We hear it in the news: another mass shooting. It always seems so far away. But today, it happened where I live. So on this day, I stand in solidarity with my community. With so many dead and so much loss, I have no words to properly convey the events of today. Instead, I sit here in shock and profound sadness because today my community lost twenty of its own to tragedy. These were human lives cut short by an outsider. They were regular people buying groceries. They were our neighbors, our friends, our family. This feeling is like nothing else. In the past, we had always been safe.
But things turn on a dime. Even as I sit and type this, I hear sirens. Though I am roughly seventeen miles from where this occurred, I can’t help but wonder what else is going on out there. My mind is racing with thoughts of my family’s safety. My husband works less than five miles from where this happened, and one of my daughters was in the vicinity, as well.
As I think of them, panic hits. I wonder if the gunman has been caught. If not, will he run? Was he alone, or are there more like him out there, planning to hold our city hostage? Have you ever felt that kind of fear? Sadly, I know the truth: too many Americans have. This is a tragedy in itself.
So today, I have been glued to the news reports. I have been watching for updates and waiting to see if more was about to happen, or if this was an isolated incident. Isolated. What a funny word for something like this. Twenty people confirmed dead. Twenty isn’t an isolated number.
We always think that things like this can’t happen “here.” But they do, and we feel it in our soul and in our bones. This is why my heart goes out to my city, my home. Today was such a solemn day for this beautiful place. Twenty dead and now we have to face the confirmations of those we knew, personally, that were lost.
It hurts even more because El Paso is a big city with a small town mentality. We KNOW each other, have comradery of family, and we help each other. This was evident today as lines, made up of those willing to help, wrapped around blood donation centers. These individuals were willing to give of themselves for those in need, because this is who we are.
Sadly, the gunman doesn’t understand this. He cast his judgement upon us without knowing who we are. When I read his manifesto, it didn’t make sense. He states that the influx of immigrants will lead to citizenships being granted. These new citizens will vote for Democrats. The Democrats will grant an easy path to higher education, allowing them to steal many of the high paying jobs in America. When this happens, corporations will be forced to hire more illegals to do the menial work. According to him, all of this will cause America to fall. In the end, his argument becomes circular. Yet his target was not Democratic leadership, or corporations, it was Hispanics. This is scary for our culturally diverse city, because until today, we have always been safe.
This shooting, this tragedy, was not due to the influx of immigrants, or the bustling Hispanic population. That’s a weak excuse and wildly false propaganda from someone with an obviously sick mind. Look at the statistics. These prove the real danger to America is that of those willing to kill for a false rhetoric.
Despite this truth, I won’t argue policy change to the 2nd Amendment. It does no good to do so. What we really need is change. Yet it never comes. Instead, offer up your thoughts and prayers. That’s what they say, right? I hear it time and time again. It’s not enough. Many fail to recognize the real threats to America. Domestic terrorism is the number one cause for mass shootings. In the end, thoughts and prayers are all we have left.
Today was a difficult day for this place I call home. This was horrific. People DIED, and I feel overwhelmed by the loss we all share.