We know this feeling all too well in Colorado. We felt this pain when 10 students and their teacher were gunned down on April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School in Centennial, Colorado. The students were killed in the library by two fellow students who attended the same high school. My sister Theresa worked at a video store at that time. Her boss’s son attended that high school. He was a sophomore at the time. I was chilled to the bone when my sister told me he had to walk over dead bodies to get out of the library.
We felt that ache again during the Aurora Theater shooting in July of 2012. A gunman dressed in tactical clothing walked into a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in the Century 16 Theater. He proceeded to kill twelve people and injured 70 others. At the time, that shooting event had the largest number of shooting victims in modern U.S. history. Unfortunately, it would not be the largest for long.
We felt anguish again during the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting in November of 2015. A police officer and two civilians were killed. Four civilians and five police officers sustained injuries in a standoff that lasted five hours. Police SWAT teams had to crash armored vehicles into the lobby of the building in order to get the attacker to surrender.
We felt horrible when we heard about the Thornton Walmart shooting in 2017. The shooter casually walked into a Walmart Supercenter on November 1, 2017 and randomly started shooting shoppers at 6:10 PM. I called my sister Diana as she lives close to this store. She and her girls were safe. They visited the store frequently. Three people were killed, two died at the scene, one died on the way to the hospital.
We felt the horror again when we heard about the STEM School Shooting in Highlands Ranch, Colorado in May 2019. One student was killed, and eight others were injured. My daughter became an on-line high school student that year. My cousin texted me, “I bet you are so happy you chose to home school.”
And we feel the pain again today, for the Boulder Kings Soopers Shooting in March 2021. A twenty-one-year-old man is in police custody. Ten people are dead, including a Boulder police officer. Officer Eric Talley, 51, recently told his father he was applying for less stressful jobs in the Boulder Police Department. For years, Talley had a stable job in information technology that provided for his children and his wife, who educated their seven children in their Colorado home.
But in 2010, after one of his closest friends died in a DUI crash, he quit, left behind his master’s degree, and enrolled in the police academy at age 40, according to his friends and family. When a gunman opened fire inside the King Soopers grocery store on Monday, Talley, was among the first responders to run into the store.
The victims of this horrible massacre range in ages from twenty to sixty-five years old. Police on Tuesday have released the names of those killed: Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Boulder police Officer Eric Talley, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; Jody Waters, 65.
Before I hear any politician say, as they offer up thoughts and prayers, that it is too soon to talk about gun control – for the ten people gunned down in Boulder while they shopped, it is too LATE to talk about gun control.