Ubiñas: Calling all faces of Philly gun violence

I CAN FEEL the moment slipping through our fingers, and I just can't have it. Not without at least pausing to acknowledge the relentless daily drip of gun violence in Philadelphia.

So I have an idea - I'll get into that in a moment.

For a little while, the world seemed to stop as we recoiled from the latest mass shooting. This time, in a popular gay nightclub in Orlando on June 12.

We cried.

We prayed.

We yelled:

Enough is enough! Something must be done!

And then, a week after the deadliest mass shooting in modern history by a lone gunman, the Senate voted down four gun-policy measures.

The sound of defeat is deafening and depressing. How many times have we been here, thinking that this time something might be done?

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia and many other American cities, the death toll of mostly black and brown young men continues to climb without much notice, as it always does.

As of Monday, 523 people had been shot this year in Philly, compared to 448 at the same time last year. We've had 120 homicides so far, and summer has just begun.

As Scott Charles, trauma director at Temple University Hospital, recently tweeted, "If most Americans were as alarmed by daily gun violence as high-profile mass shootings, maybe we'd make progress."

Maybe.

At the very least, for however long - or short - the nation's attention is focused on gun violence, we need to take this fleeting opportunity to talk about the everyday, "regular" violence that goes ignored.

Not our neighborhood.

Not our children.

Not our problem.

People feel that way for a lot of reasons - racial, economic, emotional.

But it is our problem.

So I'm asking those who have been impacted by gun violence to gather on the Art Museum steps at 6 p.m. Thursday for a group photo.

I want to turn our lens - and our attention - to gunshot victims and the friends and families who have lost loved ones to the everyday gun violence that doesn't engender the passion and calls for change that mass shootings do.

Why? Because, stupid me, naive me, secretly optimistic me, I don't want the nation to move on to the next massacre, to summer vacation, to dinner, before we at least remind ourselves that gun violence doesn't always come in soul-shattering numbers. That often, the loss comes individually, on streets and neighborhoods we dismiss, sometimes without so much as a mention in a local newspaper, let alone every national news outlet.

Maybe only one person will show up at the Art Museum steps. Maybe 10. Maybe 10,000, someone suggested. I'm optimistic, not delusional. And I'm negotiating with Mother Nature to keep it together Thursday night. But if she doesn't and the weather is bad, we have a Plan B. I'll let you know.

As I write this, the television over my shoulder is broadcasting a short piece about a potential compromise gun bill, before quickly turning to news about yet another arrogant local politician being convicted by the feds, and the latest weather forecast.

Can you feel it? We're already moving on. But before we do, we should at least bear witness to the victims of gun violence in this city standing together, reminding us of their loss and, in turn, of ours.

ubinas@phillynews.com

215-854-5943

@NotesFromHel

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