February 24, 2023 12:00pm

Mass Shootings And Guns

In a special Power Poll, we focus on solutions to stem the tide of gun violence in America.

Photo of Ken Garfield
Charlotte, NC Correspondent
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When it comes to guns and violence, perhaps the only thing we agree on is that it breaks our hearts. We wake up. We rouse our children from bed. As we prepare for the day, in the back of our mind we wonder if we will return home in one piece. So far in 2023 (through Feb. 20), 80 mass shootings have rocked our nation. Schools, houses of worship, businesses, nightclubs, even in homes. Are we safe anywhere from someone with a gun and bad intentions?

Welcome to Power Poll No. 9. Whatever we believe about gun registration, assault weapons, mental health, arming teachers and other issues up for debate, can we at least talk about it civilly? Isn’t that where change begins?

Question No. 1.

The best result from this entire poll is that a vast majority has not surrendered hope. Only five percent answered, “I’ve resigned myself to believe there is nothing we can do about them.” It would be easy to give up. A mass shooting occurs. Loved ones and some politicians cry out for action. Other politicians and gun control foes say it’s not the weapon’s fault, it’s the person holding it. Despite the usual post-shooting response, we the people, according to Power Poll, still embrace the cause of doing something.

Question No. 2.

This was not meant to be a practical solution, but rather to gauge the depth of your rage and sorrow. What does it say that 34 percent would throw all the guns into the ocean? Perhaps it reflects the understanding that gun violence goes beyond mass shootings by the depraved and/or mentally ill. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year in the United States, 7,957 children and teens are shot. Of those, 2,893 are shot unintentionally and survive 1,839. Ninety-nine die. Mass shootings get headlines. The child down the street who is shot because an adult left a weapon unlocked, not so much.

Question No. 3.

Your wide-ranging answers illustrate the complexity of the crisis. Banning all assault weapons was rated most important. But if we take nothing else from the Power Poll, take this: We know the problem will require more than one solution.

Bea Cote, an activist working to curb family violence, shared this with Power Poll: “We need to address misogyny and domestic violence (violence against women), especially in young men. Almost all mass shooters have a history of this along with anger and resentment and access to guns. They’re not all mentally ill. As a therapist, I cannot predict this kind of behavior other than to recommend that they not have access to guns.”

About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.

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