The shooting deaths of two 16-year-old boys in South Philadelphia on Tuesday was yet another shocking and sad reminder of the ingrained gun culture that is taking an unnecessary toll on young people in cities across the nation.
Two dozen teenagers thus far this year have been fatally shot in Philadelphia. Five teens have been killed in October alone. More than 120 other teenagers were shot this year in the city but survived.
The almost daily shootings cry out for something to be done about this deadly epidemic. But sadly, too little is being done to curb the violence or reduce the easy access to guns. Families are left to grieve and bury their kids until the next teen gets shot.
Overall, 257 people have been murdered in Philadelphia in 2017. That represents a 12 percent increase compared with this time last year.
What is it going to take before this city says enough is enough?
Largely Republican political leaders at the state and federal level, but also some Democrats, seem beholden to a gun lobby that opposes even commonsense gun measures.
The mass murder of 58 people by a lone gunman at a concert in Las Vegas last month was not enough to change the political dynamic.
Neither were the shooting deaths of 49 people last year by a gunman inside an Orlando nightclub.
Not even the 2012 shooting deaths of 20 first graders and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., moved the NRA's lackeys.
While such mass murders have become all too routine, the daily shootings involving teenagers are even more disturbing because of the casual acceptance of using guns to settle disputes.
Investigators said the South Philadelphia murders Tuesday resulted from a dispute between two groups of teens who knew each other. The suspected gunman fired three shots from a .45 handgun, hitting both boys in the chest.
Two shots struck Salvatore DiNubile, a St. Joseph's Prep student, who lived on the street where the shooting occurred. One shot hit Caleer Miller, who lived in Point Breeze and attended Mastery Charter School's Thomas campus in South Philadelphia.
Less than three weeks ago, another 16-year-old boy, Messiah Chiverton, was shot dead by an 18-year-old during an after-school fight in Oxford Circle.
Philadelphia cannot wait for help from Washington or Harrisburg. The White House seems mired in chaos every day. State leaders can't even pass a responsible budget, let alone govern.
The city is on its own and must become more proactive. In January, Mayor Kenney hired Shondell Revell as the city's first director of violence prevention. She is said to be examining the effectiveness of the $60 million the city spends on antiviolence programs.
That's a good start, but the city needs to exhibit a greater sense of urgency and conduct a broader effort. Teens are shot in Philadelphia almost every day. That is neither normal nor acceptable.
Political, business, and civic leaders must intensify their efforts to work with law enforcement, schools, and places of worship to change the city's gun culture and reduce the easy access to guns. The time is now!