News | August 12th, 2022
Florida’s State Capitol Hasn’t Taken Their Finger Off the Trigger
By: Kya Cudjo
Florida has the 27th highest rate of gun deaths in the United States. In just the first 31 days of 2022, there have been 15 shootings, including five known homicides, in Florida’s state Capitol, Tallahassee FL.
Mothers are losing their babies, kids are losing their parents, and universities are losing their students, all to bullets. According to the American Psychological Association, “gun violence is associated with a confluence of individual, family, school, peer, community, and sociocultural risk factors that interact over time during childhood and adolescence.” In other words, America has a gun problem.
American Psychological Association also stated, “although many youths desist in aggressive and antisocial behavior during late adolescence, others are disproportionately at risk for becoming involved in or otherwise affected by gun violence.”
The number one question being asked by the victim’s families across the nation is, “why?”
Alfred University students were asked to rate 16 possible reasons on why shootings occur. 87% of the respondents said, “shootings occur because they want to get back at those who have hurt them.” While that seems to be the most logical answer, 62% of the respondents also agree that shootings occur when the person behind the trigger doesn’t value life. 5,585 is the total number of gun violence deaths of all causes in the U.S.
Enough is Enough.
The first shooting death of 2022 stemmed from an argument on New Year’s Day. The victim, whom police have not yet named, died on scene despite being given life-saving measures by responding officers and emergency medical personnel.
John Kuczwanski, the Legislative Affairs Director for the State Board of Administration, was killed in a shootout triggered by a road rage incident in north Tallahassee on Jan. 6.
Less than 10 hours later, Antonio Zamora, 29, was shot dead at a Tallahassee nightclub, GVO, Jan. 7 that was described as a fight that broke out between Zamora and another patron.
Seven non-fatal shootings later, Makayla Bryant, a Florida A&M graduate student, was murdered on Jan. 26 in connection with what police are describing as a botched drug deal.
The day after Makayla Bryant’s murder, a teenage boy was shot and killed in a botched drug robbery in south Tallahassee, according to police. The name of the victim has not been released.
While many people search for answers to the stomach-turning question of why people are pulling triggers, the answers found will never be enough for the victims’ families.
On the verge of tears, Ria Floyd, gun violence victim Makayla Bryant’s cheer coach and family friend stated, “I cannot forgive or forget.” Florida A&M University lost a beloved student, friend, sister, and Rattler. “I will never understand why,” exclaimed Floyd.
Christian Streat, a nationwide club promoter currently residing in Tallahassee, FL says, “the large amount of recent fatal shootings raises so many safety concerns for the people of Tallahassee.” As a local event coordinator, Streat fears for the lives of other club-goers and students within the state Capitol.
“The student population in Tallahassee currently exceeds the amount of 70,000 people. This town is predominantly a melting pot of individuals pursuing a higher education and better future for themselves,” said Streat.
“Every week, students from Florida State University, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and Tallahassee Community College gather their friends for a night out on the town to enjoy time with their peers and escape the workload of a college student on the weekdays and weekends. How are we supposed to protect them?” stated Streat. After coming to a collective agreement, several promoters have invested into the protection and safety of their customers to ensure a great time. “Events are meant to enjoy, not fear. We agreed our events must have licensed armed guards and/or contracted police officers or the event will not occur,” explained Streat.
The Tallahassee Police Department declined to comment on any potential reasons why these shootings have occurred. Former TPD police officer, who asked to remain anonymous, said he believes that “violence and homicide in FL has drastically increased due to multiple factors that occurred from gun violence in the last two years.” Some of the strongest theories as to why he believes violence has increased in the United States include the unprecedented surge in gun sales, those numbers climbed during pandemic-induced shutdowns and again in the summer, with millions protesting a Minneapolis police officer’s murder of George Floyd.
With the large amount of fatal police brutality shootings, and lethal protest fatalities, some people may feel obligated to protect themselves at all costs. Although there will never be a specific reason as to why, Tallahassee citizens continue to struggle with gun violence daily. If someone needs emotional support as a result of gun violence, please urge them to contact the SAMHSA Distress Helpline, which offers crisis support service for any American experiencing emotional distress right now at 1-800-985-5990. You can also text the Public Distress Helpline by texting “TalkWithUs” to 66746.