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: