five more people were shot—two in Texas and three in North Carolina. 

In Texas, four cheerleaders were heading home from practice. According to NBC News, they stopped at a grocery store, and one accidentally tried to get into the wrong car. After realizing the mistake, the friends got into their vehicle and left, but the man who owned the other car started shooting. One cheerleader, Payton Washington, 18 years old, was critically injured in the shooting.

In North Carolina, 6-year-old Kinsley White and her parents were shot and wounded by a neighbor when they went to retrieve a basketball in his yard, according to the Associated Press. (Kinsley’s father was still in the hospital as of Thursday.) The neighbor has yelled at children before, but this time came out with a gun and began shooting at kids and parents. The neighbor was arrested in Florida two days later.

Gun control in the U.S.

Each of these instances in the past week has occurred as individuals go about the seemingly mundane events of their day, making everyday citizens wonder if their routines are safe.

“The truth is that we are living in a nation that is increasingly shooting first and asking questions later. I think people are outraged and sickened by it,” John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown for Gun Safety, told NBC News

In the U.S., 38 states have “stand your ground” or “no duty to retreat laws,” which allow individuals to use deadly force to defend themselves against violent crimes in public. The law also applies to homeowners defending themselves if they feel their home is under attack. However, the stand your ground laws manipulate self-defense by allowing people to use lethal force even if they could retreat safely without harming anyone. Stand your ground laws have caused an uptick in unnecessary deaths from Trayvon Martin to Kaylin Gillis.

While the U.S. has experienced a record number of mass shootings this year, the shootings this past week are disturbing for the seeming mundanity of their circumstances.

“We are becoming a heavily armed nation so fearful and angry and hair-trigger anxious that gun murders are now just the way in which we work out our frustrations,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn) said on the Senate floor on Wednesday. “This is a dystopia, and I’m here to tell you that it’s a dystopia that we’ve chosen for ourselves.”

While gun control is a significant issue, there are other things that we can do to reduce the anxiety, fearfulness, and rage that can lead to these shootings. Every week there seems to be a new instance of gun violence with no plan for curbing the death and destruction. Nearly 1 in 2 Americans are concerned about gun violence every day, according to a recent SafeWise report.

“America has always been a more violent place,” Sen. Murphy said Wednesday. That’s true, but the degree of that violence it’s always been up to us. We’ve always had dials that we can turn. We should realize this, and we should do something about it.”

Alex Kerai
Written by
Alex Kerai
Alex began writing for student newspapers and has managed to turn that into a career. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he wrote about small businesses for Biz2Credit and Business.org. Before that, he spent time in communications for higher education institutions, created marketing materials for nonprofits, and worked for entertainment companies in Los Angeles. Today, he reports on emerging consumer trends and his work can be seen on The Penny Hoarder, SafeWise, Business.org, Reviews.org, Move.org, WhistleOut.com, CableTV.com, HighSpeedInternet.com, and SatelliteInternet.com. When he's not writing, Alex watches too much TV, plays guitar, reads and writes fiction, and goes on nature walks.

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