Recently, we have all been reminded of an unfortunate reality that occurs in America way too often: mass shootings.
Hearing about the three deadly shootings that occurred in Atlanta spas made me immediately stop what I was doing. I haven’t heard of a mass shooting happening in what felt like a long time, so I was immediately caught off guard. I couldn’t help but feel overwhelming dread when thinking about how mass shootings could become oh too normal again, especially with the end of the pandemic being near.
The suspect targeted three spas in the metropolitan Atlanta area on March 16th, and eight people were killed. Six of Asian descent, raising concerns that this crime was racially motivated and increasing the fears of anti-Asian hate. What’s even more concerning is that, according to The Washington Post, the captain of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, told reporters that “there’s no immediate reason to think that the White shooter had a racial motivation” and that “yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did.” This sparked questions of if police would have responded the same if someone who wasn’t white targeted and killed people this way, and we all know that they would have not.
I was immediately taken back to days in school when we would have intruder drills and we wouldn’t know that it was just a drill. The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary where 26 people, 20 of which were children, were murdered immediately came to mind. I remember being absolutely terrified. It takes me back to when I used to go to the movies, and glance at the side door too often at the thought of an intruder coming in. The mass shooting in 2012 at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, where 12 people were killed came to mind. It’s weird because so often we think that these things could never happen to us, but the reality is that these shootings happen at common places where we often feel safe: churches, schools, movie theaters, stores and spas. The horrifying part of all this is that it can happen anywhere and to anyone.
Another recent mass shooting occurred on March 22nd where a gunman opened fire at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, killing 10 people. This happened just a week after a judge blocked the city of Boulder from enforcing its 2018 ban on assault rifles. The gunman had only bought his assault rifle six days earlier. This prompted President Joe Biden to announce new executive orders on gun control to help confront gun violence in this country, which he called a “public health crisis.” Seeing Joe Biden take immediate action to these shootings provides some relief, but the conversation of gun control in America is far from over and there is a lot to be done.