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Lorena Thompson: A stolen weapon and why a woman from San Carlos supports the repurchase of weapons

Deborah Kemper daughter of Lorraine Thompson. Photo: San Mateo County
Deborah Kemper daughter of Lorraine Thompson. Photo: San Mateo County

When Lorena Thompson left her house the day after Halloween, she gave her son and daughter a kiss. He never came back. She was killed. However, his death was not in vain, for which San Mateo County has paid tribute.

For Lorena's daughter, Deborah Kemper, who lived for years angry about the murder of her mother, the terrible act that changed her life, today bears fruit with actions that impact her community.

This is the full text with which the County of Saint Matthew pays tribute to Lorena Thomson and her legacy.

"She loved us and we knew we were loved," said her daughter, Deborah Kemper. "That was really key for me growing up because I was angry after she was killed and it could have taken a bad turn in life," Lorena's daughter said.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to measure the toll that gun violence has claimed on individuals and families in the United States. There are numbers and facts, of course. And there's Deborah Kemper.

He was only 7 years old and in the second grade in 1965. On Halloween that year, he wore a homemade ghost costume to trick-or-treat in the neighborhood. The next day, her stepfather shot her mother to death in a fit of rage with a stolen pistol.

Deborah Kemper, left, with her mother and brother. Photo: San Mateo County

"I was 45 years old before I could talk about it," Kemper, now 64, said in a recent interview in downtown Redwood City.

"It is a great shame for a child to try to explain what murder is to your friends. He probably had PTSD? Post-traumatic stress disorder? Who knows?” he pointed out, not asking so much as pondering.

Today, Kemper channels her energy into promoting causes that she believes reduce the risk of families experiencing the trauma that happened to her.

Deborah Kemper. Photo: San Mateo County

He shared his experience to raise awareness for the December 3, 2022 gun buyback sponsored by San Mateo County and numerous local partners. The buyback will be from 10 am to 2 pm at 1000 Skyway Road, San Carlos.

Anyone who turns in a firearm can receive cash: $50 for non-functioning firearms, $100 for pistols, shotguns and rifles, and $200 for assault weapons and "ghost weapons" as classified by the State of California. All exchanges are anonymous and no questions are asked.

The Dec. 3 buyback is the latest in a series of county-sponsored buybacks that have collected a total of 2,971 firearms since May 2018.

The United States has about 120 firearms in circulation for every 100 residents, or nearly 400 million firearms in total, according to the Small Arms Survey, a Geneva-based research group that tracks civilian gun ownership. Worldwide.

Those numbers are staggering, but Kemper views each unwanted gun traded for cash in a gun buyback as one less that could be used in a crime, domestic violence or suicide.

Gun violence is the leading cause of death among children in the United States. Of the 45,222 deaths by firearms in 2020, more than half were suicides according to the Centers for Disease Control?CDC, for its acronym in English.

Decades after the violent death of his mother, Kemper continues to wonder what could have been with one less gun in the world on that tragic Monday, November 1, 1965.

Lorena Thompson was the second of seven children and grew up to marry and have two children. She and Kemper's father divorced.

Thompson remarried and worked as a ticket agent at Los Angeles International Airport. The second marriage did not work out. Kemper said her stepfather, after the breakup, stalked and harassed her mother for months.

"I remember all day. My mom kissed us goodbye that morning because she said she had to stop by the unemployment office," Kemper said. "He had been following her to work and harassing her and caused her to lose her job."

"At some point, the radio came on with the announcer, Brad Pye Jr. reporting, that's how well I remember it, and he said a woman was shot in downtown Los Angeles and I started crying and my grandmother said, 'No. It's not your mom, don't worry, don't worry». "And sure enough, the police came to the door an hour later and informed us that it was her."

Months before, a gun had been stolen from him during the Watts riots and was now in the hands of his stepfather, a volatile and possessive man. Maybe without a gun he would have moved on with his life. But he had a gun, and he was angry.

The outbreak of violence robbed Kemper of his mother, his children, his grandmother, and much more. Kemper knows that one less gun in circulation can make all the difference.

"I couldn't remember my mom's voice when I got to high school," she said, pausing, "and her face started to fade, too, which was really sad for me."

You may be interested in: San Mateo County will repurchase guns without asking where they came from

Peninsula 360 Press
Peninsula 360 Presshttps://peninsula360press.com
Study of cross-cultural digital communication

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