News Of The Mass Shootings This Weekend Hit LA Hard And People Are Still Processing
A pair of mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, which took place in the span of 24 hours over the weekend, left our readers feeling "terrified," "hopeless," "saddened" and so much more.
At least 31 people were killed and dozens more were injured. Less than a week before, three people died when a gunman opened fire at a garlic festival in Gilroy.
And we know the mass shootings won't stop there.
In an effort to start a healthy conversation, we asked you to tell us how you're feeling. We've compiled some of your responses below. (Some comments were edited for length or clarity.)
"GRIEVING. ANXIOUS. RAGEFUL."
One prevalent type of response came in the form of one-word sentences, reflecting a sense of anger and numbness at news of yet another act of gun violence in America.
Terrified. Angry. Powerless. Grieving. Anxious. Rageful.
Horrified. Angry. Frustrated. Pissed off.
Extremely sad, frustrated, disappointed and angry
Sad, cynical, disappointed, ashamed
Horrified, scared, angry and deeply distraught.
Overwhelmed and stunned. Helpless.
Down. Sad. Somewhat hopeless. Angry.
"RIGHT NOW, I'M NUMB."
Another prevalent sentiment among readers was a feeling of numbness or indifference.
I fear that we, the general public, are becoming numb and inured to the horror of mass shootings, as if we expect them to happen and feel helpless and unempowered to stop the insanity. If our leaders fail to lead, if they fail to take reasonable action to reduce the incidence of gun violence, then we are rendered impotent and hopeless. When our leaders turn their backs on public opinion and the safety of their electors in favor of special interests of few, we are no longer a democracy. These are dangerous times.
I feel genuinely fatigued. It feels like we are making absolutely no progress with our national rhetoric and people bring up mental health and background checks but stop short of making substantial progress and I'm so tired of grieving all of these lives sacrificed on the altar of the second amendment.
Right now, I'm numb. I'll let myself process things slowly.
Numb. This keeps happening over and over again. Nothing was really done after all the previous mass shootings. Where is our tipping point? No matter how much people have worked for gun control there is hardly any progress. My coworker's son was shot during the 1999 Granada Hills Jewish Community Center shooting. His mother went to Washington. We joined marches, called our politicians and signed petitions. Twenty years later and nothing has really changed. I saw the gunshot wound through his little leg. Luckily, he survived. Assault rifles are made to kill people. Nobody needs them and they should be outlawed.
I grew up thinking Columbine was the worst thing to ever happen. 20 years later, I'm sorry to say, I believe that that event was not so bad compared to the events that have since followed. Yes, I did say that.
After 20 years, nothing constructive has been enacted to stop mass shootings. I'm resigned to believe nothing will change 20 years from now regardless of what other tragedies may follow.
"THAT KID HATED LATINOS IN THEIR OWN PLACE."
The El Paso shooting in particular touched a nerve among Latinx communities, where residents now feel like they could be targets in the next mass shooting. Hours after the Texas shooting, officials found a manifesto the suspected gunman wrote, describing white supremacist ideals and his plan to target people of Hispanic descent, according to the El Paso Times.
I'm scared. My husband is a Guatemalan immigrant, I'm Chicana, I've already started doubting whether or not white people are racist but I figured here in the Southwest, there was safety in numbers. After El Paso, not any more. Texas is traditionally Mexican, and that kid hated Latinos in their own place.
Scared. My family and I live in a Latino dense area and are Latino ourselves. To hear the manifesto of the shooter in El Paso was scary. We regularly go to the grocery store as a family. We had tickets to go to a sporting event at the Rose Bowl and even reconsidered going this past weekend in light of the events. You never know.
As a Latino with family in El Paso, the news was devastating and to a point traumatic. It is indeed possible to conceive that we as the Latino community are being targeted by this wave of "racist" bigotry and injustice. Personally, as a college-educated and professional person, I hope that our society would have made progress over the last 50 years.
I mostly worry about my kids, I believe we are now targets. We are proud Mexi-Jews, and no matter how I look at it, we are targets of violence for no other reason than our heritage.
We are a mixed race family, my children are Mexican American, I am white. I genuinely fear that a white nationalist will seek out my children to harm. I live in East LA which is a Hispanic neighborhood , my children all go to schools predominantly Hispanic. My family feels like a target, both because they are Mexican and I, as a white women, have mixed raced children; which I know was a point of contention in the shooters manifesto. I love and am proud of my family and their Mexican heritage, I want people to know this this not just a gun control issue.
Angry, disheartened, and exhausted aren't even enough to describe how I'm feeling. The fact that there was a blatant attack on the Latinx community, on fellow Americans, and then the Trump administration suggests a dual bill between background checks and immigration reform is an insult to those who lost their lives in El Paso.
Since I'm not white, and my kids are also not Caucasians, the shootings made me feel unsafe. We went to eat out yesterday and also grocery shopping. My husband and I looked for exits and counted how many entrances were there. I'm constantly thinking about what could happen if there was a shooter. We feel helpless.
"NO MORE OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES!"
In response to the numerous, random shootings, some Angelenos are taking extra precautions.
Any time I go into a building, I am looking for the back exit. After this weekend, my family is scared to go to dinner, the movies; even Costco is scary! We will be staying home streaming Netflix for a long time to come. No more outdoor activities!
I don't go out at night very often. I wonder every day if today is THE day someone targets my job location or the event I'm at. I'm saving money to buy an RV & get the Hell out of the cities & live remotely. However, I also try to live each day as if it's my last; because now I realize it might be.
For several months now, I have avoided going to any venue where crowds are present. This means that I even do my shopping in off-hours to minimize the odds that I will be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Why? Because I have lost trust in virtually every American institution's ability (including the media) to serve and protect me and my family.
I grew up in Minnesota, so I was pretty much always around guns in some way. After moving to LA, I continued to enjoy outdoor firing ranges, and the chances I had to shoot. I wanted to own a gun. I can't remember which shooting it was, but that suddenly turned off completely. I didn't want to contribute to an industry that allows this to happen and just didn't want them in my home. The most recent shootings have, for the first time, made me concerned about going to large public areas. It's not a serious anxiety, but it is the first time I've had that reaction which concerns me.
I no longer feel safe in large crowds or enclosed venues such as theaters, stadiums, festivals, malls, etc. I always look for an exit as I enter or a place I could take shelter.
"MAKE AN ESCAPE PLAN."
Others aim to continue enjoying life, albeit with an extra level of caution.
Wherever I go now, I always locate the exits and make an escape plan. I get scared when I see a white man with a big bag.
Being disabled, I carry a crutch with me everywhere I go. It gives me comfort knowing I can use it as a weapon if necessary. But I also am concerned about public outings.
I am in the entertainment business, and going to the theatre/cinema is a non-negotiable part of my life. So when I am there, I look around for exits, try to sit on the aisle, and think about what I will do if someone comes in and starts shooting. On the positive side (I guess) is that I am constantly aware that I could die tomorrow, so I try to make sure everyone knows I like and love them.
I note the exits in public places. I remind my son to stay nearby. I visualize what I might do, what I could do, if something happened at work, at a store. Where would we go? Would I be able to kick it into protector mode? If I couldn't, would I be able to live with the pain of not being able to protect my family, myself? I shouldn't have to think like this.
"REFUSE TO BE AFRAID"
And while many expressed heightened fear when going out in public, dozens of responders say they haven't changed their plans or actions in light of the recent shootings.
No change. I refuse to be afraid about gun violence. I feel more confident to speak out and organize for change.
It has not. I am a Risk Manager by trade. I understand the difference between propensity and probability.
I haven't changed anything. It just adds to the cumulative anxiety that I feel about things that feel personally too big to even comprehend.
I feel "safe" in LA, but I am concerned that in other communities, people don't have this privilege.
I refuse to change my daily routine, but I understand why others do. However, my guard is always up. I am constantly looking over my shoulder and checking on those I love.
I haven't really changed my daily routine. Living here in Southern California, there is an on-going worry about earthquakes, but you can't let that fear impact your ability to live your everyday life. I feel similarly about these mass shootings -- there does not seem to be any way to predict what situations are more or less likely to cause them, so there is very little I can do to anticipate what might make me safer.
No change in daily routine. How can I ever feel safe knowing that more people in USA are killed with hands and feet than all kinds of guns put together? Put in perspective, there are still more murders in Chicago every weekend than all three of these widely publicized mass shootings put together. Where is the outrage about that? Far more people die of mis-prescribed drugs than mass shootings. Cars kill hugely more people than guns do, but where is the call to outlaw cars?
There are numerous resources online for individuals struggling in the aftermath of mass shootings.
- The American Psychological Association published a guide to coping with mass shootings and gun violence.
- The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress has a tip sheet for parents and professionals for "restoring a sense of safety" after a shooting.
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides information on talking to children after a mass shooting.
- The American Counseling Association gives tips on self-care in the aftermath of a shooting.
Editor's note: We removed a comment from a reader who wished to remain anonymous.
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