A reflection on recent gun violence


Bryan Vomacka
Digital Content Manager

Graphic by Philly Nevada/the Gateway

On the morning of Aug. 3, 2019, 22 people were killed and 27 more were injured in a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. At 1:00 a.m. on Aug. 4, 2019, nine people were killed and at least 27 more were injured in an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio in the second mass shooting in less than 24 hours.

Gun violence has escalated to a dramatic level in the last several days. These two shootings received national media coverage, but two in Chicago and one each in Memphis, Tennessee, and Brooklyn, New York, did not.

Although not classified as mass shootings, three people were injured in three separate shootings in Omaha on Sunday Aug. 4, 2019.

The Washington Post has an incredibly detailed analysis of the history of mass shootings in the United States. Their definition of a mass shooting is when a shooter kills four or more people. It was updated to include the El Paso and Dayton shootings within hours of them happening.

There is a part of this analysis that breaks down where every mass shooting has occurred. Schools, restaurants, stores and places of worship are all present in this analysis.

The Washington Post’s research shows that few places are safe from the randomness and chaos of mass shootings. In addition, according to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 253 mass shootings so far in 2019, which is more than one per day.

As a college student in my twenties, the recent outburst of gun violence on a local and national level has led me to question how safe my community really is. Through the lens of mass shootings, mundane things like walking through Elmwood Park or working in a retail store seem dangerous.

However, the people who commit these violent acts want people to be scared. The president, who is sowing division throughout the country, wants people to be afraid.

I found resolve in the thought that we must continue living our lives despite the various forces working against so many of us. While it was a small shift in mindset, it was a good reminder to myself, (and hopefully others) to vote in elections, call representatives and keep fighting for what is right.