Within 14 hours, 29 innocent Americans were killed, and at least 52 injured, in two separate mass shootings over the weekend.
On Saturday morning, 20 people were killed in a shopping centre in El Paso, Texas and later that day, nine were killed in a bar district in Dayton, Ohio.
To say Americans are reeling from these brutal attacks feels awfully cliched but these acts of gun violence have sent shock waves around the country.
Are US citizens supposed to accept that mass shootings are an immutable, unalterable fact of their lives?
These two incidents bring the total number of mass shooting in 2019 up to at least 18. To put it another way, as ABC reports, this is an average of one mass shooting every 12 days this year.
A 21-year-old man, Patrick Crusius, has been charged with murder for his brutal killing spree in a Walmart store which is the 8th most deadly mass shooting in recent American history.
A “hate-riddled” four-page manifesto was posted online by Crusius 20 minutes before his attack. It stated his attack was “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas” and expressed sympathy for the white nationalist massacre at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand earlier this year. Federal authorities have classified the crime as an act of domestic terrorism.
In Dayton, a 24-year-old man, Connor Betts, was named as the shooter and the nine people he killed included his own 22-year-old sister Megan Betts. He was shot by police.
The US president Donald Trump, who had spent the at his golf resort New Jersey, eventually spoke to reporters. “I want to extend our condolences from El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. They’re incredible people, they’ve been through a lot.”
He didn’t reference the alleged hate crime component of the attack in El Paso nor gun control. “Hate has no place in our country. We’re going to take care of it.”
How? Thoughts and prayers certainly aren’t working.
It has been observed many times that the fact America failed to reform its gun laws after Sandy Hook, in which 20 kindergarten students were slain in their class room in 2012, is sadly, brutally telling.
Dan Hodges wrote: In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.