As a blog writer, I check Twitter throughout the day to see what people are talking about. Today, to my surprise, I saw that Baltimore County was a trending topic. What could have happened to make my county the talk of Twitterville?
Then I saw that there had been a shooting at Perry Hall High School. This was the first day of school. What could have caused this act of violence was my first question.
As I watched the local news I was struck by some of the parent reactions. So many of them repeated the familiar refrain, “I can’t believe that this could happen here.” It is fascinating that we are so naïve when it comes to the issue of gun violence. Sure, if the shooting had happened in a Baltimore City school it would have been news, but many among us would not blink because we still associate violence with urban areas and not in the quiet enclaves of suburbia.
We have all heard about what is going on in Chicago. Chicago is in the midst of one of their deadliest summers. People are being mowed down daily with impunity, but that’s Chicago. That could not happen here. At what point do we accept the sad fact that violence does not know a zip code, and it happens everywhere?
A few weeks ago we saw an angry young man take a gun to a movie theater and go on a shooting spree that left 12 people dead and dozens more injured. Now when I go into a theater I check for the exits in the event that I have to make a speedy exit. That one act made me feel a vulnerability that I had never felt before, and that violent act necessitated a change of behavior for me.
This past Friday, we witnessed a disgruntled worker shoot and kill his former co-worker, and the police in their efforts to subdue him, injured nine innocent bystanders in the process. So what do all of these things have in common? They all involve the irresponsible use of guns. No, I am not advocating gun control, I am just saying gun violence can happen anywhere, and we just need to stop deluding ourselves and simply try to be prepared.