Following the mass shooting that took place in Oregon earlier this month, the media and the public are again focusing on “extreme events rather than the everyday tragedy of firearm-related suicides, homicides, and accidents,” writes VICE‘s Rachel M. Cohen. But mass shootings make up only a fraction of the deaths related to gun violence in America. Furthermore, many people who survive such violence are permanently affected by their injuries.
It can be especially difficult for families in crime-ridden suburban communities to have their experiences go underreported or overlooked, says Shira Goodman, CeaseFirePA’s executive director. “The gun violence they experience gets written about on the back pages of the paper, or Section B, and it’s just a couple of lines, but for those families, their lives have been irrevocably changed and devastated.”
The mass shootings drawing national attention are important “teaching moments,” says Goodman, and have helped engage people who aren’t living in directly impacted communities, “but we have to be very mindful that we are working in all parts of the country, be it cities, suburbs, rural areas—gun violence really is an American problem.”