MURRELL COLUMN: Here we go again: Gun violence must be stopped

Published 9:02 pm Thursday, June 16, 2016

It was because of a love for God that I didn’t carry my phone into the church Sunday morning. That, of course, made me forget the reason my phone made it into the car: My lady friend may have needed directions to the church.

Sure enough, I missed the text at 10:39 a.m. Service started at 10:50.

I also missed the alerts that a horrific shooting took place in Orlando, Fla., overnight. No discussion of it at church.

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It wasn’t even until I took Latasha to lunch I found out the meat of the news, over the sight of shrimp and Jamaal Charles walking into the restaurant and all.

Immediately, I thought of Riverside, Calif. That was the site of the university whose men’s basketball team beat Lamar just days before a horrendous shooting occurred in nearby San Bernadino.

And I penned my thoughts about the shooting the following Friday.

There, of course, is the ongoing debate over gun control. I don’t doubt it would play a big part in the prevention of these senseless tragedies.

In fact, we need stronger gun control. The sad thing is, it took a filibuster into Thursday morning in the Senate to convince those on the opposite side to vote on potentially life-saving measures.

My stance was in December, and is still today, mental illness is not addressed enough in mass shootings like the ones in California and Florida, the states Walt Disney made the happiest on earth.

Well, I’m right in between the coasts in Texas, and I’m just miserable right now.

Let’s not forget singer Christina Grimmie was senselessly shot to death late last Friday in Orlando. The killer reportedly had a history of violence, and it goes beyond guns.

The more we think about gun control, regardless of where we stand, we have to remind ourselves guns don’t control themselves. We have to think why someone would even think about shooting anyone, let alone 49 innocent victims.

Details about the mental state of Omar Mateen, who was gunned down by police after killing that many in a nightbar more than 24 hours after Grimmie’s death in Orlando, have surfaced in the days since his attack, and nothing suggesting his motives make any sense.

His now-widow is believed to know about Mateen’s actual plans without warning authorities. She didn’t talk enough sense into Mateen to stop him, so why not speak out louder?

What really set Mateen off? Was it a hate for gays or did he just have a thing for terrorism? What really went through his mind?

Why must I continue to address violence and mental illness in a weekly sports column? Because I have love, respect and sensitivity for others, and I don’t think I stand alone.

The first time I addressed this, three people were gunned down during a live TV shot in Roanoke, Va., in August. At the time of my December column, shooting deaths had occurred at six college campuses across America, including Texas Southern University. (The day after the San Bernadino shooting, four were stabbed to death at the University of California, Merced, and police shot the suspect to death.)

Our country is getting too used to these acts of violence. Hence, breaking news is almost everyday news.

I warned in December against desensitization to violence because a moment of silence was not held at a basketball game I attended the day of the San Bernadino shooting.

Well, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers, two late night kings, addressed Orlando for their opening monologues, and Joey Logano poured his heart out to the victims after winning a 400-mile race in Michigan.

So, no, America isn’t desensitized. It’s our sensitivity to senselessness that keeps us vigilant.

I.C. Murrell can be reached at 721-2435 or at On Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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