San Diego church joins effort to end gun violence
January 20, 2013 | U-T San Diego | Source Article
San Diego Organizing Project (SDOP)
By Roxana Popescu
SAN DIEGO — Denise Saunders’ son had a beautiful smile, a B average at Point Loma High School and a healthy obsession with the Chargers.
Today those are just memories.
Michael Taylor and his friend Monique Palmer, 17, were shot to death in 2008 by members of a San Diego gang.
He was 15 and a high school freshman.
“I’m grieving, I’m still grieving,” Saunders said.
She told her son’s story Sunday morning to a packed church in Lincoln Park, blocks away from where her son was killed in southeastern San Diego. The occasion was the National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath, which occurred in San Diego at St. Stephen’s Cathedral Church of God in Christ and at more than 150 houses of worship around the country.
Its organizer, the Rev. Michael McBride, said in a statement the goal was “to send a message that now is the time for comprehensive action to reduce gun violence in our communities.”
Last week, President Barack Obama outlined a plan for stricter gun control, including tighter background checks, improved school security measures and a ban on military-style assault weapons.
None of those would have spared the lives of Michael and Monique. They were shot as they were walking away from a party by teenage gang members using handguns.
Lincoln Picard, a spokesman for the San Diego-based U.S. Gun Club, said the answer to stopping gratuitous violence is putting more — not fewer — guns in the hands of the general population, provided people receive proper training.
“If they really want to prevent these things kinds of things from happening in the future, you have to arm the good guys,” Picard said.
He said that designating schools as “gun-free zones” hasn’t stopped mass shootings on campuses. In 1999, the National Rifle Association supported the “gun-free zone” movement but has since reversed its stance.
“You have to make it dangerous for criminals to have their gun and to use it in an illegal manner,” Picard said. “There’s not enough policemen out there to do that.”
Saunders doesn’t support that stance. She said more guns is not the answer because they can easily get in the wrong hands.
“It’s a never-ending battle,” she said, adding that people with money — particularly gang members — will find a way to obtain illegal guns as long as there’s a market for them.
“It’s easy to get (guns) if you got enough money,” she said.
Saunders asked people to keep their guns secure and out of the hands of children and teens, and said she wishes there were a way to keep them away from gangs.
“I just want to see no more people get killed,” she said.