Over the Thanksgiving weekend while most of us were enjoying a turkey dinner with family, six Minnesotans were shot and killed in domestic shootings in Minneapolis.
The scene is all too familiar. A woman trying or having succeeded in leaving a relationship angers her partner/spouse who has a gun at the ready to “take care of matters.”
Raven Grant, 27, was shot to death by her ex-partner in front of her toddler on Thanksgiving night.
On Sunday, while the two young boys were playing in the snow, their father, estranged from his wife, Kjersten Ellingson Schladetzky, 39, shot his sons to death, went inside, and shot his wife and then himself.
From a press release from Protect Minnesota on Dec. 2: “According to Gun Violence Archive, there have been 384 non-suicide shooting incidents in our state to date, resulting in 123 total deaths and 218 total injuries. Since suicides account for about 80% of Minnesota gun deaths, we can assume that nearly 500 additional Minnesotans have died by gun suicide in 2019, raising the number of total gun fatalities this year to over 600. That would be a 93% increase in annual gun deaths in Minnesota since the year 2000.”
The Republican-led Minnesota Senate refused to hear the Background Check and Extreme Risk Protection Order Bills passed in the House last session. The Republican-led U.S. Senate has refused to take up the background-check bill passed by the House last February. Since February, more than 27,000 Americans have died from gunshot injuries. In addition, Republicans have refused to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act because the NRA doesn’t like some of its provisions.
As a reminder to our elected officials, 90% of Americans and Minnesotans in recent polls indicated they want them to act to keep us safe from devastating gun violence. Have they acted? No.
We are better than this, aren’t we? If you agree we are, please raise your voices and tell Minnesota’s U.S. senators and state senators to do something about it. You can also let U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber know you are not happy that he voted against the background-check bill and demand that he vote in favor of life-saving bills that come before him.
Finally, you can attend a community gathering at First Lutheran Church at noon on Friday, Dec. 13, to reflect and act. There will be community speakers, a bell ringing, and a candle lighting for victims and for action.
Joan A. Peterson of Duluth is a former member of the board of trustees for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, is co-president of the Northland Brady/Protect Minnesota chapter, is regional chairwoman of the Protect Minnesota Board, and is a board member for the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs/the Duluth Model.