They were as young as eight months old and as old as 71. They were black, white and Latino. They include women killed by their husbands, a son killed by his father and a father killed by his son.
All were residents of St. Louis city and county who were killed with guns in 2016 — 230 people total, and counting.
The tally, a list of the victims' names and biographical information about a sampling of cases has been compiled online by a group called Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice
. The group has been working to combat gun violence via a Campaign for Common-Sense Gun Solutions.
The roster makes for chilling reading. The brief bios include Jacara Sproaps, an elementary school principal who was killed along with her boyfriend by an angry ex; her eighteen-year-old son was also shot. There is Carole Comer, who was killed along with her son and daughter by her husband Thomas, who was suffering from paranoia and depression. Thomas Comer, too, killed himself.
There are countless victims of random gun violence, including Steven White, a 71-year-old Vietnam War veteran apparently shot and killed by three teenaged robbers and fourteen-year-old Jamarr Mack Jr., who was killed walking home from the library. There are also accidental deaths, including 15-year-old DaMontez Jones, who reportedly shot himself while trying to take a selfie with a gun.
The group hopes that tallying the deaths will raise awareness of the pervasiveness of the problem — and lead to solutions that will stop the bloodshed. "We should be outraged at the level of violence we are tolerating in our homes and communities," said Lise Bernstein, president of Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice, in a press release.
According to their press release,
Members have advocated for comprehensive background checks for firearm purchases and strict conceal/carry legislation. They sponsor “Lock It For Love,” a program that provides free gun locks to families who have unsecured weapons and children in their homes. During the past 18 months, they have distributed more than 1,200 free gun locks.
The group will continue to update the list through year's end. For more information, or to get involved, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.