According to the American Public Health Association, gun violence in the US is a public health crisis and the leading cause of premature death in the country, responsible for more than 38,000 deaths annually. As of Nov. 23, at least 39,717 people have died from gun violence this year, and another 21,582 have died by suicide, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive. There have been 608 mass shootings so far this year.
When healthcare professionals called for gun control in 2018, the National Rifle Association tweeted for them to “stay in their lane.” It’s very much in their lane, however, because of the time, care, and resources they expend trying to save lives. More than 100 people — many of them healthcare workers — are involved in the treatment of a victim from the moment they ‘re shot at the moment they’re released from a hospital.
Sentara Norfolk General Hospital is a level one trauma center, Michael Hooper, vice president and chief medical officer, told reporters on Wednesday, and it’s prepared for incidents like the Walmart shooting.
“Unfortunately, we deal with events like this very frequently,” he said.
But it takes a toll.
“It’s always disheartening when you see unnecessary violence on this level,” said Tracey Chandler, a clinical nurse manager at the hospital.
As news of the shooting at the Walmart broke, many on social media shared their dread at seeing yet another mass casualty event. People had only begun to grieve the deaths at Club Q when another shooting grabbed headlines. It prompted new calls to action, and renewed despair over the number of lives lost.
Brett Cross, whose 10-year-son Uziyah Garcia was killed in the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead, tweeted that each mass shooting takes a toll on him.