The United States continues to deal with sky-high levels of gun violence — including an incident that unfolded recently as a family celebrated a child’s birthday down in the Houston, Texas, area. The Martinez family’s dog Zero repeatedly jumped on and bit the assailant in an effort to protect the victims and ended up shot three times and could not be saved. There were no human casualties from the incident, but multiple members of the targeted family were left severely injured to the point where they’re temporarily unable to work.
The incident began after Laura Martinez sought to confront the teenage attacker’s family because he’d stolen hundreds of dollars and valuables like jewelry from her son. She left a note at the eventual shooter’s home asking the parents to get in touch with her, but instead the son showed up in the Martinez family garage and refused to leave, pushing the victims into a physical confrontation and eventually pulling out his gun. Laura and two of her children were shot; one was wounded in the ankle and has been left relying on crutches while the other was wounded in the back and leg.
Similarly, the mother was hit in the leg and has shared:
‘I honestly believe that if Zero had not been jumping on him, he would’ve been able to get shots higher than our legs.’
As of Friday, authorities were seemingly “still searching for” the assailant Javian Castaneda for questioning, according to local media. In the meantime, the Martinez family has set up a GoFundMe page in an effort to cover their medical bills and lost work time, which as of Saturday afternoon had raised about $2,500.
Although there were no human casualties in the Martinez family’s incident, just in the past year or so, at least two dozen children and counting have lost their lives to gunfire in just the Houston area. As of late January, there were 23 such incidents stretching back to the beginning of 2018, including seven in which the shootings were accidental.
Just this year across the entire United States, a full 114 children 11 years old or younger have been killed or injured in gun violence incidents. They’re among some 3,053 people who’ve been killed and 5,303 who’ve been injured of any age across the entire country this year.
Gun violence is again on the world’s mind at present because of a recent terror attack targeting New Zealand Muslims that left 50 people dead. The white supremacist assailant used a variety of firearms in his attack — and in stunningly stark contrast with the customary response to similar incidents in the United States, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden’s government has unveiled a plan to ban military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles in response, in addition to the ammunition magazines that serve those weapons.
When a similar ban was instituted in Australia, the country’s mass shooting rate fell to zero while the rates of gun homicides and suicides fell by a significant percentage. Meanwhile, the United States has dealt with at least 62 mass shootings and counting already this year.
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