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Stephen Romero

Three people, including a six-year-old boy, were killed, and at least 15 injured in a mass shooting Sunday evening in Gilroy, California. (Another report says it was 12 injured.) And a nation that has seen this happen too many times already lurched into a familiar post-mass-shooting routine, with gun lovers immediately insisting more guns would keep us safe, and decent people trying their best not to succumb to the numbness after yet another mass murder enabled by the ready availability of not quite military-grade weaponry. Mass shootings are just how America is now, like global warming, lead in the water, and tax cuts for the very richest. God bless America. In the meantime, the "president," having posted a perfunctory tweet last night urging people to be "careful and safe," was busy yelling at black people again this morning.


Among those killed at the Gilroy Garlic Festival was Stephen Romero, aged six, whose father, Alberto Romero, confirmed the boy's death to NBC Bay Area, saying Stephen's mother and grandmother were also injured in the shooting.

"I lost my son," Alberto Romero told the news station. "There's nothing I really can do besides try to be with him until I can put him in his resting spot."

Romero later added: "My son had his whole life to live and he was only 6."

Multiple witnesses said the shooter was carrying an assault-style semiautomatic rifle, and was dressed in some sort of military-wannabe gear, possibly including body armor. Michael Paz, 72, was selling hats at the festival, and told the San Francisco Chronicle he saw the shooter from about 80 feet away.

"He came ready to shoot because he was wearing a protective vest," Paz said. "He was shooting left; he was shooting right without any particular aim." Paz said everyone immediately dropped to the ground as law officers converged on the gunman and opened fire.

Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said the shooter got into the festival grounds by cutting through a perimeter fence, bypassing security at the entrances. The attack came near the end of the three-day festival, which featured live music and food booths selling virtually anything you can think of made with garlic, including garlic ice cream. Police are still searching for a possible accomplice, although most mass shootings involve only a single suspect. CNN reports law enforcement has identified the killer, although his name has not been released.

The Los Angeles Times reports Jack Van Breen, lead vocalist and guitarist for TinMan, a band wrapping up its performance at the festival, saw and heard the gunman:

He turned in the direction of the noise and saw a man "in a green top with a gray handkerchief kind of around his neck and what appeared to be an assault rifle."

"He started shooting again in the direction of where all the food people were dining," Van Breen said. He directed his band members to clear the stage, which they ducked beneath so they couldn't be seen.

Van Breen told the Associated Press he heard someone shout: "Why are you doing this?" and the reply: "Because I'm really angry."

America is very accommodating to its angriest people, giving them the tools they need to rack up a high body count. While it's too soon to know anything about the shooter's motives for certain, we should note that the city of Gilroy -- the "Garlic Capital of the World" -- is 57 percent Hispanic, and you may have noted a lot of Latin surnames among the news reports. As it happens, there are also a lot of very angry Trump supporters these days who've been very angry about Mexicans, and looking forward to a civil war against all those brown people who don't love America the right way.

That could all be a coincidence. Or a false flag attack to justify taking all the guns away from law-abiding gun owners, just like all the guns were taken away after all the other massacres by shooters who were law-abiding gun owners, until they weren't.

As for the fantasy that the killer could have been stopped in his tracks if only there were more people to shoot back: Armed police providing security at the festival responded within a minute, killing the gunman. Maybe armed civilians standing even closer to the shooter could have stopped him sooner. Maybe they would have been shot by arriving police, because look, there's someone pointing a smoking gun. Maybe they'd have hit other festival-goers. No, don't be ridiculous, that could never happen, since the bad guy is always obvious.

And now we embark on the familiar script: There will be calls for tighter restrictions on guns, and some might even pass, while Republicans will howl about the sacred Second Amendment and the armed bystanders that would surely stop any shooters if only there were many more of them. The "president" may briefly tut-tut about the shooting before pointing out that California already has strict gun laws, and why aren't liberals decrying all the black murderers in Baltimore and Chicago? And Americans will continue to worry that there aren't any places to go in public, because an entire political party is in favor of more and more guns everywhere.

Stephen Romero was a beautiful little boy who'll never grow up.

His grandmother, Maribel Romero, went to several hospitals before she got to the one where he had already died. She said he was "always kind, happy and, you know, playful," and just hopes that if there is a second suspect, he'll be caught soon.

But the gun lobby has already spoken. Stephen Romero was expendable, because we need guns to overthrow the government and prevent tyranny.

[San Francisco Chronicle / WaPo / LAT / KFSN-TV]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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