We made the national news again. ABC, CNN, NBC, NPR, The Washington Post, MSNBC, Fox News — they all talked about our downtown shooting Saturday night that left six teens, ages 15 and under, wounded — two critically.
Aside from that, it was a typical beautiful Saturday night until shooting started at about 10:48 in Chattanooga just about a block from the Tennessee Aquarium and riverfront.
Aside from that, there is no aside.
NPR reported Sunday that, according to Gun Violence Archive, at least eight mass shootings took place across the U.S. over the weekend following last week's mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 22 were killed and another 17 were injured at an elementary school by an 18-year-shooter who bought himself two AR-style rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition shortly after his birthday.
But NPR pulled the trigger too soon, reporting its story before the long Memorial Day weekend was over.
Gun Violence Archive, an independent organization that collects data from more than 7,500 sources, by midnight Tuesday morning was reporting more than twice that number — 17 mass shootings in which four or more people were shot or killed (and not including the shooter) since the Texas school massacre.
The tally for those 17 newer mass shootings? Thirteen dead and 74 injured — including our six injuries over the weekend in the 100 blocks of Cherry and Walnut streets.
In addition to Chattanooga, the 17 mass shootings within a week of Uvalde included another Tennessee shooting in Memphis, as well as two shootings in Philadelphia and two in Chicago. There also were mass shootings in Stanwood, Michigan; Anniston, Alabama; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Fresno, California; Malebar, Florida; Taft, Oklahoma; Houston, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; Merced, California; Henderson, Nevada; and Benton Harbor, Michigan.
Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly was on MSNBC Tuesday afternoon with Andrea Mitchell, saying he was "heartbroken and angry and frustrated. As you said of Uvade, you think it can't happen here until it does happen here. It's been a difficult weekend for Chattanooga."
Kelly, who since February has served as a one of 10 co-chairs nationwide for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, told Mitchell that police and city officials "candidly don't know" yet what exactly happened here among these kids to bring about the shooting.
Police have so far said only that the incident began as an altercation between two groups of teenagers, with two people from one group firing shots, targeting one or two people. Police also have said they think the majority of victims were unintended targets and got caught in the crossfire. Officials said they have no information to indicate this was gang-related.
"I think the notable fact was that they were kids," Kelly said. "It's just unthinkable, unspeakable. It's just crazy that we're dealing with kids with guns causing this kind of mayhem in our cities. We're hard at work looking for the primary suspect and thinking about ways we can prevent it in the future."
On Sunday, Kelly lashed out at parents to take more responsibility for ensuring their kids didn't obtain and carry guns. It is illegal in Tennessee and most states for minors to have handguns. And with MSNBC's Mitchell, he noted that thefts from cars have risen precipitously in the last couple of years, and the city is and has been urging people not to leave their guns in cars or to lock them in car gun safes.
What he didn't say in the roughly two minutes he spoke with MSNBC is that Memphis and Chattanooga hold the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively, in America for rates of gun thefts from vehicles, according to Everytown for Gun Safety.
Nor did he say Everytown for Gun Safety, the same group that is affiliated with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, has found cities located in states with particularly weak gun laws are associated with greater rates of gun thefts from cars.
Tennessee, a permitless carry state, in recent years has passed more than one bill to weaken "guns in parking lots" laws, including one that allows employees fired for having a weapon in their car at work to sue their employer.
Tennessee also is one of 35 states that does not require lost or stolen guns be reported to law enforcement, enabling them to investigate and to identify gun trafficking rings.
Bills seeking to make it a crime if you don't safely store your gun have consistently failed, but the state did extend a tax-free holiday on gun safes and gun safety devices.
So, no, it shouldn't be surprising that Tennessee — and Chattanooga — are not spared gun violence and mass shootings.
In fact, Tennessee, five months into this year, already has been the setting of six mass shootings — two in Knoxville and one each in Memphis, Murfreesboro, Jackson and here.
Yes, it's epidemic. And Saturday was far from Chattanooga's first mass shooting rodeo.
Since January 2013, our city has seen 10 mass shootings. Before Saturday night, the last was in September when seven women were shot and two died following a block party on Grove Street near College Hill Courts. Of course, our most deadly mass shooting was the domestic terror attack on U.S. servicemen on Amnicola and Lee highways on July 15, 2015. Five military members were killed and one was injured, along with a responding police officer. The suspect was killed at the scene.
Mayor Kelly is right. It's unthinkable, unspeakable and crazy. It's also at least partly preventable. We just have to be willing to make the effort.