Tolerance of Shootings Reflects Dispiriting 'New Normal' in D.C.

By Colbert I. King
Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nearly as many Americans have been wounded in our nation's capital recently as in Iraq. Nine U.S. troops were wounded in Iraq the week of Aug. 11, according to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count.

Just last weekend, the District racked up at least five young people wounded in a flurry of gunfire in far Northeast. Before that, two men were found with gunshot wounds in Southeast on Aug. 10 and 11. A man was found dead last Saturday of multiple gunshot wounds in Northwest. And don't forget the man discovered Aug. 1 in a basement with a gunshot wound to his head.

But why cite Iraq?

Stacked against jurisdictions in the region, the District leads the casualty charts.

Shootouts would have Northern Virginians and Montgomery County residents in an uproar. Not so in the city.

How else to explain the apathetic response to last Saturday's shooting spree near Minnesota Avenue and Grant Street NE?

Bullets flying around as if it was downtown Baghdad, teenagers screaming and running for their lives, ambulances racing to hospitals, and then . . . nothing. The story just evaporates.

Questions that would have other communities churning don't come up in the District, not even in media coverage.

Last Saturday, 150 kids, including members of rival gangs, congregated at a city block party. Sponsored by whom? Where was the adult supervision? Was enough security on hand?

One hundred and fifty kids equals 300 mothers and fathers. Where were the parents? How many of them knew about the event or where their children were? Did they think the event was a good idea? Did they even care?

And the gunmen?

Goody, you can imagine a TV anchor saying. "Nobody's dead. Now on a lighter note . . ."

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