It is that special time of year when people all over America sing with cheer, exchange gifts with loved ones, and count their many blessings.
But here in the federal city — this little cradle of liberty called Washington, D.C. — we celebrate a little differently. We go on a mad little gun spree shooting one another.
Over the past week, D.C. has seen 15 people shot in at least a dozen different incidents. More than half of them were killed.
All of this is actually really odd, considering that guns are outlawed here. The only way to legally obtain a gun is to take courses that are not offered and submit to background checks that are not made. Then you can purchase a gun from a licensed D.C. gun dealer that does not exist.
Then you have to go down to the police station to be fingerprinted like some kind of criminal. And then pray that in all the bureaucratic genius worthy of a police department that can’t get the right name of a man it fatally shot (really!), the city government doesn’t misfile your prints into the file of some kind of serial child rapist.
So, like I said, guns are banned here. Which really makes you wonder how 15 people got shot since Christmas Eve. Perhaps it was all stray gunfire from over in Virginia, those scary, gun-toting rednecks!
But that seems highly unlikely. I just got back from several days in Southern Virginia where absolutely everybody has guns. They are leaning behind the front door, hanging over the mantle, under the bed, and in the glove box. Yet the whole time I was there, no one got shot! Guess it’s just not part of the Christmas tradition down there.
Here in D.C., we don’t just celebrate with gun play, either. We also like to bring out the knives for the holidays.
Over the weekend, a crazed knife nut in a trenchcoat dashed into a popular bar near George Washington University and slashed five people before escaping unidentified. Police closed down the bar, so the knife nut will have to find some other place to carry out his carnage next time.
Incoming Mayor Muriel Bowser is on the case. Over the weekend, she toured several neighborhoods that have seen so much gunfire, despite the city’s ban on guns. Apparently she was not asked how it is possible so many people have been shot and killed by guns here when they are clearly banned.
But she reportedly did say this: “I’ve been working in government for a long time and sometimes spikes in violence are just that — unexplained spikes.”
Well, gee, let the kiddies go out and play. I feel so much better now.
“What’s also important,” she continued, “is identifying whether they’re young people are older people.”
What? I don’t even know what that means or what she thought it might mean. But I am pretty sure it means that voters here in this bastion of democracy and self-governance have once again elected a crazy mayor.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Twitter at @charleshurt.