Mother Responds to Gun Violence

The following is excerpted from From Bullet to Bullhorn: Stories of Advocacy Activism and Hope, by Lois Schaffer, a compilation of stories by 18 people located in various states throughout the U.S.  These stories are indicative of human resilience, turning tragedies into advocacy, activism and the preservation of life and justice.

Mary Hennings, St. Louis, Missouri, speaks about how she survived gun violence. She was shot herself, and has lost two sons to gun violence.

I have a strong belief in God. Taking lives that God created and devastating families, some dying from broken hearts — what is it all for? I would like to know.

Knowing that God is real gives me strength to carry on. It’s through his Grace that I am surviving these tragedies. Losing a child is devastating. But to murder? It’s the worst feeling anyone can ever encounter. How can anyone hate so much as to take another person’s life?

I needed to do something to help myself, as well as others, to survive and to honor my sons’ memories.

Deciding to Act

One day, I went to a march against gun violence and met St. Louis Mothers in Charge. It was an event scheduled to take place at the Demetrius Johnson Center in St. Louis. Like me, they were all mothers who had been victims of gun violence. And they were a breath of fresh air.

They seem to have given me the motivation that I needed to help make a difference to attempt to STOP THE VIOLENCE. They have been a strong support system for me. Without it, I think I would be lost. If I keep losing people that I love and care about for, I don’t think my heart could continue to be so strong.

Gun violence puts a permanent void in people’s lives. We all need to speak up in order to stop the gun violence and other crimes against each other.

Getting Away with Murder

I feel the pain of other parents, relatives and friends who have to endure this never-ending grief.

I have lived in neighborhoods where guns are accessible.  People walk around with them, lives like mine have been turned upside down and gunmen are literally getting away with murder….everyday.

We must come together to end the evil in our city and abroad. To show with the help of our community that we can achieve this positive goal.

We all share a common bond to reach a common goal – by stopping this senseless violence and other forms of chaos.

Speaking Out to End Gun Violence

Since my sons’ deaths, I go out advocating against gun violence to save other lives.

I tell people about how gun violence has affected my life in many ways – losing two sons, I myself being shot and never having the shooter or killers apprehended.

My life was stolen, a part of me was taken and can never be replaced.

I hope my story can reach the hearts of other people and that I am truly understood.

Read more by Lois Schaffer:

Sacred ‘Force’ Brings Contact Between Mother and Deceased Daughter

Lois Schaffer

My past activities include: employment as a grants writer for non-profit organizations; namely, the Pearl Lang Dance Foundation and the affordable housing developer; Kimmel Housing Foundation. I have participated in marches and rallies in support of civil rights and to protest the war in Vietnam. I have been a gun safety advocate my entire life helping to enact sensible gun safety legislation on the state and federal levels. I am a Long Island, New York resident. In 1993, Carolyn McCarthy's husband and son were shot in the Long Island Railroad massacre. Carolyn McCarthy's congressional candidacy was initiated after the massacre and I was totally involved in her campaign.Ironically, from an advocate, I became a victim but consider myself a survivor. My daughter, a single working mother was killed by a teenaged burglar in possession of a stolen handgun. I had to do something, not only to honor the memory of my daughter, but to use as a platform in protest of the easy accessibility if guns and the power and greed of the National Rifle Association. So, "The Unthinkable: Life, Loss and a Mother's Mission to Ban Illegal Guns" was written and published by the first rate publisher, The Brown Publishing Group. The book has provided me with many opportunities to speak at various venues to raise awareness of the escalation of gun violence and what our society can do to counteract it.

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