Sunday it was Mother's Day in the USA. Britain pays homage to its Mothers in March but the date varies around the world. Wherever, and whenever, Mother's Day celebrations take place it is a time for smiles and laughter but sadly in New Orleans, Sunday, it was a time for shooting.
19 people sustained injuries during a shooting incident at a Mother's Day parade in North Villere Street in the 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans at around 1:45 p.m. The injured includes two children but non of the injuries are life-threatening. According to the BBC "10 men, seven women, a 10-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl were wounded by gunfire".
Three people were observed running away from the incident and one is described as a man between the ages of 18 and 22. Police are currently working on the assumption that three men were involved using at least two different types of weapon.
The shooters struck the second line parade, which often follows a brass band in the city of New Orleans. The parade was two blocks long and involved between 200 and 400 people The normal police presence in attendance. Officers said New Orleans is a city renowned for its many parades, and they occur frequently.
The incident reportedly only lasted a matter of seconds but that does not diminish its severity. The number of casualties could have been much worse of course. NBC reports: "Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the shooting was part of "the relentless drum beat of violence" on the streets of New Orleans.
"It’s a shame and its got to stop," he told The Times-Picayune from outside New Orleans' Interim LSU Public Hospital. "You see it cascading across the country but we have more of it than anyone else."
The incident has been categorised as street violence and not terror. Does that make the situation any better?
America is struggling with its conscience as far as gun ownership goes. The powerful and money-making NRA, national rifle association, want to maintain the status quo or increase the amount of guns in the hands of citizens.
President Obama and his team continue to attempt to reduce the number of guns in circulation but they are prevented at every opportunity by the opposition, the Republicans and the gun lobby. The GOP and NRA stance is hidden beneath rhetoric about the American constitution when in reality it is all about money.
Did the current gun laws help those participating in the Mother's Day parade? Did they help the victims of the Boston bombers?
Those who support gun ownership will use these incidents to advocate more guns, which would inevitably turn the USA back centuries to the days of the wild-west with gun toting citizens and rough justice meted out on the streets. It would, in my opinion, be a slippery slope into chaos.