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Our view: Expect more gun violence

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It happened in a lovely neighborhood of mostly single-family dwellings and town homes.

On Thursday, a 15-year-old boy in Hedingham, a residential area of Raleigh adjacent to the Neuse River Greenway Trail, got a gun and started shooting. He killed five people and injured two more.

Among his victims was a woman who was standing on the porch of her house talking to a neighbor, a woman who was walking her dog and an off-duty police officer.

They also included the shooter’s 16-year-old brother.

He was an equal-opportunity killer. The victims were of different races and ranged in age from 16 to their late 50s.

After the initial burst, the boy — dressed in camouflage and armed with a shotgun, according to 911 callers — ran to the greenway and continued shooting. Eventually he ran again, eluding a police search that encompassed 2 miles and several hours, before eventually being cornered in a home and arrested. He was taken to a hospital for undisclosed injuries and is now reportedly in critical condition.

There were also three weekend shootings in Winston-Salem, one involving a juvenile, and we’re fortunate, if you want to call it that, that they weren’t worse. They so easily could have been — as demonstrated in Raleigh.

Not much is known at this point about the boy. There are going to be pointed questions in the future, including how the hell did he get his hands on a gun?

The shooting drew the attention of many public officials, including President Biden, N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore, N.C. Senate Leader Phil Berger, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis and Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson. They expressed their sorrow and many offered their prayers, as they do.

“Enough,” President Biden said. “We’ve grieved and prayed with too many families who have had to bear the terrible burden of these mass shootings.”

Gov. Roy Cooper called the shooting an “infuriating and tragic act of gun violence.” He added: “No neighborhood, no parent, no child, no grandparent, no one should feel this fear in their communities — no one.”

We agree with the sentiment. But in a more practical sense, no one should feel safe — not when churches, grocery stores, concert arenas, schools or even front porches and walking trails are open shooting ranges. Not when guns are profligate and easy to obtain in our state and our nation and one of our major political parties works to maintain that status quo.

No apologies: We support the Second Amendment — especially the “well-regulated” part that so many politicians and gun-rights activists ignore.

We don’t support the Republican purge, at the NRA’s command, of reasonable restrictions that provide us all with some measure of safety, which leads to more deaths, for which these officials are never held to account. We don’t support the obfuscation, the misdirection, the bumper-sticker slogans and fear-mongering used to keep guns too readily available.

This makes 532 mass shootings so far in 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

We all sit up and pay attention when mass shootings like this occur. They get a lot of publicity and generate a lot of talk.

But gun violence, often involving young people, occurs every day in America. And attempts to mitigate the resultant deaths — to regulate gun ownership and institute safety measures — are portrayed by Republican officials as intrusions on personal liberties.

Never mind the dead children — we’ve got to get the price of gas down.

Following the shooting in Raleigh, neighbors rallied to support and comfort each other. A scheduled fall festival was rearranged to be a vigil for those lost. A memorial adorned with flowers and photos of the dead sprouted. Candles were lit and songs sung. People cried.

What else could they do?

This will not change until enough of these gun deaths turn enough citizens into activists who demand better from their leaders.

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