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'Body Count' protest brings awareness to children's lives lost to gun violence

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Posted at 5:44 PM, Apr 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-15 23:48:13-04

INDIANAPOLIS — More than 70,000 people are expected to be in Indianapolis this weekend for the National Rifle Association (NRA) convention.

The convention is also drawing folks from across the nation to protest gun violence.

On Saturday, the 'Body Count' protest drew attention to the number of children shot and killed in the United States.

“When did guns become more valuable than our children?” a protester asked.

It’s a question on the minds of many in Indianapolis — as the NRA convention welcomed its second day of guests.

Crowds gathered across the street from the Indiana Convention Center at Hudnut Commons for the part protest, part performance art demonstration.

Organizers read the names of 1,600 children who died to gun violence in 2022.

Participants lied in the grass in silence for hours. They attempted to make as little movement as possible in solidarity.

“I felt that honoring the children killed would give them a voice because in our society, so often kids aren’t given a voice. They have so much to teach us and so much to share with us," Organizer Mary Tuttle said.

Tuttle was inspired to take action after recent mass shootings and anti-trans legislation.

One in five American adults has a family member who died to gun violence, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study.

“It’s always in the back of our minds, somebody could come and just mow a bunch of people down," Protester Mary Nolan said.

The retired public school teacher recalls the fear and confusion in her student's eyes during active shooter drills.

“There’s always that question as to whether someone could penetrate the building and come in with a gun. Obviously, it happens every day," Nolan said.

Activist TheKingTrill lives on Indy’s east side and says almost daily, he hears about friends, family, neighbors impacted by violence.

“I have seen too many people, that I know personally, lose their lives to gun violence. On top of that, I’ve seen so many more people become injured, wounded and amputated in certain areas in their body because of gun violence," he said. “It is too easy to purchase a weapon of war. You should be properly vetted. You should be scrutinized. Why do you want a weapon that could potentially kill 200 people in two minutes?”