Community unites five years after Sandy Hook shooting

- This week marks five years since the tragic shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

With way too many mass shootings since Sandy Hook, we normally dig in, pick sides and argue about gun rights and gun laws. But a local group wants to try focusing on what unites us. Starr Cummin, Bright A shooting survivor told us that focusing on common areas is always helpful.

“There is a lot of common ground that exists. I respect that the second amendment exists, I don’t have any problem with that but I think we need to be reasonable.”

Starr was one of the people who came together in West Chester to acknowledge the tragedy in Sandy Hook but she also hopes that her personal experience being shot can humanize the discussion about gun violence.

“I was talking to some people in the church. He walked out while I was talking to him, walked back in shouting, ‘I bet you were wondering which one of you it was going to be’ and he ran up to me and shot me at point blank range.”

She was lucky to live, but surviving the attack made her uniquely qualified to discuss the conflict that exists between too many gun owners and those who oppose them.

“We have guns, my husband has guns, they’re safely locked. I don’t have an issue with people owning guns, I have an issue with the amount of gun violence.”

And that may be what distinguished this ceremony and march from so many others. Gun Sense Chester who organized the event knows there are areas where gun owners and opposition will never agree but the Executive Director Ann Colby Cummings wonders if can you make progress by moving past those areas?

“We welcome people with diverse viewpoints to come and share their perspective and as we’ve done that we’ve found that people are surprised how much common ground there is.”

Something Starr discovered as she spoke directly to gun owners who are also neighbors and friends.

“I live in an area in Chester County where a lot of people have guns, and I’m friends with them so I realized if I started talking to these people maybe we could find some sort of common ground.”

Stop arguing for a minute, and we normally find out that more things unite us than divides us and hopefully finding a way to end senseless killing can become one of those things. For Goodness Sake.

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