Editorial: Virginia Beach joins tragic list
Hello, Virginia Beach.
Welcome to the club no one wants to join.
Like widows and parents who have lost children, cities that have experienced mass shootings are survivors that must learn to navigate in a new world while muscle memory tries to walk them through the layout of the old.
So this is how it is now, Virginia Beach. Pittsburgh understands. Maybe we can help you find your way.
For one thing, you have to realize that your name will forever be associated with tragedy. You will join a litany of places that erupted in gunfire and death.
Columbine. Virginia Tech. Fort Hood, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Charleston, San Bernardino, Orlando, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Parkland, Pittsburgh, Thousand Oaks. And more and more and more. You will now be mentioned in that same ragged breath. We are so sorry.
Also, you will have no time to mourn.
Right now, your community is in shock, but you don’t get a break to process your grief or your confusion or your fear. This will be especially hard for you as it was your municipal employees — the people who keep your city functioning — who were killed or are pulling themselves back together after surviving Friday’s brutal assault.
But not only do you not get to push pause, you are going to become the star of a terrible show.
The issue of gun violence is real and awful in a way everyone knows academically, but which comes home like a punch to the chest when the blood is on your walls. This knowledge is bad enough. What is worse is becoming the new battlefield in a war.
Until the next shooting, you will be the poster child for those looking to enact new gun laws. At the same time, the gun rights supporters will oppose those calls. You will be roughly yanked in both directions like a child in an ugly custody fight.
They will all be focused on the skirmish. They will forget the casualties — not only the 12 victims, but your whole community. Small details, like your home and the people grieving, will get lost in big picture.
We understand, just like those other places now synonymous with an explosion of rage.
So welcome to the club, Virginia Beach. You are the newest member. But probably not for long.