MEMPHIS, TN – It was an unexpected phone call; but one Memphis Mayor AC Wharton had to take.
The violent death of Memphis Police Officer Martoiya Lang; combined with the Newtown, Connecticut massacre—has created a new sense of urgency toward gun control.
That awareness has reached all the way to the White House, which reached back to Memphis.
Even as Officer Lang was eulogized, Mayor Wharton was summoned to a conference call from Vice-President Joe Biden.
The call included mayors whose cities have experienced terrible gun tragedies—just like the violence that killed Martoiya Lang.
“Lang took pride in her work,” said MPD Lt. Frank Wilson during the funeral, “Lang strived to be the best; Lang was a fighter.”
But on Friday December 21st 2012 Martoiya Lang was buried.
“A police officer was gunned down in Memphis,” said President Barack Obama in a speech to the nation, “leaving four children without their mother.”
“It just makes me feel her death will not be in vein,” said Wharton, “her death has reached the most powerful man on the face of the earth.”
It also reached his Vice-President, Joe Biden—who summoned Wharton to a conference call on gun violence during Lang’s funeral.
Biden is asking Wharton and other mayors to submit multiple suggestions to combat gun crimes immediately.
“They’re looking at January 15th as a date to have a package together,” Wharton told abc24.com, “that’s what the Vice-President is charged with.”
One conclusion from the conversation with the V-P, the current moment in time is precious.
“We should not squander this time when the heart and minds of the American public has said: enough is enough.” Wharton told abc24.com.
“It is urgent now,” said Wharton, “and even more urgent with the White House getting involved.”
Perhaps the tragedy of Martoiya Lang could have been avoided.
“Martoiya could have refused this assignment at any time.” said Memphis Police Director, Toney Armstrong.
But Lang wasn’t built that way; hopefully creating this message for the world—and her kids.
“Because your mother died,” said Wharton, “every child across the nation now has more protection; because your mother died.”
The mayor also discussed so-called “super-clips” with the Vice-President; clips that carry sixteen bullets-plus; while police carry weapons with only nine or ten.
Wharton said he would submit his top three suggestions on gun violence to the White House, immediately.