hould do something about all its shootings.
I use the vague word “something” because it’s better than the vague word “nothing,” which is what America currently does about all its shootings.
Come to think of it, “all its shootings” is a bit vague as well, which is fine, as it can apply to any day in a country where gun violence comes steady like a clock’s tick-tock.
So let’s look at a recent weekend. It was what we of the shootings-are-bad-and-shouldn’t-happen-so-often belief call “exceedingly not good.”
We’ll start in Chicago, where two men were shot and killed and 21 other people injured in less than 24 hours stretching from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon. From 5 p.m. Friday to the end of the weekend, nearly 40 people were shot and at least eight killed.
An 18-year-old was shot five times in the Near South Side neighborhood. A 15-year-old boy was shot in the leg in Garfield Park. A 16-year-old in Rogers Park was shot in the leg.
In the village of Park Forest south of Chicago on Sunday, four people were injured by gunfire outside a theater.
Moving to the East Coast, gunshots tore apart a crowded New Jersey mansion party late Saturday night, leaving two dead and at least a dozen others wounded, some critically.
The New York Daily News reported:
“Gruesome video posted to social media showed panicked scenes of the shooting’s aftermath, with some people gathered around bleeding victims lying on the ground while others raced to get away.
“Partygoers ran through neighboring yards, looking for places to hide, and cars crashed into each other as drivers tried to speed away.
“’Oh my God, he’s gone,’ a woman could be heard wailing as police officers performed chest compressions on a bloodied victim.”
Back to the Midwest.
At a bar in Youngstown, Ohio, three people were killed and three more wounded early Sunday morning outside the Torch Club Bar & Grille. Police said the shootings stemmed from an “incident” that began in the bar.
Youngstown television station WKBN reported that two nearby residents had bullets fly into their homes during the shooting.
“It was not something that should happen,” one of the residents told WKBN.
That’s correct. It’s not something that should happen. But it does. And America, bafflingly, does nothing.
Let’s stay in Ohio—in Columbus to be exact. Late Saturday night, a 16-year-old girl was shot and killed and five other young people were wounded by gunshots at a concert in downtown Columbus.
Now back to the East Coast, to North Charleston, South Carolina, on the same night, where a shooting at another concert left 14 people wounded and a 14-year-old dead.
According to CNN, North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess spoke at a Sunday news conference and said the community is mourning a girl who will “never have an opportunity to see a prom, never have the opportunity to graduate, never have an opportunity to enter college or the military or get a job.”
Does any of this sound normal?
It shouldn’t. But it is.
Shootings are everywhere and always. They are here in Chicago, every day. They are in other big cities and in small towns and at workplaces and downtown pavilions and at parties and bars and malls and churches and theaters and quiet suburban cul-de-sacs and beaches and parks and seemingly any location your mind can conjure.
And yet, America does nothing. We talk gun control, or mental health, or people needing more religion or better education or better schools or better jobs or more cops. Or maybe all those things.
And then nothing happens.
One of the people killed at the New Jersey party was 30-year-old Kevin Elliot. His cousin, Eric Elliot, told the Daily News this: “I would have never expected for someone like him to get shot. But what can you expect when you have a party with hundreds of people?”
Swirl that question around in your head a bit.
At a party with hundreds of people, in a normal, civilized country, it shouldn’t be expected that anyone is going to get shot. Ever.
The fact that a shooting can be seen as a foregone conclusion is a slobber-knocker of an indictment of America here in the year 2021.
There’s nothing about any of that weekend’s shootings that should be deemed acceptable. To anyone. Yet it barely registers a blip on America’s outrage radar.
So I’ll again present my edgy thought: Maybe America should do something about all its shootings.
Try everything. Treating it as normal defies logic. And living with it rots our souls.
Rex Huppke is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune and a noted hypocrisy enthusiast. You can email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @RexHuppke.)