LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: June 2 to 4 are national gun violence awareness days


To the editor:

The first time in my life that I was touched by gun violence was in 1977.

A young couple in Mansfield, Pa., just starting out in life, were my friends and neighbors. 

The husband, who was 26 years old, was a state police officer. He was called to a home for a domestic violence issue.

He knocked on the door and when it was opened, he was shot and killed instantly. He died in the line of duty.

His young wife — my friend — was grief stricken.

I remember her clutching her small dog and asking over and over again, “Why?” 

Nobody had answers for that. It was a tragedy.

Many years have passed but more recently I experienced another more deeply personal instance of gun violence when a family member was a victim of armed robbery.

She is very fortunate that she survived, but the trauma that these events leave on those most affected is heart-wrenching.

It is post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD  — you just can’t go on as though nothing happened, because it is there when you least expect it. 

The  trauma comes rushing back. It’s always there.

I bring this up because June 2 to 4 are days set aside to wear orange in honor of victims of gun violence.

As recent history will show you, there is more than enough gun violence.

I am asking you to wear orange and I am asking that you encourage everyone in your community to do the same.

Contact your town council and ask that they declare June 2 to 4 as gun violence awareness days and to wear orange.

Here are some reasons why — many you have heard before:

Firearms are the leading cause of death for children and teens in America.

Access to a gun triples the risk of death by suicide.

In all, 4.6 million children in the U.S. live in homes with guns that are both loaded and unlocked.

Please join us in honoring victims and encouraging others to support them.

You can visit wearorange.org for more information.

Paula Nees


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