I now understand the surreal experience of seeing your hometown talked about and analyzed from all over the world. All the gasps about how the mass shooting “was only four miles away” from where the president’s fundraiser made me laugh. Our city is a little over eight square miles. Everything is close.
These shootings, however, were too close.
In what becomes an all too familiar refrain, we look for reasons why: he was mentally ill, a drug addict, played video games…he was in a gang.
Yet, it’s never the guns.
The one thing that the Navy shipyard, Chicago, and my neighborhood all have in common is that somehow, somewhere, someone was able to access guns that are capable of a great deal of damage in a short period of time. It doesn’t matter if it’s a military base, or a high crime area or a city. My city had more murders in 17 minutes than it had in the entire three years prior combined.
It doesn’t matter if the guns were obtained legally, stolen or bought in an illegal sale. It matters that the guns were there to be used by a mentally ill man who played video games or a gang member settling a debt.
Since the Newtown mass killing, there have been 16 mass shootings, many that never make the splash page of a website. Tulsa, Oklahoma; Fernley, Nevada; Hialeah, Florida; or Clarksburg, West Virginia — what did they all have in common?
It’s the guns, stupid.
After Monday’s Navy shipyard shooting, Dr. Jane Orlowski, the chief medical officer at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center spoke at a news conference.
There’s something evil in our society that we as Americans have to work to try and eradicate. There’s something wrong here when we have these multiple shootings, these multiple injuries. There is something wrong. I would like you to put my trauma center out of business, I really would. I would like to not be an expert on gunshots and not to be an expert on this.
It’s a great city. It’s a great country, and we have to work together to get rid of this. Because we just cannot have, you know, one more shooting with, you know, so many people killed.
Let’s get rid of this. This is not America.
Unfortunately it is. It only happens here.
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