Why we can't have anything nice

Tuesday, gun violence dateline

Rick Weiss

2/21/20243 min read

I was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, pecking on my phone, paying half-attention to scenes from the Superbowl Parade in Kansas City last Wednesday. Being a Philadelphian, the only Superbowl Parade we got to enjoy was in 2018. I thought about how fun it was and how the whole city celebrated. Since we live near Philly’s iconic Art Museum, the celebration was right on our doorstep. The best part was seeing the legions of sparkly-eyed kids in their jerseys, off from school, celebrating with their parents, friends and siblings. Making memories they’d tell their own kids about someday. The worst part was having to endure the post-celebration litter which the city did an imperfect job getting rid of. Suddenly the screen flashed out of the corner of my eye. I looked up and saw this. I’d just managed to text this image to Michael and Vijay when the nurse called me.

Later, I started reflecting on how yet another everyday public venue has become a scene of terror for Americans. Schools, churches, synagogues, outdoor concerts, nightclubs, movie theaters, political rallies—there is blood everywhere. We aren’t safe anywhere.

Today, two men, Dominic Miller and Lyndell Mays, were charged with murder in last Wednesday’s shooting They’d begun arguing and that dispute escalated when they both pulled weapons and began firing at each other and into the crowd. Two teenagers were also arrested and their charges are pending.

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A bystander was killed by the gunfire. I actually hate the word bystander. Her name was Elizabeth Galvan. She was a bubbly, fun, respected local radio personality who was prominent in the Kansas City Hispanic community. She was there with her husband and kids. Three of her family members were injured. The killers shot twenty-two people in all, including nine children. How many lives will it take before we no longer live in fear of stepping out our front doors, packing the kids off to school or attending some social gathering we never would have worried twice about even a handful of years ago? There’s no such thing anymore as moving freely through any of the routine activities of American life. Gun anxiety follows us everywhere we go. Every day.

In the meantime, police arrested a 9 year old who shot a family member in Utah today. Three slain first responders in Burnsville, MI were memorialized too. Police arrested a suspect in the University of Colorado dorm room shooting of two college students. This all happened today. Anybody who says “it’s not the guns” has an unusually heavy mental lift today. But today’s just Tuesday. What will Wednesday bring?

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