February 16, 2018

Shoot, mourn, repeat

A gunman killed 17 people at a south Florida high school on Wednesday. We are shaken by the news, not only out of sympathy for the victims’ families and terrified survivors, but in the stark realization that murder on an unimaginable scale is possible anywhere.

Even in our schools. Even in our churches. Even in our movie theaters and concert venues.

The intractable problem of gun violence hits close to home no matter where the country’s latest mass shooting takes place. Every parent that says good-bye to their kids in the morning confronts fears for lapses in school safety. And it’s not just children who are at risk. One of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims, Anne Marie Murphy, was a teacher from Katonah.

School administrators and public safety officials work hand in hand to do what they can. Preventive actions are taken, such as the “active shooter drill” performed by first responders last year, using the former Lewisboro Elementary School as a staging ground.

After the Parkland, Florida, shooting, Katonah-Lewisboro Schools Superintendent Andrew Selesnick told KLSD community members in an email that he has “directed our building and district crisis teams to meet in the coming days to review the plans we use to keep our students safe” and to see if any lessons could be learned from Wednesday’s tragedy. He mentioned that families should expect to see a greater police presence “in coming days” and suggested that working together to build “a compassionate, connected community” will help protect our children from similar tragedies recurring.

As Mr. Selesnick’s email circulated, observers were pushing out statistics in news reports and on social media tracing the growing velocity of the gun violence problem in our country.

With the Parkland shooting, three of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern United States history have come in the last five months. According to a nonprofit called Gun Violence Archive, there have been at least 239 school shootings nationwide since a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012. In those incidents, 438 people were shot, 138 of whom were killed. Sixteen of the 239 shootings — which have taken place at sporting events and in parking lots, hallways, cafeterias and classrooms — can be classified as mass shootings, events in which four or more people have been shot, according to the group, which began tracking such events about a year after Sandy Hook.

Shoot, mourn, debate. The cycle repeats with no regard for the human toll that rises with each new incident.

The only good that can come out of another senseless loss of life at the hands of a  deranged gunman is a renewed debate about how to prevent such tragedies in the future. We’ve arrived at this juncture before, of course, and look where it got us: exactly nowhere. The immense national political pressure to maintain the status quo on gun laws holds strong and shows no signs of abating. Fortified by campaign financing from the gun lobby and the hyper-paranoid call to arms in defense of Second Amendment rights, this force continues to suck the air out of every push for change. Even mention of the words “gun control” or “gun violence” remain so toxic politically that, in his remarks addressed at the Parkland community Thursday morning, President Donald Trump chose not to utter the words.

Against this backdrop of more bloodshed and political inertia, Westchester residents who are concerned about gun violence celebrated one minor milestone this week. County legislators on Tuesday voted 12-5 to pass a law banning gun shows on county-owned property, including the Westchester County Center. Will the measure lessen the safety risk in our communities and schools? Marginally at best, but there is something else significant that it does. The new law at least acknowledges that we have a gun violence problem in this country that needs solutions. 

As we scratch our heads wondering why we are so inept as a nation to get traction on the issue, one comment we saw Thursday seems to sums up the frustration that’s on a lot of people’s minds. Actually, it was a question, and that question was, “What is wrong with us?”

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market,Trinity Corners Shopping Center, 55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco, 66 Westchester Avenue    

Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy, Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli, Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell, Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center, 193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    

Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli, Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli, 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)

  3. Meme’s Treats, 17 Adams Street


  1. Little Joe’s Books, 25 Katonah Avenue     

  2. CVS – Katonah Shopping Center, 294 Katonah Avenue   

  3. Katonah Sunoco, 105 Bedford Road

  4. The Reading Room, 19 Edgemont Road

  5. Weinstein’s Pharmacy, 101 Katonah Avenue

  6. DeCicco Family Markets, 132 Bedford Road

  7. Katonah Pharmacy, 202 Katonah Avenue

Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News, 239 Main Street    

Cross River

  1. Cross River Shell Station, Route 35    

  2. Cameron’s Deli. 890 Route 35

  3. Cross River Pharmacy, 20 North Salem Road

  4. DeCicco Family Markets, 1 Orchard Plaza

Goldens Bridge

Cardware Store, 100 N. County Shopping Center

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