On July 4, Christian evangelist Franklin Graham shared a call for unity in America on Twitter, affirming that the American flag was defended by people of all races, and that it “represents the UNITED States of America, not the divided states of America.”
What followed, however, was a weekend of violence and heartbreak, which saw at least six children shot and killed across the nation.
Then in a tweet on Tuesday, Graham lamented over the violence:
“What was supposed to be a holiday weekend turned into a weekend of heartbreak for many as violence became the headline in many cities across the country. In Chicago alone, 87 people were shot with 17 killed, including a 7-year-old girl.”
That 7-year-old girl had been playing with her cousins while visiting her grandmother when she was shot and killed over the weekend, CNN reported.
A 14-year-old was also killed in Chicago that weekend when approximately four gunmen opened fire during a large street gathering in the South Side neighborhood of Englewood.
There were similar acts of violence in other cities across the nation.
In Atlanta on Saturday, 8-year-old Secoriea Turner was killed while riding with her mother near the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed last month.
Meanwhile, in the nation’s capital, 11-year-old Davon McNeal was killed when five men started shooting in the southeast area of the city.
A shocking video taken on Sunday—that went viral on social media—shows a man in the Bronx being shot in broad daylight, holding his 7-year-old daughter’s hand, and crossing the street. The 28-year-old father of three, Anthony Robinson, died at a Bronx hospital from his wounds.
The past several months of civil unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd have seen a sharp increase in violent crime across the nation. In the month of May 2020, New York saw a 64 percent rise in shootings and a 79 percent rise in murders. Burglaries rose 35 percent, while auto theft rose 68 percent, PIX11 reported; while Los Angels saw a 250 percent increase in homicides in the first week of June compared with the previous week.
Other cities, such as Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Chicago, saw similar increases, CNN reported.
On Monday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp took steps to control the violence by declaring a state of emergency and authorizing U.S. National Guard soldiers to restore order after five people were killed in Atlanta over the weekend, Aljazeera reported.
“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda,” the republican governor said in a statement. “Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot, and left for dead. This lawlessness must be stopped and order restored in our capital city.”
The mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, called for an end to the violence following the death of 8-year-old Secoriea Turner over the weekend.
“You can’t blame this on a police officer,” the mayor said in an emotional news conference. “You can’t say this about criminal justice reform. This is about some people carrying some weapons who shot up a car with an eight-year-old baby in the car for what?
“Enough is enough.”
During President Trump’s well-received Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore on Friday, he spoke to the division facing the country and the duty of government to protect and care for its citizens:
“We are proud of the fact that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and we understand that these values have dramatically advanced the cause of peace and justice throughout the world. We know that the American family is the bedrock of American life.
“We recognize the solemn right and moral duty of every nation to secure its borders and we are building the wall. We remember that governments exist to protect the safety and happiness of their own people. A nation must care for its own citizens first. We must take care of America first. It’s time.
“We believe in equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal treatment for citizens of every race, background, religion and creed,” the president said. “Every child of every color, born and unborn, is made in the holy image of God.”
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