What, exactly, is it going to take for we as a people to combat the epidemic of gun violence that has become woven into the very fabric of American life?
If we’ve learned one thing from the proliferation of firearms in the last decade it is that an armed society is sure as heck not a polite society. It is a dangerous and reckless society.
We read or hear about acts of random gun violence daily, to the point where the sheer awfulness of these events barely moves the needle. Even mass shootings are routine in American life. We have come to accept that we must train school children how to act in the event of a mass shooting.
Twenty years ago, if you told some high schooler that their kids would be doing active shooter drills, they would have thought you were insane.
Many of the gun violence victims – more often than not innocent bystanders in the wrong place at the wrong time –are unknown to us. On June 23, that reality came home when Jose Alejandro Medina was shot while hanging out with friends next to their classic cars on the western border of a park on Chicago’s Southwest Side.
The car owners, who’d just wrapped up a car show at Morton College, had picked the location specifically because it was a quiet, out-of-the-way spot. Industrial buildings were closed up for the night and that stretch of Kilbourn Avenue was tucked away from homes.
Yet, gun violence found them. Car owners scrambled for cover and then quickly left the area, many not knowing anyone had been shot. But one of those rounds found Medina, who died three days later at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn.
A Riverside family is without a husband and father. Medina’s five siblings have lost a brother, and his parents have lost their son.
Police are said to be investigating the case. Eight shell casings were recovered at the scene, but the police report noted that no one could describe the shooter.
Another life lost to senseless gun violence.