Janet Rice’s home is filled with pictures of her son, Shane Oliver, a tall, gregarious man who never began a day without checking on his grandmother and never ended one without having a long talk with his mother. He was 20 when he was fatally shot, just a few minutes from the family’s Hartford home. “He was my only child and my best friend,” Rice said. Today Rice is the outreach coordinator for Fairfield-based Connecticut Against Gun Violence, work in which she believes her son shares. This summer has been a particularly difficult time to be working against gun violence in Connecticut.
After the horrible Charleston church slaughter last month, the public response from the National Rifle Association mostly came from long-time board member Charles L. Cotton. The nine African Americans were shot and killed after they welcomed a killer into their Bible study because, said Cotton, their church pastor, South Carolina Sen. Clementa Pinckney, did not allow guns at his church. Earlier, Pinckney, who was among the victims, had voted against a concealed carry law in his state. “Eight of his church members, who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church, are dead,” said Cotton in an online forum. “Innocent people died because of his political position on the issue.”