In Baltimore, everyday echoes of mass shootings

The recent mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin have once again brought the issue of gun control to the forefront of American political debate ("Sikh gathering Baltimore had just finished when 'terrible news of shooting at Wisconsin temple broke,'" Aug. 5 ). Although fatal gun violence in Baltimore has declined, an unacceptable number of Baltimore's youth suffer this ill-fated demise.

As a medical student at Johns Hopkins, I have seen the unfortunate Baltimore men and women who have been victims of gun violence. I have seen victims of domestic disputes, hate crimes and robberies come into the emergency department where often-futile efforts to resuscitate ensue — hours of chest compressions and pints of blood to reverse something that could have been prevented.

I have seen the tears of stunned family members, whose shattered lives that cannot be conveyed by homicide statistics. The violence must stop.

Though mass murders by deranged or bigoted individuals make for bigger news, we must not forget the many individual lives that are lost daily here in Baltimore. Whether one life is taken or many, the steps we must take to address this problem are the same: Legislation to keep guns off the street or, better yet, banned altogether.

Ani Ramesh, Baltimore

The writer is a fourth-year medical student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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