Another Well-Regulated Asshole With AR-15 We Won’t Ban Kills 10 In Boulder, Colorado
"He just came in and started shooting."
That's how a witness described the start of Monday's massacre in a Boulder, Colorado, supermarket. The gunman reportedly "let off a couple of shots, then was silent, and then he let off a couple more. He wasn't spraying."
When shots rang out inside the King Soopers grocery store Monday afternoon, some shoppers and employees instinctively ran. Others froze, unsure what to make of the pop or clap noise they'd heard.
And once again, a mundane, everyday location in Colorado was transformed into a scene of terror, which this time claimed 10 lives, police said. One was a veteran Boulder police officer, Eric Talley, age 51.
But gun violence has become an almost mundane, everyday occurrence in America. Even during the coronavirus pandemic, when social distancing made it harder to kill a lot of people in one place, firearm fatalities increased significantly. The Gun Violence Archive reported that May 2020 had the highest number of mass shootings (56) of any month since 2012 when it started tracking mass shooting data.
A grocery store is a prime target if you want to hunt down unsuspecting people. Shoppers debating which flavor ice cream to purchase were soon running for their lives and hiding when a coward with a gun, dressed all in black, opened fire. They saw people collapse in front of them, like soldiers in a war we are losing. Along with horror, there was a disturbing sense of resignation.
"It seemed like all of us had imagined we'd be in a situation like this at some point in our lives," said James Bentz, who said he was deep inside the store when the shooting began, in the meat section.
This is the terror an American citizen assumed he'd inevitably face at some point. This is not freedom. This is the gun industry's continued onslaught on society. The merchants of death at the NRA gloated just last week about blocking Boulder's ban on AR-15s, the same weapon the Boulder gunman used to murder 10 people.
The ghouls tweeted:
ICYMI: A Colorado judge gave law-abiding gun owners something to celebrate.
In an @NRAILA-supported case, he ruled that the city of Boulder's ban on commonly-owned rifles (AR-15s) and 10+ round mags was preempted by state law and STRUCK THEM DOWN.
The NRA claims that AR-15s are "the most commonly used rifles in marksmanship competitions, training and home defense." However, it's also the most commonly used rifle in mass shootings, including Las Vegas, Orlando, Newtown, and Parkland.
The Boulder mass shooting happened less than a week after a gunman killed eight people in Atlanta. CNN claimed, "The two incidents are likely to spur discussion about gun control legislation in the United States, where firearm deaths are tragically common." That's depressingly true: Mass shootings will “spur discussion" about maybe, perhaps regulating access to death machines, but that's all. Gun advocates will even object to the discussion itself, while insisting that what could've prevented this horrible act was more guns.
There's a recognizable ritual after every mass shooting. Decent people are horrified, of course. This includes Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver.
My heart is breaking as we watch this unspeakable event unfold in our Boulder community. We are making every public… https://t.co/eOK4gSA680— Governor Jared Polis (@Governor Jared Polis)1616455168.0
And terrible people are still terrible.
Colorado GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert tweeted:
As we continue to hear the news coming out of Boulder, I'm praying for the police, first responders, and those affected by this tragedy.
A hurricane is a tragedy. Perpetual gun violence is a self-inflicted wound. “Those affected by this tragedy" is a very passive way of describing “victims," human beings who were mowed down while shopping for groceries.
May God be with us as we make sense of this senseless violence, and may we unify and not divide during this time.
God never sold anyone an AR-15. This is on us. Boebert's hypocrisy here is predictable but still galling. Her entire schtick is division. She runs a restaurant that glorifies gun violence and promotes the sick notion that there's no problem small enough that a gun can't “solve." She didn't campaign for Congress on a “unity" platform. She wants to carry her glock around the US Capitol, and her Zoom background is a gun orgy.
Hours after the massacre, Boebert was already sending divisive fundraising emails, promising to defend her constituents from sensible gun laws.
I told Beto "HELL NO" to taking our guns. Now we need to tell Joe Biden.
She didn't wait long to start the cycle. The gun manufacturers sells more product whenever the NRA and its Republican employees scream about Democrats “coming for your guns." Paranoid gun lovers believe their lies and buy more guns. The gun industry profits from the deaths they enabled.
It's the same vicious circle as that old Partnership for a Drug-Free America ad where the guy does more coke so he can work harder so he can buy more coke. We're always chasing rainbows.
The gunman in this latest massacre was taken alive, unlike Elijah McClain who didn’t actually kill anyone. Police say they haven't determined a motive, but it's not like one would make any sense. Gun violence and our inability to stop it reminds me of these words from Rod Serling: "The pattern is always the same ... with few variations. [Humans] pick the most dangerous enemy they can find, and it's themselves."
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).