By Caitlin Herlihy
Surprise! I’m still watching Grey’s Anatomy. The season six finale included a shocking mass murder at the hospital, and season seven has documented the staff’s struggle to overcome the incident. I believe Shonda Rhimes wrote these episodes to address gun violence (in addition to it being a really juicy storyline in the series).
When a patient’s surgery goes wrong, Dr. Shepherd requests she is taken off life support. The woman’s husband is distraught and decides to sue Dr. Shepherd and the hospital for killing his wife. Weeks later, he returns to Seattle Grace with a gun and goes on a killing spree in search of Derek. The episode is intense, and my heart was pounding the entire time. The hospital staff struggles to heal in the aftermath of the shooting. They each handle the shooting differently, and Cristina even temporarily quits her job.
Rhimes includes this plot to address the horrors of gun control. Before committing suicide, the gunman describes how easy it was for him to go to the store and buy a gun. He recounts how effortless it was to buy so many bullets, but couldn’t store them all in his jacket pocket. In reality, it is too easy to buy a gun and stuff your pockets with bullets.
I love when shows comment on societal realities and make us think of them in a different way. Rhimes used Grey’s Anatomy as a platform to discuss important issues, including LGBTQ rights, racism, gun control, depression and others throughout the series’ run.