We don’t stop

Should Old Sac’s New Year’s Eve shootings halt future public events?

As we all know, a gunfight broke out on New Year’s Eve in a sports bar in Old Sacramento. Shortly after the 9 p.m. “family” fireworks show, a bar brawl escalated spontaneously into mortal violence. Two people wound up dead, three others sustained gunshot wounds. The scene was tragic, chaotic, awful. Our hearts go out to the victims, whose lives were irretrievably altered that night.

But will we allow what happened that night to halt future public events in Sacramento that attract large crowds?

We should not.

By all accounts, local police reacted well and promptly to the incident. It was no surprise, given the need to investigate, that police decided to cancel the midnight fireworks show.

But that should be the end of the cancellations.

In its quest to become a vibrant urban hub, Sacramento has become host to an increasing number of public cultural and celebratory events. And yes, we have endured violent outbreaks in the past at some of them, such as at Second Saturday and the Thursday Night Market. (In the case of the latter, fear prevailed and the market was canceled in 1998.)

Each time, outbreaks of violence lead city officials to question whether public-safety concerns should trump Sacramento’s ability to convene its citizens by the tens of thousands. That’s OK—review is appropriate and, hopefully, will result in improved public safety on future public occasions.

But we must not let fear dominate this discussion. Public events such as the New Year’s Eve fireworks show are signs of a lively, healthy and thriving community. They should not be brought to an end because of a random act of violence, however wretched.