America’s gun violence is continuing. This weekend, in the early Saturday morning hours “inside and outside” a crowded bar in the Lancaster, South Carolina, area, a so far not publicly identified or apprehended shooter (or shooters) opened fire and killed two people and wounded at least eight. As of early Saturday afternoon, some twelve hours or so and counting following the incident, police seemed to believe that the incident followed “beef” between a suspected shooter and one of the victims.
The shooting apparently unfolded at about 2:45 A.M. local time. The locale is right by the state’s border with North Carolina; it’s about forty miles south of Charlotte, North Carolina. Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile shared early Saturday:
‘This was a violent incident of huge magnitude that was witnessed by lots of people. Two people are dead, and many more are seriously injured. The shooter or shooters are out there. We need to talk with everybody who was at the club… and I encourage those witnesses to contact us immediately.’
Local coroner Karla Deese insisted:
‘This event is very tragic and will affect all involved, for years to come. The sheer magnitude of injury is like none I have seen in my 14 years with the Coroner’s Office.’
Four of those who were wounded were apparently left with “noncritical injuries,” while the other four were “airlifted to medical facilities for treatment,” according to local sheriff’s office spokesman Doug Barfield, who added that “many people were in the bar when the shooting happened,” in the description of CNN.
The incident is an example of the kind of violence that plagues American cities just below the level of the incidents that spark some of the most national and even international attention. According to the Gun Violence Archive, since January 1 of this year a full 10,809 people and counting have been killed by gun violence, not including suicides. A full 504 children 11 years old or younger have been injured or killed, and 2,245 teens from the ages of 12 to 17 have also been injured or killed. The organization has also chronicled a full 306 mass shooting incidents, which works out to significantly more than one a day so far this year.
There have been numerous policy proposals to address these crises, like the legislation the Democratic majority House passed months ago mandating background checks for every gun purchase in the United States. The Republican majority Senate has refused to act on this.
In the wake of the South Carolina incident, gun safety advocate Fred Guttenberg — who lost his daughter in the 2018 Parkland, Florida mass shooting — posted the question on Twitter:
‘Gun violence happens in every community every day. @senatemajldr and @LindseyGrahamSC, I believe South Carolina is a conservative state and people are dying of gun violence here as well. Are you both ok knowing you are failing to do more to stop it?’
They didn’t answer.
Gun violence happens in every community every day. @senatemajldr and @LindseyGrahamSC, I believe South Carolina is a conservative state and people are dying of gun violence here as well. Are you both ok knowing you are failing to do more to stop it?https://t.co/4cg0s9opZu
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) September 21, 2019
While Republicans remain in power, even in only part of the federal government, there remains no clear path to comprehensive gun policy reform in the United States.