Tabitha Mpamira was at work scrolling through social media when she suddenly thought, “here we go again”.
It has happened again.
Another mass shooting in the United States has captured the media’s attention and some citizens of Meridian Township are not surprised.
“I’ve seriously grown cynical,” said Tabitha Mpamira, who is a citizen of Okemos. “ I figured here we go again, and nothing is going to be done and something else is going to come up and take over the news.”
On Sunday, 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, grabbed his AR-556 rifle, and opened fire
in First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX. According to CBS News, he killed 26 people and injured at least 20 others.
After exchanging gunfire outside the church with a nearby citizen who heard the gunfire from his house, the two drove away in a high speed chase. Later Kelley lost control of the vehicle and was later pronounced dead in his car with a self-inflicted gun wound in his head.
According to CNN, Prior to the shooting Kelley had a troubled past. There were situations involving domestic violence, sexual assault accusation, and evidence of obsession with other mass shootings. He even escaped from a mental institution.
Even after he was denied a license to carry in Texas, he was still able to purchase a total of four weapons.
Now, this is bringing some concern and raising awareness to the citizens of Meridian Township and calling for a national conversation and a change in the policies.
“I want to see some stricter laws,” said Pastor Ellen Schoepf, who preaches at Faith Lutheran Church in Okemos to a congregation of 80 to 100 people. “We have to have a conversation about this. I don’t feel that anything is going to change if we’re not really open to discussing, and open to coming together expressing our difference of opinions in a healthy way.
Some citizens, like Mpamira, are against the guns laws in the United States. She says that even though they are used for hunting purposes, the sellers and buyers are not following the rules.
Meanwhile, others believe that although this shooting unfortunate, this one incident does not represent everyone with a gun and everyone who has a license to carry, especially since the shooter did not have one.
“Usually the people that conceal are usually the people responsible with their weapons,” said Stacie Hull, who was at the laundromat Friday morning and had just heard about the incident. “My father has a concealed weapons permit. When he has his gun on him I’m not necessarily concerned that he is going to use it for a evil purpose . So I think most people that have them are very responsible with their weapons, so it’s unfortunate.”
After the various mass shootings during the year, churches in the Mid-Michigan area are starting to take precautionary steps.
Pastor Schoepf has taken action within her church to ensure the people that Faith Lutheran is a safe place.
“As soon as our worship service starts, our ushers goes and locks all the doors on the southside of the building,” said Pastor Schoepf. “Our ushers and our greeters are aware they need to watch for issues, and watch for anything that see suspicious.”
There are citizens in Meridian Township that feel as if America will not be able to control gun violence, while others are asking for a national conversation to be held to get gun control in control.
“It all has become cliché, to even say you are praying for the victims because of their families, which we are and I do personally but it’s frustrating,” said Mpamira. “We are just going to have the same conversation next month.”