Storm Clouds

Here’s a question that stopped me in my tracks while mindlessly strolling through Twitter in the wee hours last week.

“How much worse can things get in a country where the population is armed to the teeth and conditioned to live in a constant paranoid state of fear?”

Below the question were these two photos…



A 16-year-old is shot through a screen on a front door, then the 84-year-old assailant opens the door and shoots him again. The young man, Ralph Yarl, gets up and goes to THREE houses to get help because no one would help him. When he went to the fourth house, the owner ordered him to lay face down on the ground with his hands behind his back before calling 911. Doctors treating the teenager say they have no idea how he survived. He was shot in the head and arm when he went to pick up his siblings and knocked on the wrong door.

Meanwhile, across the country in Hebron N.Y., a 65-year-old man is charged with second degree murder after he allegedly shot and killed a 20-year-old woman April 15 after the car she was in mistakenly drove up the man’s driveway.

She was looking for a friend’s house on a dark street. Her friend pulled into the wrong driveway. It cost Kaylin Gillis her life.

Can you imagine? 20 years old….

Something’s very wrong in our society.

According to the BBC, there have been at least 160 mass shootings across the U.S. so far this year.

It’s only April.

In each of the last three years, there have been more than 600 mass shootings, almost two a day on average according to the Gun Violence Archive.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Statistics Canada and the Australian Institute of Criminology, in the United States 79 percent of homicides are gun-related, in Canada that figure is 37 percent, it’s 4 percent in the UK and 13 percent in Australia, according to 2020 numbers.

But this blog isn’t going to be a screed for or against guns. That’s been done before and very little has changed. Personally, I believe in the right to bear arms, but I also believe in reasonable gun control measures— like a strong majority of Americans according to polls I’ve seen.

But no amount of carnage seems to change things. If you think guns are the problem; you are frustrated because legislators never seem to do anything meaningful. And if you think people are the problem, you’re likely to be frustrated as well, because we don’t see any action on addressing the underlying issues that cause people to be violent.

It seems like nobody ever changes their mind.

And that should give us all pause.

A society, like a person, that can’t change its mind, can’t learn or grow.

Regardless of where you stand, I think we all have a sense that something very fundamental is amiss. But we don’t seem to do anything but offer thoughts and prayers until the memory of the most recent tragedy is replaced by a new atrocity.

The political class isn’t listening to large swaths of the public and consequently we don’t seem to be solving our problems or seizing opportunities. Our parties can’t work together and that’s a big problem for America.

Service, solutions and sense, the common kind, seem to have left the building.

The headlines that shout violence and death come so fast and frequent that we grow numb. And numb is not a good state of mind. Numbness enables a lot of bad things to go unchecked.

Can it happen here?

I think we all know that answer.

I know friends who now scan the horizon when they shop, dine, or attend an event. Their inner voice asks: “is today going to be my unlucky day?”

As I write this, I just got a Google Alert for Delray Beach.

“Delray Beach Police Searching for Suspect Who Shot Teen” shouts the alert.

Police said a teenage boy was found shot in a parking lot of the Village at Delray apartments in the 600 block of Auburn Avenue. The victim was taken to the hospital by Delray Beach Fire-Rescue. The shooter was still at large.

When I decided to check to see if there was an update, I turned to the Delray Beach Police Department’s Facebook page and I learn that a 77-year-old woman was shot by an unknown assailant while sitting on her balcony in Village Square, less than half a mile from the other shooting. Fire Rescue took her to the trauma unit at Delray Medical Center where she was listed in critical condition. The teen was paralyzed from the chest down.

Here is where I usually try to end with something hopeful and uplifting, but today I just can’t find those words.

I’m not numb, but I am raw.

Anyone who witnessed the shooting of the teen or has information about the shooter should contact Detective Kyle Kinney at (561) 243-7828. You can remain anonymous.

Anyone with information on the shooting of the 77-year-old grandmother is asked to call Sgt. Casey Kelly at 561-243-7890.



  1. Annette Jackson says

    Lots of people I talk to feel powerless at this point in time. How can you not when the the powers that be don’t listen to their constituents. Unfortunately many things don’t change until something bad happens to a political bigwig or their family. Then it’s all hands on deck. Sad state of affairs Jeff!

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