What could have saved Cynthia Trevillion?
The answer is simple.
Guns are for killing. If there were no guns on the streets, there would be a lot less killing.
Last Friday night in Rogers Park, the gun did its job when a stray bullet fired by someone in a dark-colored SUV killed the 64-year-old schoolteacher.
What could have saved this woman?
Prayers? Meetings? Marches?
As of Oct. 15, there were 548 gun deaths in the city, compared to 584 this time last year, and 2,339 shooting incidents compared to 2,813 this time in 2016.
The numbers may be going down, but the circumstances surrounding the shootings are shocking.
I don’t know whether it was Trevillion’s occupation, or her age, or the location where this homicide occurred that shook me up, but I was stunned.
Like pastors, teachers are often seen as untouchable in the community.
Trevillion worked as a middle school math teacher at Chicago Waldorf School and was a member of the school’s faculty for more than 30 years.
On Friday night, Trevillion and her husband, John, were walking to the Morse Red Line CTA station around 6:30 p.m. when shots rang out.
They both hit the ground, but Trevillion had been struck in the neck and head.
What could have saved her?
More police? More community engagement? More cameras?
Whenever an innocent person is gunned down, there are always calls for more this or that.
But police can’t be on every corner, cameras help after the fact and community organizations can’t stop a bullet.
A 22-year-old man was shot dead at 67th and Jeffery on Sunday morning, during the 11:00 a.m. hour when people are filing into churches.
Later that night, in the far South Side Rosemoor neighborhood, another woman was shot dead on her front porch. Simone McKay was a biology major at Chicago State University and a part-time employee with Chicago Public Schools.
These shooting incidents are chilling because the victims could have been any one of us.
67th and Jeffery, where the 22-year-old was gunned down, is a busy intersection.
At any given time, a dozen or more people are waiting for CTA buses on the corner, and cars are pulling out of two gas stations.
McKay was shot about a block away from Chicago State University, and a short distance from CTA’s bustling 95th Street L Station.
Frankly, there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.
The only way to significantly reduce gun violence is to drastically restrict gun ownership.
I know that sounds sacrilegious to some in light of the Second Amendment.
But after a mass shooting in Australia in 1996, where 35 people were killed and 23 wounded, the country did just that.
The government “banned automatic and semiautomatic firearms, adopted new licensing requirements, established a national firearms registry, and instituted a 28-day waiting period for gun purchases, and bought and destroyed more than 600,000 civilian-owned firearms,” The Atlantic reported.
It only took months to implement the sweeping reform, and there hasn’t been a massacre in Australia since.
In an interview with the Washington Post after the Las Vegas massacre, Australia’s former deputy prime minister, Tim Fischer, said “U.S gun laws have to change.” He also advised Australians to stop traveling to the United States unless necessary — because of the threat of gun violence.”
After the worst gun massacre in this America’s history — 58 killed and 500 injured in Las Vegas — I had hoped both political parties would be ready to support stricter gun laws.
But the only serious proposal to emerge thus far is tighter control on bump stocks that allowed Stephen Paddock to turn his stockpile of semiautomatics into fully automatic guns.
That’s just lip service.
Worse yet, it would do nothing to protect people from random shooters.
What could have saved Trevillion?
We know the answer.
We just don’t have the will to make it happen.