Boulder. Atlanta. Las Vegas. Sandy Hook. Orlando. Aurora. Parkland. When I hear these names, I experience a sense of frustration and sorrow that I’m certain is shared by so many in this country. It’s a feeling that we’ve come to experience far too often: a mixture of outrage and helplessness all at once. It’s hearing yet another mass shooting plastered on every news headline. It’s seeing the names and faces of every life lost to gun violence, senselessly. It’s the tragic reality of knowing that the next mass shooting in this country likely will not be the last. It’s existing in a constant state of fear in the classroom, in a movie theater, in a grocery store, a spa, a shopping mall, or in your own home.
Last Monday, a gunman opened fire in a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, murdering 10 people. Of the 10 victims who lost their lives was Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley, a father of 7 children. 51 year old Teri Leiker, who had worked at King Soopers for more than 30 years, also lost her life on Monday afternoon. The youngest of Monday’s victims included 20 year old Denny Stong, a King Soopers employee since 2018. Each of these souls lost in Boulder joins an infinite list of lives needlessly lost to gun violence. Another mass shooting also breeds a new group of those who will carry the weight of the title of ‘gun violence survivor’.
Boulder marks the 7th mass shooting in the U.S. in just 7 days. It comes less than a week after the mass shooting last Tuesday in an Atlanta massage parlor, which left 8 people dead – 6 of them women of Asian descent. This also includes a drive-by vigil shooting in California, a shooting in Portland, a nightclub shooting in Houston, a nightclub shooting in Dallas, and a shooting at a party in Philadelphia. 7 mass shootings in 7 days – an almost inconceivable tally that is both shocking and painfully normalized.
The cyclic motion that follows each gun violence tragedy has become all too comfortable, and all too familiar. Our country reacts in shock and horror as yet another name is added to the list of mass shootings. We grieve the lives of those lost, and mourn the souls of every person who has been a victim of gun violence. This grief quickly turns to outrage, as we call for action to be taken toward gun control across the country. In the midst of this outrage, we hear the empty promises of politicians and lawmakers, whose rehearsed responses have lost all merit. Finally, our country returns to a state of sickening apathy. We acknowledge the tragedy in the moment, return to our comfortable lives, and ready ourselves for the next incident, knowing that it’ll just be a matter of time until it comes.