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2/22/2013 9:09:00 PM
Flashlight vigil remembers victims of gun violence
Greenwood County Council member Edith Childs speaks during Friday's
+ click to enlarge
Greenwood County Council member Edith Childs speaks during Friday's "A Day of Action in Greenwood -- Gun Control" at the Greenwood County Veterans Center.
About 50 people gathered for Friday's
+ click to enlarge
About 50 people gathered for Friday's "A Day of Action in Greenwood -- Gun Control" during which victims of gun violence were remembered in a flashlight vigil.
Rick Hendricks
Community Reporter

GREENWOOD — About 50 people gathered at the Greenwood County Veterans Center Friday for “A Day of Action in Greenwood – Gun Control,” during which a flashlight vigil honored the victims of gun violence in the community.

Greenwood County Council member Edith Childs, who organized the event, said she began to think about the September 1988 shooting at the former Oakland Elementary School after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

The memories of that school shooting locally, in which two students were killed and other students and teachers were injured, coupled with increased gun violence in the Greenwood community sparked Childs to organize the event.

Childs invited Lemont Wright, founder of the Stop the Violence organization, to speak at the event. Also among the attendees were Lavern Fuller, a member of the Greenwood School District 50 Board of Trustees, the Rev. Michael Butler, pastor of Good Hope Baptist Church and the retired assistant chief of the Greenwood Police Department, Marchelle Tompkins-Bryant and the Rev. James McKee, pastor of Durham Temple A.M.E. Church.

McKee offered a prayer of strength and the benediction as the group formed a circle and turned on flashlights in memory of those who have been victims of gun violence.

Childs said it is important for the community to come together around its young people. She advocated a background check for all who purchase guns, as well as the ban of “military” weapons. Families, she said, should take care of their homes and children and elected officials should be held accountable for their actions.

“As citizens, we need to work together to get these guns off the streets,” the council member said.

Wright said he is in favor of any effort to curb violence in the community. “Everybody wants somewhere for their children to go,” he said. “We’re looking for a way out for our youth.”

Butler said there no easy answers concerning reducing violence locally. He responded to the shooting at Oakland as a police officer and it brought home the notion that there are more victims of shootings than those who are killed. The families and friends of shooting victims are impacted forever, he said.

“It’s not as simple as a lot of people think,” Butler said, “but we’ve got to start somewhere. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people and people make poor choices.”

Tompkins-Bryant said there is a lack of activities for young people. “Gangs have our children’s minds,” she said. “We’ve got to step up and do something. We’re losing our children.”



Related Stories:
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• Latest ruling on guns could affect CWPs
• Duncan invites another firearm company to S.C.
• Police obtain warrants on second suspect in Moss Creek slaying
• Two arrested on weapons, drug charges



Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, March 1, 2013
Article comment by: Josh A

There's no Gun Violence here only in self defense against thugs! Thugs who go out and steal. We have a gang violence issue! If the gang bangers want to go out robbing and commit crimes then a gun is a good start for self defense!

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: S Henderson

OK, why can't you people get it! We DO NOT have a problem with guns, we don't. We have a problem with violence. Guns are just one of many tools of violence along with knives, clubs, and fists.

Until you address the violence and quit harping on the tools, the violence will only continue and continue to get worse.


Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: Jerry O

On behalf of republicans, I just wanted to point out that we don't all feel as some do. I was not at this event, but I believe that more awareness events should take place. Greenwood is becoming a violent city, and it's up to the citizens to raise awareness. Our police officers do a wonderful job, but we don't have the resources to have cops on every street. For Greenwood to be restored, we have to participate more in neighborhood watches
and informing the sheriff about things that occur.


Posted: Monday, February 25, 2013
Article comment by: Norval Davis

Thank you, Edith, and to the other community leaders for putting this event together and trying to make people aware of the problem we have with guns. Whenever you do this again, please let me assist in the organizing of the event. As for Mr.Marullo, your racist comments ("you and the ignorant stooges who attended this photo op are just carrying the water for your slave masters in the Democratic Party...")serves as good fodder for people who love "giggle and point fingers" at a complete ignoramus. You are helping the Democratic Party more on a local level than Rush Limbaugh is on the national level. Keep up the good work!

Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2013
Article comment by: Jerry A. Marullo

First of all I didn't realize that we were living in Sudan until I saw this picture of Edith. Really Ms. Childs? You do realize that you are an AMERICAN, not an AFRICAN? Can we quit this divisive mutli-culturalist stuff already? Ms. Childs, if you long for Africa that much, why don't you take some of that money you took from the in-district expense account and buy a one-way ticket and go? For that matter, I'm sure we can find plenty of Greenwood taxpayers who would be more than willing to chip in the money to send you. Secondly what good would an "assault weapons ban" do, especially in curtailing "black on black" gun violence in the Lakelands? The majority of these crimes are committed by kids UNDER 21 and their weapon of choice is always HANDGUNS. You cannot legally buy a HANDGUN if you are UNDER 21. This means that NO AMOUNT OF GUN LAWS would have kept these weapons out of the hands of these under-aged criminals. You and the ignorant stooges who attended this photo op are just carrying the water for your slave masters in the Democrat party, like the good little mindless robots you all are. If you were REALLY interested in helping the "black community" and ending "black on black violence," you would teach your young men to pull up their pants, abandon rap music and the "gangsta culture," stay in school, don't have sex out of wedlock, get a job, and marry and stay with the women they impregnate. I realize however, that asking liberal Democrats to embrace these things would be like asking Dracula to wear a crucifix.



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