El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, were rocked by mass shootings over the weekend. 22 people were murdered by a gunman on Saturday in El Paso, and less than 24 hours later nine people would be shot and killed outside of a bar in Dayton. There have been 255 mass shootings so far this year—a year that’s only 218 days in.
These terrible occurrences seem to happen all too often, and seemingly fade from the headlines within a few days. The commonplace nature of these attacks have terrorized, horrified, and to some extent, anesthetized. These shootings happen with such alarming regularity that it’s locked the country into a sort of moral stalemate where the same similar arguments emerge to the fore and then fade—until the next El Paso or Dayton. This is not normal.
As an Orlandoan this is a deeply personal issue. We just commemorated the third anniversary of the Pulse massacre, one that ripped 49 fellow members of my community away. The scars from that June night are still extremely raw in this city, but so are the vivid memories of the actions of those who live here. The lines around the block to give blood, the candlelight vigils, the organized protests to protect the funerals from outside agitators who swept into Orlando to spread hatred.
We saw these helpers in El Paso and Dayton, as well. Communities united in their collective grief, mourning the loss of 31 of their own. It’s incredibly inspiring to see people come together in the aftermath of events like these, but they shouldn’t have to. People should not need to look for the exits when they walk into a Walmart or a bar or a nightclub or a bar—it is not normal, but it’s become normal.
We extend our deepest condolences to the residents of these two communities, and hope and pray that this time—finally—is the last time.