In the early hours of Sunday morning, the dark shadow of hate, once again unleashed it's fury and in less than sixty seconds, 10 people lay dead, including the shooter, and 27 innocent victims were wounded. Less than 24 hours after the massacre in El Paso, Texas, the downtown streets of Dayton, Ohio, in the historic Oregon District, became the scene of the 251st mass shooting this year, in the United States.
According to the Gun Violence Archives, there were 382 mass shootings in 2016, 346 in 2017, and 340 in 2018. So far in the first four days of August, there have been 36 deaths, and in the previous month of July there were 52 deaths due to gun violence. In the days ahead there will be moments of disbelief and reflection, there will be thoughts and prayers, but if the past is any indication, the staus quo will remain. The tough questions will be unanswered, and the political will to address the real underlying issues will continue to be unresolved.
Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, feels that we should be more concerned about mental health issues than easy access to assault rifles. Trump's acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, said that no politician was to blame, but more needed to done about social media. Republican House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, believes that video games are also a big part of the problem. These reasons may all be contributing factors, but if we are being completely honest, guns must be part of the discussion.
At 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning in El Paso, Texas, Walmart shoppers were greeted by the sound of gunfire, as 21 year old Patrick Crucius rained down a hail of bullets. Leaving in his bloody wake the cries of the wounded and 20 people murdered. This is a hate crime, home grown domestic terrorism fueled by unbridled hate and rage. His “Manifesto” stated that the attack was a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas, “I am simply defending my country from culture and ethic replacement brought on by an invasion”.
Once more, flags are flying at half-staff, and as we mourn we are reminded just how fragile this life can be, and in less than sixty seconds our whole world can be shattered. I pray for our country, I pray for our leaders, and now more than ever, may God bless America.