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Shooting hits home

Somehow, the news seems more horrific when it hits close to home.

Friday afternoon’s mass shooting in Virginia Beach, unfortunately, follows a pattern that has become all too familiar in America. But it’s different this time in that it’s right here in the Hampton Roads area.

On Friday, a gunman walked into his place of employment, a municipal building in Virginia Beach, and opened fire, killing at least 12 and injuring a half-dozen more. He was subsequently shot by first responders and also is deceased.

The terrible news that we’ve all seen time and time again is in our backyard this time.

Condolences extended to Virginia Beach have come from throughout the region and state. Suffolk Mayor Linda T. Johnson issued this statement on Friday evening:

“Our hearts are broken and our thoughts and prayers are extended to city leaders, employees and citizens of Virginia Beach following this afternoon’s tragic events.

“The senseless murder of (12) innocent individuals and the wounding of six others at the Municipal Complex is totally incomprehensible. The heroism of the first responders who ran into the building in the midst of gunfire is to be commended, as they undoubtedly saved countless lives by their actions.

“Our deepest condolences are extended to all. The city of Suffolk stands ready to provide any assistance needed, and we pray for God’s blessings in this most sorrowful time.”

Regionalism is a concept often talked about, sometimes begged for and sometimes sneered at, and accomplished in this area only in fits and starts.

But at times like these, when one city is reeling from a tragedy such as this one, it’s nice to see the other cities reaching out with everything from condolences to resources.

Let’s hope this particular sort of regionalism is never needed again. But in the meantime, Virginia Beach and its citizens need the help of neighbors — even if it’s just a kind word — to make it through the days and weeks ahead.