On Saturday, there were two mass shootings within 24 hours of one another. The first was in El Paso, Texas, at a Walmart. A 21-year-old gunman murdered 22 people, injuring many more. The second took place in Dayton, Ohio, outside of a popular bar in the city’s busy historic district. There, nine people were killed in less than 30 seconds. Police arrived quickly, and the shooter died at the scene. In El Paso, the shooter was apprehended and has been charged with capital murder.
The debate around gun control rises up every time there is a mass shooting, which happens with so much frequency, it’s easy to lose track of them. The high death count and close execution of these mass shootings have made them more notable, but on July 28, another mass shooting took place at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California. Four people died, including the gunman.
Devlin Barrett, Washington Post reporter, on El Paso and Dayton mass shootings: "We are talking about all the issues around shootings but not the gun part ... there are 12,000 people killed by guns every year in this country. That's the equivalent of four 9/11 body counts." pic.twitter.com/SvE8p6R33G— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 6, 2019
Mass shootings have become so common, that it takes a day as tragic and astonishing as Saturday to rise above the noise. But that doesn’t mean people are at peace with the situation. Activists and regular citizens are protesting the government’s refusal to ban assault weapons or take any demonstrable action towards real gun control.
If Republicans don’t start supporting gun control they’re going to take a massive hit in the suburbs in 2020.— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) August 6, 2019
People are also opening up about how their feelings about everyday safety have changed. On Twitter, folks started sharing how mass shootings have altered the way they live their lives.
Whenever I'm in a public space, I think about what would happen if a mass shooting broke out. It's a constant, low-level anxiety that follows me everywhere. I wonder if it's just me. I don't think it is.— Geraldine (@everywhereist) August 3, 2019
It seems like there really is no safe place in public where you couldn’t potentially become a target of gun violence.
I left a movie I went to early because it was a full theater and packed places like that don’t make me feel safe AT ALL. I also work in a large marketplace and it’s like I’m just waiting for the next mass shooting to take place right outside my store. Fuck this paranoia.— Augustine (@tempeldeterra) August 4, 2019
DUDE. It’s at the point where I don’t feel safe anywhere man. 2 mass shooting in one day? Something has to happen. https://t.co/MD2iO8lD6m— JG ✞ (@JGardner__) August 4, 2019
These stories are heartbreaking—and all too relatable.
Every Sunday I have a spot I HAVE to sit at in church. I’m insistent on it because it’s my best route to exits Incase someone comes in and opens fire. Ive tried to convince myself to stop doing this. 2 mass shootings in 24 hrs. What a nightmare we are living in.— Brandi Rhodes (@TheBrandiRhodes) August 4, 2019
the fact that i can’t fucking go anywhere without making a mental escape plan in case there is a shooting is no way to live— ber (@amber_joglar) August 4, 2019
My husband was so worried that I was calculating exit strategies whenever I entered public buildings that he asked me to go to therapy. The therapist told me, “oh honey, you’re fine. You’re being proactive and aware. That’s how it has to be now.”
— NecroMomicon (@JesDKArt) August 3, 2019
when i was at a gay pride parade in new orléans last year i found myself absentmindedly thinking “if someone starts shooting im going to run into this clothing store behind me”. it’s just kind of a thing that exists in my head any time i go to some kind of busy event
— laura lux (@DarthLux) August 3, 2019
I go a lot of places with my 80 year old mother who has had two knee replacements.
I know I could run away quickly – but I would never leave her behind.
This is the kind of shit we all think about now.
— MimZWay (@MimZWay) August 3, 2019
Ever since my son was born and we go to a store, I plan out where we would hide if someone started shooting. I don’t even question if that’s insane anymore.
— Jessica (@mydogmybff) August 4, 2019
Other people also said that the only thing that has alleviated their anxiety is taking part in politics, through protest, donations, or support of local causes and candidates that make them feel as though they’re working to transform their community for the better. There’s no way to know what will happen in future. There’s only the work we do now to make the world a better place.