Another attempted shooting. Another maniac with a gun. This one was practically in my backyard.
The gunman fired five shots from the top of the Starlite Motel on Melrose Avenue, a little more than ten minutes from my home. No one was hurt, thank heaven, and the suspect is now in custody.
Naturally, because no one was hurt, this won’t make the national news. It won’t be a media circus like with the Virginia Tech shooting in Blacksburg seven years ago. I remember that one well… I had classmates in college who lost friends during that shooting. My dad, an Episcopal minister, threw news crews out of the church down there when he found them trying to get interviews with the grieving families, and refused to let them back in. I was so proud of him when I heard…
But yeah. Another nutcase with a rifle. This one in my own stinking city. I’m always shocked and dismayed and depressed when stuff like this happens, but this time I’m angry. Again, no one was hurt, but what if that wasn’t the case? What if Roanoke turned into another Sandy Hook, or Aurora, or Columbine?
You want to know why I think we need tougher gun control laws? It’s exactly because of things like this. If people like the Melrose gunman can get their hands on high-powered rifles, the same thing will keep happening. I’ve just received proof first-hand that it can happen anywhere, even in my quiet little city in the mountains.
My mother was at a book club meeting when the shots were fired. Right now, as I type this, I’m getting goose bumps. I think she even drove down Melrose Avenue to get there. If she had been late, in the wrong place at the wrong time… I can’t even contemplate that.
The police blocked traffic for a long stretch on her way home, so she was late getting in, but she’s all right. A few minutes ago, I went upstairs and hugged her.
So now I sit here, writing these words, my sense of security shattered. It happened in my city. In my city. It can happen anywhere.
And if we continue to do nothing, to let the NRA and their cronies enforce our current, utterly broken gun control system, it’ll happen in your city too.