When Gun Violence Strikes Close to Home
I have written about gun violence and the need for common sense gun regulations many times over the years, most recently after the gun massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. This event was too much to sweep under the rug as we have after past mass shootings. The senseless horror of little children and teachers mowed down in their classrooms at last shocked into action even some legislators previously more afraid of the wrath of the NRA than the anger and sorrow of victims’ families and friends.
Biden held his hearings and Obama announced his gun control “package.” But already we are seeing back sliding. Oh, the commentators say, we can close the gun show loophole, but no way will be be able to get an assault weapon ban passed. As usual, the pro-gun lobby and its constituents are diverting the already short attention span of the public and our polititions by pointing to other things that we really should do instead – you know, report the mentally ill, ban violent videos…anything and everything but ban guns. And we are hearing again the all too familiar refrains…”it’s not guns that kill people, people do”…”if we ban guns then only the bad guys will have guns”…blahblahblah.
There have been at least two other school shootings since Newtown and countless other gun deaths related to domestic violence, gang violence, suicides, and other homicides. Most of these don’t make the headlines or if they do, they are quickly forgotten by a public inured to the tragedy of death by guns. There are simply too many, too often, and besides…it happens to other people, people we don’t know and usually don’t really care about, right? Except when it happens to someone you know….
Today, I got a text from one of my dearest friends. It said her husband’s “brother a urologist was shot and murdered while seeing patients…his brother was an incredible guy so full of life.” Dr. Ronald Gilbert, a husband, father, and respected Southern California urologist was shot to death in his exam room by a patient, Stanwood Elkus, a 75 year old retired barber who was evidently unhappy about the results of a prior prostate surgery. It isn’t yet known if Dr. Gilbert was his surgeon. According to news reports, a neighbor said that Elkus complained about having prostate problems. The neighbor also noted that Elkus hinted that he might not be alive much longer.
So is this another “nut with a gun” case? Hard to say. And does it really matter? This guy was pissed off. He had a gun. He used it to shoot to death my friend’s brother in his medical office. Now a wonderful family has lost a loved one and a whole community is grieving. This has got to stop. People are more important than guns. We need – must have -commonsense gun conrol. Period. End of story.
[My heart felt condolences to Dr. Gilbert's family and friends. I share your grief.]