Editorial: Obama moves to save lives

Editorial: Obama moves to save lives
January 07
00:00 2016

Who would have thought that Winston-Salem State University would have to deal with the death of one freshman let alone two within one-and-a-half months.

Both freshmen died from gun violence at times that should have been joyous. One was killed on WSSU’s campus just as its homecoming weekend was winding down. One was killed two days before Christmas.

Both accused gunmen have been arrested. In both cases, the gunmen did not randomly shoot their victims. Both accused shooters and the victims were young and black. In both cases, other people were hurt in the shooting.

The university family barely had time to mourn over the fatal shooting of Anthony White Jr., 19, a freshman from Charlotte, when the news about the fatal shooting of Kari Omyea Watson in Raleigh just came out just before Christmas. Watson, 18, who was home in Raleigh during the WSSU winter break, was buried on Jan. 2.

These two young people had full lives ahead of them at Winston-Salem State. So many good things are happening there, and those students had such high expectations.

Watson was a 2015 graduate of Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School and earned one of the first Wake County Future Teachers scholarships. She made the dean’s list her first semester at WSSU and hoped to pursue a career in education.

White “was real cool and laid back,” one fellow student said. “He was really serious about his education and he encouraged others to take it seriously as well.”

So why did students with such bright futures die at the hands of gunmen? One might say that the ease of access to guns led to their deaths. The accused gunmen had records or were wanted on other charges when the shootings happened. Both are 21 years old.

Gun violence has shaken Americans to the core, in one way or another. Whether it’s mass shootings or relationship shootings, people die needlessly because of gun violence.

President Obama took action by himself because he hasn’t gotten help from Congress. He issued executive orders on Tuesday to help decrease the number of deaths. Go to for information. He will be featured in a town hall meeting tonight (Thursday, Jan. 7) on CNN at 8 p.m.

This issue has divided Americans for several reasons, including the debate over Second Amendment rights, but Obama appears to be the one taking leadership in trying to do something about it without infringing on Second Amendment rights. It has come too late for two WSSU freshmen.

Where do you stand? We would like to hear from you. Send your brief Letter to the Editor to, post a short note on or drop off a brief opinion to our office at 617 N. Liberty St.

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