Victims of gun violence divided on gun control measures
7:58 PM, Dec 21, 2012
11:22 PM, Dec 21, 2012
Hours after the National Rifle Association suggested armed guards be stationed at every school in the United States in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, a woman who has tirelessly campaigned to end gun violence in South Florida warned of the danger of inaction.
Angela Williams said she had lost ten relatives to gun violence, including Torrey Manuel, her 29-year-old nephew, who was shot and killed in Riviera Beach in 2003.
"I know firsthand losing a child just changes your life forever," she told WPTV NewsChannel 5. "He was the second person to get murdered on New Year's Day. Torrey was shot seven times with an AK-47. That gun was so powerful it broke his leg in half."
Williams created Mothers Against Murderers Association, or MAMA, after Manuel's death.
"A child can be standing on the corner and somebody is coming by and using that gun and try to shoot at someone else," she said. "Why do we need guns like that?"
As calls for action continued to grow, so have calls to ban some assault weapons and limit the firepower of others.
And yet, for all those touched by gun violence, the lead therapist at the Palm Beach County Victim Services Division said there was a strong counterpoint.
"We are struggling with, you know, both sides of that debate," Randee Kogan said.
Some clients, she said,couldn't understand how someone could buy a gun on the streets or in a pawn shop.
Others, she said, wondered if they could have saved a loved one if they owned a gun.
"They say,"if I only. If I only had my own gun then I could have saved her or him," she said.
Some members of Congress and mental health professionals said more than just some measure of gun control needed to be a part of the national conversation.
Earlier this week, President Obama announced the creation of a gun violence task force.