No Room for Complacency with Gun Violence

A protester holds a sign that says do something during a gun reform rally that was held in Dayton, Ohio in August 2019, in the wake of a mass shooting that left nine dead and 27 wounded. (Photo by Megan Jelinger/via Getty Images)

Indianapolis Metro Police Department officials confirmed that eight people were shot and killed at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis late last night, and several other people were injured. Police spokesperson Genae Cook confirmed that gunfire erupted at the 1.5 million-square-foot facility near the Indianapolis International Airport, which was once considered the second-largest FedEx hub in the United States. You can watch a video of the press briefing embedded in the tweet below:

FedEx said people who worked for the company were among the dead, and the police have determined that the shooter killed himself shortly after the rampage. While officials warned that it was too early to tell whether the shooter was an employee at the facility, a witness at the FedEx facility told WTHR-TV that he was working inside the building when he heard gunshots.

"I'm at a bench, and so I stand up and take a look at the entrance door, and by the time I see the door, I see a man come out with a rifle in his hand, and he starts firing, and he starts yellin' stuff that I could not understand," Levi Miller told local NBC Indianapolis affiliate 13News. “What I ended up doing was ducking down to make sure he did not see me because I thought he would see me and he would shoot me.”

Make a One-Time SHERO Tribute Now

The shooter has not been officially identified, and investigators anticipate an ongoing investigation at the facility that will go throughout Friday as they continue the process of conducting interviews and gathering information. Authorities are still working on reunification for family members who could not contact loved ones in the facility during the event.

This shooting comes on the heels of newly released video footage that shows the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo by a Chicago police officer that occurred 17 days ago. The police report says Officer Stillman reported that Toledo did not follow verbal directions. Stillman reported that Toledo fled, used significant force, and was armed with a semiautomatic pistol. The officer also claimed he saw a gun in Toledo's right hand, and police claim the gun is visible in one frame in Toledo's right hand, down at his side.

Officer Stillman's newly released body camera footage shows Toledo standing next to the gun as if he tossed it aside when Stillman had him cornered, and police confirm that the entire exchange played out in one second.

Another video angle from a surveillance camera with a broader view of the alley creates many differing opinions on what exactly happened with Toledo. Legal Analyst Gil Soffer, a former federal prosecutor, explains, "…we see what appears to be a gun in Toledo's hand and that he drops it before he raises his hands." Soffer explained that the issue of culpability will all come down to timing and when exactly Toledo was shot. If Toledo dropped the gun as he was raising his hands, Soffer says the officer “will have a very credible defense,” and the case will come down to a question of precisely when Toledo was shot.

Not all experts agree at this point, which means a jury might interpret the video differently as well. Attorney Tony Thedford of Thedford Garber Law says, "It appears to me that the young man had his hands up when he was shot." Thedford continued, “It's very evident to me that he did not have the gun at the time the officer fired his weapon." Attorney Anthony Burch agrees that Toledo was in the process of complying with the officer and says, "You see Mr. Toledo raise his hands and turn around — If you look at that and listen to what is going on, he is following the directions of the police officer and he's shot."

While the shooting of Toledo may be a complicated investigation with many disagreeing about what happened, the Fed Ex facility shooting emphasizes the underlying and ongoing issue of gun violence in America. There were 14,400 gun-related homicides in 2019, and a gun accounted for nearly three-quarters of those homicides.

In 2021, there is a mass shooting (four or more firearm-related violence victims) in the United States nearly every day — often, there are several mass shootings a day. The Gun Violence Archive has calculated that more than 130 mass shootings have occurred in the US in 2021 as of April 9, which means more than one mass shooting a day on average. This total is higher than it was during the same period in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

The key to changing the laws is not to grow complacent and tune out as reports of gun violence continue to increase and become a daily factor in American culture. Next, we must put pressure on our current leaders to make the necessary changes, and if they refuse to do this, we must vote in representatives who are willing to enforce sensible gun restrictions.

Passing critical gun safety legislation often seems like an insurmountable problem considering how little has been accomplished in Congress after each horrific event. But remember: the NRA is facing bankruptcy, and advocates who have lost loved ones aren't going anywhere. Thanks to a bastardization of what rights are actually contained within the Second Amendment by ignorant fear-mongers, this will undoubtedly be a marathon and not a sprint.

Start your training to build up your endurance today. Join a group that advocates for sensible gun legislation you agree with, or donate to a cause that works tirelessly to enact basic, common-sense protections. Every day there is a mass shooting, call both of your Senators and your Representative to demand change, and when they do nothing, support the candidate challenging them in their next election who will take a stand.

When you feel yourself becoming numb to the gun violence epidemic in America, force yourself to check back in by donating, making a call, or sending out a social media post that may inspire someone else. Change is possible and critical, as long as you are willing to outlast your opponent — now is the time to emotionally hydrate and reset your brain to endurance mode.

Share


Amee Vanderpool writes the SHERO Newsletter and is an attorney, published author, contributor to newspapers and magazines, and analyst for BBC Radio. She can be reached at avanderpool@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter at @mamasreallyrule. 

Paid subscriptions and one-time tributes embedded in each article allow me to keep publishing critical and informative work that is sometimes made available to the public — thank you. If you like this piece and want to support independent journalism further, you can forward this article to others, get a paid subscription or gift subscription, or donate once, as much as you like today. 

Share SHERO