Ladies and Gentlemen, I ask you, what the hell is wrong with America? Has the time come when we, as a nation, have to confront the possibility of being shot every time we go to a public gathering?

Lest you forget, last week, it was the shooting in pastor Joel Osteen’s megachurch in Houston. The shooter, in that case, was a mentally ill woman with a lengthy criminal record who had a history of being placed under emergency detention in the past because of her erratic behavior. There was a sticker with the word “Palestine” on the rifle she used in the attack. Her seven-year-old son, who she brought along with her that day, remains in critical condition, clinging to life after being shot in the head. It is not clear whether he was shot by his mother or the off-duty police officers that killed her. Police say the motive for the attack still remains unclear.

The gun smoke had barely cleared from that event when it happened again.

In a sad turn of events that starkly contrasted with the day’s earlier festivities, Kansas City was enveloped in chaos and sorrow as celebrations for the Chiefs’ Super Bowl triumph over the 49ers were marred by gunfire. On a day meant for victory laps and fan adoration and maybe a beer or two, the city found itself grappling with a sudden outbreak of violence so intense that it left one person dead and over twenty injured. 

Victory Turns to Vigil

It’s likely that we’ve all, at one time or another, enjoyed a parade celebrating our favorite sports team’s triumphs. On this particular Wednesday, the scene was set for a day of partying, with fans decked out in Chiefs gear, brandishing signs and flags supporting their champions. However, as the rally at Union Station drew to a close around 2 p.m., shots rang out, dispersing the crowd into a frenzy of fear and confusion that is all too common. Eyewitness videos captured the immediate aftermath, showing first responders tending to victims while police swarmed the area. An estimated million fans gathered to partake in the festivities were suddenly enveloped in a scenario far removed from the day’s intended celebrations.

Were people afraid? Of course. Were they saddened? Again, yes. But were they surprised? Perhaps not, and that’s a certain kind of tragedy all on its own.

A Community in Mourning

The toll was heavy: 21 people, including children as young as 8, were rushed to local hospitals, with several in critical condition. Killed by the gunmen was 43-year-old Lisa Lopez-Galvan, a beloved local radio DJ, huge KC Chief fan, and mother of two. Remembered for her vibrant personality and warmth, Lopez-Galvan’s death has been felt deeply within the community, a bleak reminder of the day’s senseless violence.