Let’s remember all victims of gun violence

Witnessing the response to the Highland Park shooting, who could help but reflect on the steady stream of nightly news picturing the latest round of dead and wounded in other parts of our area — often, children caught in random gunfire.

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A “Highland Park STRONG” sign is displayed during a vigil at Sunset Woods Park for the victims of the Fourth of July parade shooting.

A “Highland Park STRONG” sign is displayed during a vigil at Sunset Woods Park for the victims of the Fourth of July parade shooting.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

The mass shooting in Highland Park is a stark reminder that nowhere in this country are we safe from the deadly combination of guns and hatred; or is it guns and mental illness? What does it matter? It is frightening.

But it is also an amazing testimony to the ability of a community to find in that tragedy the courage to come together to support one another. The money raised, almost immediately, is an astounding example of selflessness, compassion, and a belligerent refusal to allow fear and sorrow to have the last word.

And yet . . .

Who witnessing that response could help but reflect on the steady stream of nightly news picturing the latest round of dead and wounded in other parts of our area? Often, it’s children caught in random gunfire.

Black and Brown mothers shaking with grief.

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Occasionally there are GoFundMe efforts in those neighborhoods also. For burial costs; for $5,000; occasionally for more. Or rewards of $50,000 for information leading to . . . .

We will all forever be inspired by the generosity displayed by our neighbors for the victims of the Highland Park shootings.

And yet . . .

Thomas J. Shannon, Lakeview 

Stopping carjackings will take more than laws

There is merit in the legislation proposed in the story, Dart, legislators want to enlist automakers in curbing carjackings,” but these efforts do not go far enough to immediately deter and discourage this crime. The “three-pronged approach” of a 24-hour hotline that law enforcement can use to find stolen vehicles, putting more state troopers on the roads, and beefing up cooperation between law enforcement agencies in addition to stiffer penalties will not be enough.

As a trauma surgeon, I personally worked with this demographic (carjacking suspects), and this has allowed me to be very familiar with their mindset. They are victims of social and racial inequality in neighborhoods where opportunities are slim to none. Often, they are very young and do not want any part of jail or prison, and immediate deterrents would resonate with them and shift their focus, hopefully, to education. If the “War on Drugs” is any example, legislative attempts to curb this crime will not have an impact. We need to prevent these crimes, not just deal with the consequences afterward.

Anti-carjacking devices are preemptive and legislators should consider this avenue a priority. The technology exists to deploy a system in a car that will render the car unusable, to collect evidence via a camera and to use real-time GPS tracking for vehicle recovery, all of which can be controlled by a cell phone or key fob. This also puts a high priority on the victim’s quick exit to safety. 

The simultaneous use of technology and the judicial arm appears to be the most prudent and effective path. Concentrating only on legislation will be ineffective and slow, resulting in unnecessary loss of life, personal injury and vehicle theft. The average loss per theft is around $7,000 per vehicle and totals about $6 billion per year.

Legislation is necessary, but prevention and deterrence is also required.

Dr. William Yates, MD, FACS, New Eastside

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