Tuesday, October 16 , 2018, 2:59 pm | Fair 79º

 
 
 

Kids Speaking Up: Casualties of the Recession

Mass shootings and other gun violence may have their roots in a moribund economy

Unemployment and insolvency seem to be present everywhere. As of last month, 8.5 percent of our workforce is jobless, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen more than 40 percent, and the Gross Domestic Product (our economic output) has dived to levels not seen since the Great Depression. The ordinary American is inundated with statistics and figures that have driven our consumer confidence to the lowest levels in recorded history. But amid of all these mind-boggling data, there are also morbid numbers of human casualties that may also have taken their roots in the recession.

Article Image
Anjian Wu

During the Great Depression, myths of stress and frustration described people “hurling themselves from windows” and “pedestrians picked their way delicately between the bodies of fallen financiers.” The reality of suicides and killings, however, could not be more pronounced when considering that a total of 57 deaths have occurred over the past month. From Samson, Ala., to Graham, Wash., instances of shootings and rampages share a common characteristic, the troubled unemployed worker.

Perhaps even more shocking is the temperament of the shooters themselves. Their trigger-happy attitude often take four to 13 other innocent people with them. In Binghamton, N.Y., a gunman entered an immigrant center and killed 13 people before killing himself. Jiverly Wong, the identified killer, was a 41-year-old Vietnamese immigrant and evidently upset about losing his job and about people degrading him for his limited English. In Oakland, Lovelle Mixon, 26, was stopped by police and fatally shot two police officers and killed two more in a gunfight in which he was also killed. Mixon’s relatives explained that he had been aggravated about not finding work and dreaded the idea of returning to jail.

The list of these heart-breaking accounts goes on and on, endlessly. As citizens of a country struggling with its prevalent Gun Culture, we will never truly be shielded from reckless and selfish killings. Just three years ago, we, as Santa Barbara residents, saw our own tragedy when Jennifer San Marco shot and killed seven people, including six postal workers, before committing suicide, reminding all of us that even the most brutal murders we watch on the news can hit home in a relatively peaceful town such as our own. It makes us question how safe we truly are, especially when we consider there have been more deaths from domestic shootings last month than from U.S. casualties in Iraq since President Obama’s inauguration. Our country itself may be turning into its own battleground.

Although we individually may not have the capability of creating jobs or stimulating the economy, we can still be attentive, diligent and wary in the community. The effects of gun violence often extend much further than the families of the suspect, but also to the many innocent victims and their communities. It is a brutal world out there, and we need to protect our most valuable asset, our loved ones.

Dos Pueblos High junior Anjian Wu is a member of Kids Speaking Up, a local group working to educate youth on social, national and political issues and inspire them to write.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >