When we think of Colorado, we might picture a beautiful state, perfectly picturesque and safe… but Colorado has also been home to many devastating occurrences, being the state with the 5th most mass shootings. It began with Columbine, then there was the Aurora Theater shooting and most recently, tragedy struck again when an active shooter was present at a King Soopers grocery store.
Nearly three years before this occurrence, the city of Boulder, Colo., voted to ban assault weapons. By implementing this ban, leaders hoped to prevent the mass shootings that had seemingly plagued the state in recent years. But just ten days prior to Monday’s rampage, the NRA celebrated the (surprising) overturning of that ban after backing a lawsuit against the measure. Supporters of such measures reason by saying that it allows the state to remain consistent with its gun laws so that gun-owners don’t have to face different rules in different parts of the state.
Furthermore, the gun used in the Boulder shootings was purchased just six days prior to the actual incident. Rachel Friend – a city council member – spoke up about her opinion on the measure, stating “The reason we had the assault-weapons ban was to prevent exactly the sort of tragedy that happened yesterday,” said Friend, who worked to support the idea before she was elected.”
Robert Chambers, a Boulder local and hunter, challenged the initial ordinance and backed the overturning of the ban. “Do you think [the shooter] cares that the city of Boulder had an assault-rifles ban? Let’s get realistic here,” he stated, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Authorities identified 10 casualties. One of those was a police officer. The suspected perpetrator has been taken in and ID’d.
Not only is Boulder quite liberal, but it’s also a college town and a safe haven for many families and students, so an incident like this shook the town. The fact that it happened at a supermarket really makes us feel that even the simple act of buying groceries is unsafe.
What’s even more shocking is that the massacre happened less than a week after the Atlanta spa attacks in which 8 were killed – most of whom were Asian American women. Two in one week. What’s worse is that, at this point, it almost feels like we are getting used to this.
There’s little information as to how Boulder council is handling the situation, however, the students attending CU Boulder held a candlelight vigil a few nights ago to honor the victims, the survivors and families.
Is this what a world recovering from a pandemic looks like? Violence in safe spaces? We don’t know what a COVID-free future holds, but what we can do is try to remain optimistic and fight for change.