Op-Ed: The pandemic, Hurricane Ian and me — a doctor whose friends say I have PTSD after the shooting
It’s an unusual week. On Wednesday, the city celebrated Columbus Day with a parade and parade float by members of the Fire Dept. I’m not a Columbus Day fan, but, on occasion, we do celebrate our country’s history.
On Thursday, the city celebrated the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia and Racism (IDAHTR), in a huge street festival that featured drag queens, burlesque, jugglers, acrobats and more.
And on Friday, the city will celebrate International Workers Day with a fun day full of parades, marches, concerts, festivals, and events.
But even as I try to celebrate and enjoy our local events, my thoughts inevitably turn to the shootings this week that left nine people dead, the victims of the worst mass shooting in the history of the city.
I know that, in my heart, I cannot separate the shooting victims from the city. I feel the pain of their families. I’ve lost a few friends to senseless gun violence and I am deeply saddened by the loss of lives due to the coronavirus, and even more saddened because of my own fears of infection.
I thought it was important to share my own experiences of gun violence, including when I was a kid, when I was in college and when I was in medical school. I wanted to share how those experiences shaped me and where I am now. And I hope my story will shed some light on the current gun violence epidemic and how we can make this a better city.
I grew up in the small town of Lake Orion, in central Illinois. It’s a small town — population 1,050 — with a population spread of 20 miles in each direction.
Lake Orion is in Boone County, about an hour away from the state capital of Springfield. Lake Orion is a picturesque town with lots of historic buildings. It sits at the base of the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River and the town’s namesake lake.
Lake Orion is an unusual place in that it was settled primarily by Irish Americans. The county has a large Irish population dating back to