One of the biggest drivers of the COVID response in many large cities was the concern that there would be so many seriously affected pandemic patients that hospitals would begin running out of ICU beds and ventilators to treat them. That actually happened in New York and a few other places when the virus reached its peak last year. But in Philadelphia, doctors have been dealing with a different sort of epidemic that’s producing similar strains on the healthcare system. There have been so many shootings taking place since early last summer, that critical care facilities were being strained on top of the already burgeoning number of COVID patients. CBS Philadelphia recently interviewed the surgeon-in-chief for Temple University Health System, who lamented that while we have finally developed vaccines and treatments to tame the pandemic, “there is no vaccine for gun violence.”
Here in Philadelphia, gun violence continues to take lives. Trauma centers in all parts of the city are stressed by the increase in gunshot victims.
“We have recognized for the longest time that gun violence is a public health crisis. So seeing COVID-19 and the increase in gun violence kind of side by side reinforces to us for sure that it is a public health crisis and we need to address it in the same way,” said Dr. Amy Goldberg, surgeon-in-chief for Temple University Health System. “Thank goodness there are cures now for COVID-19, there’s treatments, there are vaccines. No cure for gun violence, no vaccine for gun violence.”
Last year, nearly 500 people were killed and more than 2,200 were shot in Philadelphia.
Almost five hundred dead and over 2,200 with gunshot wounds take up a lot of hospital bed space over the course of the year. With that in mind, the doctor’s complaints are not out of bounds.
Liberals in the City of Brotherly Love are already taking up her remarks as a signal to push for more gun control laws. That’s a completely false conflation of the statistics, of course. The vast majority of gun crimes in Philadelphia and across the rest of the nation are committed using illegal handguns. The buyers of these weapons, frequently gang members, obtain their guns on the black market or through strawman purchases. They do not submit to background checks or follow mandatory gun storage or carrying restrictions. Why? Because they are criminals.
That’s not much comfort to the rising number of victims, however. Just yesterday, Philadelphia police responded to a double shooting that left one person dead and another in critical condition. More than 40 shell casings were recovered at the scene. While the investigation is ongoing, some witnesses suspected that the two men were gangbangers shooting at each other.
On Wednesday, one officer was injured and a suspect was killed when a routine traffic stop turned out to involve a car with multiple suspects inside who had outstanding criminal warrants. One of the suspects opened fire from inside the vehicle when they were asked to step out of the car. (This may serve as another reminder for the people who want to “abolish the police” and have civilians with clipboards handle traffic control duty.)
Monday was a particularly bloody night, with one man being ambushed and killed while walking with his girlfriend by as many as four gang members who jumped out of a minivan and took him down without provocation in what the police described as a “hail of gunfire.” Two other gunshot victims died that same night in other locations while more than a dozen others were shot.
Just this morning, three people were shot outside of an after-hours club in the city. All were taken to the hospital. And all of this happened in a single week. Philadelphia has a bigger problem to deal with than COVID. They have a gang problem and a weakened, defunded police force. And more gun control laws aren’t going to change this situation at all. They need more cops and an administration that supports them.
You can watch the interview with Dr. Goldberg here.