Unique Navy Yard perspective

Thoughts from Behind the Pressline

Last week I found myself near the site of the nation’s most recent mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC. I was there attending a community newspaper association meeting, but found a local perspective on the shooting that I would like to share with you this week.

The Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney had the opportunity to sit in on a press conference with Dr. Janis Orlowski, the senior administrator for the district’s largest trauma center after this most recent shooting. Orlowski spoke up at the end of a news conference where she was briefing the media on treatment of people wounded in the Navy Yard shooting, which left 13 dead, including the gunman. In unplanned comments, she used plain, direct language expressing her frustration having seen first hand the destruction in both Chicago and now in the nation’s capital. Orlowski’s news conference came a few hours after she gave notice that she will resign from her positions as chief medical officer and chief operating officer at Medstar Washington Hospital Center.

“I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve walked into the emergency room and seen principally a dead young man lying on the cart. We are violent, we are aggressive, and we kill our own. That’s what I see,” she said. She went on to say, the “senseless trauma” is “something evil in our society.” She urged the public to: “Put my trauma center out of business. . . . I would like to not be an expert on gunshots.”

Dr. Orlowski went on to stress that while she would support stricter gun laws, legislation, she believes, is not the only answer to end this all too often reoccurring event.

“I don’t believe that if you have gun control, then the world is good. I believe it’s a combination of how we view guns, how they’re available in our society, what we do with mental health, what we do with those people who find themselves on the fringes of society,” Orlowski said. To rely only on the government, she said, “is in some ways a cop out.”

Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at dan@newmarketpressvt.com or dan@denpubs.com.

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