"This is a dystopia": Sen. Chris Murphy rebukes mistakes being met by gunfire

Sen. Chris Murphy. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Wednesday gave an impassioned speech about a string of recent incidents in which people have been shot, and in some cases killed, for making small mistakes like turning into the wrong driveway or going up to the wrong car.

Driving the news: "This week, this country has convulsed by a series of horrific shootings where mistakes and minor slights are being met by gunfire," said Murphy, who has made gun control a central tenet of his work since the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in his district.

Zoom in: Two high school Texas cheerleaders were shot in a supermarket parking lot Tuesday after one of them accidentally tried getting into the wrong car. One of the girls, Payton Washington, remains in critical condition.

  • Kaylin Gillis, 20, was shot and killed in New York on Saturday after mistakenly turning into the wrong driveway while looking for a friend’s house. She was the passenger in a car with three others.
  • Four people, including two teenagers, were shot in Michigan last week over a dispute about food delivered to the wrong address.

Of note: Ralph Yarl, 16, was shot in the head and arm last week in Missouri, after he mistakenly rang the doorbell at the wrong house to pick up his siblings.

  • The shooting of Yarl, who is Black, may have had a "racial component to the case," Clay County prosecutor Zachary Thompson said.
  • Andrew Lester, a white man in his 80s, has been charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action in connection to the shooting.

The big picture: Gun violence is increasing in the U.S., as are experiences with gun-related incidents.

  • "We are becoming a heavily armed nation, so fearful and angry and hair-trigger anxious that gun murders are just the way in which we work out our frustrations," Murphy said. "This is a dystopia and I'm here to tell you that it's a dystopia that we've chosen for ourselves."

"There is a toxic mixture in this country today of hate, of anger and a population that is increasingly armed to the teeth with deadly weapons, many of them with no training, many of them with criminal records," Murphy said on the Senate floor.

  • "This mixture is leading to our neighborhoods becoming a killing field," he said. "Minor slights and indiscretions, even simple wrong turns are becoming potentially deadly."

Go deeper: Survey: 1 in 6 Americans have witnessed a shooting

  • Gun violence settlements prevail as reform stalls

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