Mercy Hospital Reveals A Broader Issue With Gun Violence

Mercy Hospital Reveals A Broader Issue With Gun Violence

The debate can go on about gun control, but Mercy Hospital shows us the social dynamics of why shootings happen.


When I previously said that mass shootings seemed to become the norm in American society, I was wrong. They haven't seemed to be the norm. They have. Lately, it's easy to brush off the latest massacre that dominates the headlines. All until it hits close to home.

Just before Thanksgiving, on November 19, 2018, a gunman opened fire at Mercy Hospital on Chicago's South Side, killing 3 people. A police officer, doctor, and pharmacy assistant whose lives have been cut short, serving the city of Chicago, doing their jobs. All three individuals seemed to be great people. Officer Samuel Jimenez hailed from my native Edison Park neighborhood in Chicago. Dr. Tamara O'Neal became a doctor to save the lives of those on the South Side. Dayna Less was a pharmacist that just graduated from Purdue in May.

But what makes the incident at Mercy stand out from other shootings is that the gunman was the ex-fiance of O'Neal. Before pulling the trigger, Juan Lopez confronted O'Neal in the parking lot demanding the engagement ring back. Lopez had a history of violence against women, and was discharged from the Chicago Fire Department academy for being too aggressive.

And thus, the incident at Mercy Hospital should be a call for a better investment in mental health and domestic violence resources, plus expanding the narrative on undoing toxic masculinity.

Mercy has been the first shooting in recent months that has explicitly shown the dangers of saying "no" in abusive relationships. We often ask, "If it's so abusive and toxic, then why don't they just leave?" This incident tells us why, and obligates us to do what we can do to have more candid conversations when it comes to domestic violence.

But yet, Juan Lopez isn't the first mass assailant to have abusive tendencies. Take Elliot Rodger, who in 2014 killed 6 people in California because he thought he was deprived of his supposed right to have sex. Omar Mateen, the shooter of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, had a history of abusing his ex-wife and reportedly had a vendetta against the LGBTQ community out of fear he had HIV. More recently, two women were killed in a yoga studio by a man, Scott Beierle, who had a long digital footprint of misogyny and racism.

And thus, it leaves the question: how does this conversation fit in the scope of gun violence? Well, for one federal law only prohibits domestic offenders against spouses from owning a gun. This regulation should extend to relationships outside of marriage. More can also be done as to regulate the sales of firearms by unlicensed vendors, also known as the "gun show loophole". States can also take initiative and implement similar federal regulations too.

But to the point of this article, it's also important to know that policy alone cannot stop social behaviors. The dialogue must be expanded to the younger generations to check the toxic masculinity that caused the Mercy shooting and the massacres before it. Officer Jimenez, Dr. O'Neal, and Ms. Less did not go to work today thinking they would die. If we keep ignoring the underlying causes of gun violence beyond the issue of guns, then we leave ourselves vulnerable to more unpredictable massacres.

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.

Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.


Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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The Trump Administration Made Me Rethink My Journalism Major

Because hearing "fake news" every day can take its toll on a person.


In a time of crisis and overall political tension, being a journalist has become even more stressful than ever. On November 8, 2016 people around the world saw America at its wildest. As I've graduated from high school and began college within the first two years of 45's presidency, being a journalism major during this time made me rethink if I really wanted this anymore.

When I walked into my first journalism class at UT, it covered the basics. The history of journalism, watchdog journalism, yellow journalism, and multimedia influence. The deeper I got into my studies the more I realized how skewed the American media was/could be. I was tired of turning on my TV or checking into Twitter and seeing Trump's face or his tweets plastered all over my timeline.

Eventually, I found myself disconnecting from media, I stopped watching the news, I didn't check into Twitter as often, I turned off the breaking news notifications on my phone. There was just a period where I was, exhausted. I was tired of the arguments, the fake news outbursts, the constant back and forth between government and the media.

I felt like as a journalism major, I was about to walk into this mess at any given moment, granted I wasn't going into political journalism it still felt like I was going to be involved somehow.

I became so disconnected to the point where I was bombing current events quizzes. I was just tired. The whole idea of being a journalist was to bring the truth to the people, or that's what young Courtney thought it was supposed to be.

As I grow older and continue my degree and pick up different disciplines within my major, I remember that only the strong can put up with all this and still try and bring the news to people day in and day out. Despite the incoherence that America seems to be trapped in and despite the animosity that Americans have towards each other, I still have hope in us. I still have hopes that despite what has happened in the past two years, it will get better. It might take a while. Some things might have to burn to the ground but I know that there is hope.

So, if you're a journalism major or a political science major or whatever, and you feel personally obligated to fix our country, don't worry. We'll get our chance and we're going to get it right.

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