From The Editors

Category:  From the Editors
Wednesday, April 30th, 2014 at 5:33 AM

On the Sunday when we were putting the finishing touches on our recent 40 Under 40 issue, we woke up to the worst kind of news. A young man we happen to know was fatally shot by one of his friends in yet another senseless gun accident. His name was Abram Sorek; add it to the long, sad list.

Abe was 23, just weeks away from graduating St. Vincent College and was in Erie to attend his younger brother's art exhibit at the Barber National Institute. That Saturday night, he got together with some old friends and ended his evening at one of their homes. A fun, mundane weekend in Erie that should've ended the way these weekends almost always end — with some laughs, and a few good, new memories. But it didn’t end that way; instead a gun was introduced into the equation, and someone seemingly without respect or fear picked it up, and Abe lost his life.

We can't help thinking of that gun, of how and why it was there, and of Abe — his entire life in front of him, just happening to be here and ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time. A tragic intersection.

But was it simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time? These were some of his friends after all. And they were in a safe, secure place. The only difference, obviously, is that one of those friends thought it was an acceptable idea to bring what ended up being a loaded weapon into their midst. A thoughtless decision, but one that shines some light on what we see as an important aspect of the polarizing issue of gun control: A lack of reverence for guns due to their increasingly ubiquitous presence in our society.

This particular debate brings out the worst in us as Americans. It's one of those "all or nothing" type of arguments, and the truth doesn't lie there. Those of you who abhor guns and would like to ban and melt them all down are ultimately as credible as those of you who would like to solve gun violence by throwing more and more guns at the problem. If everyone who wants a gun is allowed to buy whatever they want, whenever they want, and carry those guns wherever they want, we not only end up with too many guns and too many people carrying those guns, we risk losing some of the reverence and healthy fear all guns deserve. Stupidity, mixed with that lack of reverence, is exactly what happened two weeks ago on Kahkwa Boulevard, and is the reason Abe isn't with us today.

The story of Abe's death led the news that Sunday night. The very next story was on an open carry rally that took place in Perry Square the same day. Some of the citizens at that rally think the government is constantly trying to take away our guns. To this assertion, the rest of us continually ask: why? Because there are those of us who want proper background checks and archaic loopholes closed? Because there are those of us who believe certain assault weapons shouldn't necessarily be sold to anyone who wants them? These things seem like common sense. Measures put in place to keep us safe.

Abe's death can’t count for nothing. We hope it reminds everybody that while we should continue to enjoy the right to bear arms, pumping our homes, bars, schools, and public spaces full of them makes as much sense as taking that right away.

Erie Reader: Vol. 6, No. 21
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