Last weekend, D.C. experienced one of its most violent weekends with gun violence erupting in nearly every quadrant across the city. Most notably was the targeted shooting at a prestigious high school in Northwest by a gunman who police later found dead in a nearby apartment allegedly from self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
It is still important to note that the Edmund Burke School, located on Van Ness Street in Northwest, is also one block away from the Howard University School of Law and across the street from the University of the District of Columbia on Connecticut Avenue. Fortunately, two weeks ago, Howard students were restricted to virtual learning. Luckily for them, they were not on location during the targeted shooting of the sixth through 12th-grade students who come to school from areas across the District. The situation could have been so much worse than with four people – a man, two women and a 12-year-old student – injured with gunshot wounds.
As with most shooting scenes, D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee was present on the scene as was Mayor Muriel Bowser who aimed to calm parents and answer reporters’ questions about yet another chapter in D.C.’s violent and gun-fueled history. Limited to words of consolation, Bowser and Contee are just as perplexed about the answers to address the uptick in gun violence as every other D.C. resident. They see what’s happening as they traverse the city from one violent scene to another.
We commend Mayor Bowser and Chief Contee for continuously going back to the drawing board to seek solutions. D.C. has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. Yet, gun violence continues. Still, this week’s announcement of their latest iteration of a crime-solving solution is steeped in getting guns off the streets in D.C.
Consequently, candidates are focusing on the problem in this political season and charging incumbents with not doing enough to solve it. They proclaim solutions they will implement when they “win the seat.”
We urge any District resident who has the “magic bullet” to end this pandemic of gun violence to begin implementing it now and not use this crisis as a political weapon. A title may provide influence, but the power remains with the people committed to ending gun violence now.