If we can overhaul our entire airport system after 9/11, we can stop the weapons causing weekly massacres – Chicago Tribune
My daughter called last week with a concern: Was it worth the risk to go to a local suburban vintage fair with a friend?
Or was she taking unnecessary chances given all the gun violence these days?
Ordinarily, I would have dismissed the concern. Don’t want to let the terrorists win, after all.
But these days, the terrorists are winning. They’re packing their anger, their childhood trauma, their whatever into AR-15 rifles and shooting up children, parade-goers, church members and shoppers. In most cases, they’re slaughtering people who had nothing to do with their issues.
And there’s little we can do to stop the madness or dodge the bullets. We are sitting ducks and it’s becoming more apparent every day that we need to thank our lucky stars every time we return safely from an outing.
Who is OK with this new normal?
Sure, there was a time when I would point to statistics and note how unusual and, thus unlikely, a mass shooting could be. There was a time I would encourage my daughter to live her life, without fear. There was a time I would “no way” to the very suggestion that someone would open fire on a parade.
Not anymore. Not when children are being eviscerated in their classrooms. Not when young parents are being gunned down as they cheer on members of their own community. Not when a family from Alexandria, Virginia, goes on television to talk about surviving their second such event.
Gun violence has become the leading cause of death among 1- to 19-year-olds in this country, according to the Centers for Disease Control. All of us should ashamed and sickened by that revelation.
And while all of those fatalities are not necessarily the result of a mass shooting, it seems eliminating assault weapons is a good place to start fixing the problem.
When we talk about gun control, the NRA screams about freedom. But what about our freedom to go about our daily lives without fear of being gunned down?
Mass shootings are a public health crisis. And just like COVID, our leaders need to do something to abate them. Regular people are unable to protect themselves from these attacks. We don’t have Kevlar, we don’t have shields. Heck, after the horror at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, we’re not even sure we have law enforcement at the ready.
America has become a war zone. The current laws are akin to using paper plates to shield bullets that can rip apart limbs, organs, lives.
The response to mass shootings is always to throw more money at mental healthcare or school safety hardware. Both great ideas but not if you never address the killing machines.
For crying out loud, the whole world’s airport safety protocols changed after 9/11.
Shouldn’t we apply the same logic to mass shootings?
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Chicago is an amazing city, filled with fabulous things to do all summer long. Across the metropolitan and suburban regions, there are festivals, restaurant patios, sporting events, concerts and lovely walking trails beckoning.
In that sense, we are blessed to have so many activities at or near our doorstep.
If only fear didn’t follow us there.
How many of us now scope out exits at the movies, at restaurants, at church? How many of us wonder if we’d be able to run fast enough or hide effectively should we find ourselves in the line of fire? How many of us cringe at the thought of our children and grandchildren undergoing Active Shooter Safety Drills at school?
And how many of us now debate the merits of a simple outing to the community vintage fair?
Donna Vickroy is an award-winning reporter, editor and columnist who worked for the Daily Southtown for 38 years.