Editorial

EDITORIAL: Ending Gun Violence Requires Everyone to Get Involved

D.C.’s homicide rate has climbed above 100, surpassing the rate last year at this time.

D.C. is not alone. Gun violence is exploding in cities across the country. It’s terrible and getting worse. So much so that Mayor Muriel Bowser was conspicuously seated next to President Joe Biden recently at a White House meeting with law enforcement, community leaders, and mayors to discuss the crisis and solutions to ending it.

Biden outlined a five-point plan to reduce gun violence. It includes the “crackdown on rogue gun dealers” and creating new strike forces to crack down on illegal gun trafficking.

The president is also seeking to fund, not “defund” the police or “law enforcement” through the American Rescue Plan to hire police and pay them overtime to advance community policing. He plans to invest in intervention programs by engaging “trusted community members” to intervene before violence erupts.

The plan also includes funding mental health and substance abuse disorder programs, job training, and summer job programs. And lastly, his plan will fund programs to support formerly incarcerated people to successfully reenter society with housing, jobs, training, and other support services.

As the president pointed out, there is no “one-size-fits-all” to ending gun violence. And, a question one young person recently asked the mayor continues to reverberate. “How do you get young people who care little about their own lives to care about the lives of others?” Her question was in response to the reluctance of young people to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but her point is also related to the violence impacting the entire community.

Isn’t it amazing how insensitive we have become to the sound of gunshots in our neighborhoods? How we listen briefly for a siren to confirm the gunshots over fireworks weeks after the Fourth of July? How quickly we flip away from a news channel that reminds us daily of the violence surrounding us.

Gun violence is a community crisis that requires a total community-involved solution. Each one can do something to save the life of someone. Only then will our leaders’ plans succeed.

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