Sunday, March 28, 2021

Tears for Boulder


Postcard of Boulder, Colorado

Evil came to Boulder, Colorado this week.  On an early spring day when the sky was filled with impending snow that was in the forecast, ten people went about their morning routine never dreaming that it would be their last day. They were young; twenty years old, and seniors in their early 60's.  Some were going to work at a grocery store in their scenic front-range town. Perhaps they smiled at their view of the pretty snow-filled Flat Iron mountains in the distance.  Some were thinking, "I have to pick up my prescription today at the grocery store," or " I have to remember to pick up more eggs for the weekend" or "I think I'll stop into the grocery store to pick up lunch today, instead of bringing it from home."  A police officer put on his uniform and Boulder Police badge said goodbye to his wife and seven children and reported for work. 

Evil was at his family's home in the next town. He prepared his assault rifle weapon, put on a tactical vest, and drove his brother's car to a Kings Sooper grocery store in Boulder, where over 58 minutes he willfully shot to death ten innocent people. 

The Boulder Police Department released the names of the deceased the next day: Police Officer Eric Talley, 51; Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Teri Leiker, 51; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray. 62; and Jodi Waters, 65. 

You can read about them all here.

Officer Talley's Patrol car has become a memorial covered with flowers

The first recorded mass killing by gun in the USA occurred in 1949. In 1966 Evil climbed to the top tower of the main building of the University of Texas at Austin and opened fire with a gun indiscriminately at the people surrounding the campus. Fifteen died.  In 1984 Evil walked into a McDonald's restaurant in San Diego, California, and fatally shot twenty-one people to death.  I could go on and on and on. In the last five years, there have been at least 29 shootings with four or more fatalities, according to a database compiled by the Violence Project.  In 2020, gun violence, of all causes, including suicides, killed 43,536 people in the United States. We are not the most violent country in the world--right now many countries in South America lead in that distinction, but that is little consolation for all the victims.

A memorial of flowers and notes and candles grew day by day on a

 fence that was placed around the parking lot of the grocery store in Boulder.

Evil keeps rearing its anger, its hate, its mental illness, and its paranoid delusion in senseless mass killings of innocent people. In my state of Colorado, 47 people have died from mass shootings in seven incidents since 1991. 

How many more incidents are to come? What is the answer? Do we provide better mental health services, prevent bullying in schools, ban violent video games, ban semi-assault rifles, do extensive background checks during gun sales, promote Red Flag Laws, stop media coverage to discourage copycat events...pray harder? 

As long as there are guns there will be gun violence. As long as assault weapons are sold there is the potential for mass casualties and killings. No place, be it a church, school, theater, fast food restaurant, community center, concert, highway, etc., is safe from danger.


A posting Colorado Governor Polis placed on Facebook this week encourages readers to reach out to their family and friends. 

When a mass shooting occurs, especially nearby, everyone's anxiety rises, and someone reaching out to say "I care" can make a big difference and give that person a chance to talk and express their sadness. Other suggestions to help deal with anxiety can be read here.

I know that each incident in which a person goes to work and never comes home triggers extreme sadness in me.  That happened to my father. When I was a teenager, he went to work one day and a mentally ill person at his job took his life along with wounding two others.   When a tragic incident like this happens I feel pain all over again and extreme sadness. I truly feel empathy for what victims' families go through. Trauma like this never goes away. 

Boulder, Colorado, is a special place for us as our son went to graduate school there and lived there for a few years afterward. It was the first place we visited in Colorado when we lived in New York. We all fell in love with Colorado and made the decision to live here. But no matter where one lives a tragedy such as the one that happened in Boulder can happen. We cry for Boulder today and know the week ahead will be full of sorrow for the families of the victims as they are laid to rest. Please pray for them and pray for our nation. Deliver us from evil. Amen.

It has been a very sad week. With Holy Week and Easter approaching, I'll be taking a short blog break. 

Have a very Blessed and Happy Easter!


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eileeninmd said...

Hello, Pat

These mass shootings are a tragedy, something should have been done after the first time it happened. I do not understand why people have to own an assault weapon, they should be illegal. Background check should be done each time a gun is sold. It is harder to get a drivers license than to buy a gun. My prayers go out to the victims and their families, the people of Colorado. Take care, have a happy day and a great week! Happy Easter to you and your family!

Linda W. said...

Such a horrible tragedy. I don't know what the answer is to preventing these shootings, but banning assault rifles and providing more mental health resources would be a start.

Lorrie said...

Dear Pat,
You have experienced such deep loss, and I imagine these events bring back memories. Your sorrow for the continued mass attacks is palpable. May you find comfort in this Holy Week.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I have given up hope about reasonable gun control in this country.

Barb said...

Such a terrible shock to us here in CO and in the US. We know many families in Boulder including a friend whose office is in that grocery store complex. A friend who works at our local Breckenridge grocery store said they are implementing some safety precautions. But, who is really safe when a person decides they want to kill random people? I just don't know the answer.

Ruth Hiebert said...

I cannot begin to imagine the heartache such a situation must bring. I also can’t imagine why anyone would want to take the lives of innocent people. It is so sad.

Jeanie said...

Your personal loss at such a young age is so deeply tragic and profound. I feel honored that you would share this with us in the wake of such a terrible event. My oldest friend lives in Louisville and when I visit, we go to Boulder, which is a wonderful spot. It makes me terribly sad that now this place is also marked as yet another senseless tragedy. I do not understand why something like this -- or all the others before -- cannot change the minds of politicians to restrict guns. Big hugs to you, my friend.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Oh dear Pat, this senseless tragedy is so heartbreaking. I will never understand the need for a human being needing to buy semi assault rifles. They should be banned! It is way past time to pass this legislation. How many more will have to die before this happens?

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat - I had no idea that your father lost his life that way. How tragic, and what a blow to your family. I am so sorry to hear that, and to know that all those innocent people in Colorado died needlessly last week. Too many senseless killings because of guns. We need stricter gun control laws. Nobody needs semi-automatic weapons. I wish you a calm and peaceful Holy Week, Pat, and a blessed Easter for you and your family.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh Pat. Just, please accept my thanks for this thoughtful post and my apologies for being without adequate words. This was such a heartfelt caring deeply felt essay and I thought that even before I got to where you spoke of your personal connection to this seemingly ongoing repetition of tragedy. No adequate words, no adequate answers.

diane b said...

That is a sad time for the people of Boulder and Colorado. I think it must also be a scary time. I would be worried that it could happen to me or my family and friends.
It is a shame that banning guns is impossible in the States but surely something could be done about assault weapons and screening of buyers. We had a mass shooting in Tasmania in the 90's and our govt changed the gun laws. There was opposition but it was passed. Not many people own guns now only people with special permits like farmers and sports and police. But criminals get them illegally. This article explains how it happened. You might be interested.
Hope you feel better soon. Cook some happy food.

William Kendall said...

Criminal violence once reached into my extended family. It leaves such a hole behind.

The current situation in America is madness.

Judy said...

Such unbelievable sadness! We can't even comprehend how this could happen. And it is understandable that such a tragedy would bring back memories of your father's death. Hugs to you, Pat!

Angie said...

Pat - I don't personally know anyone who has been killed in a mass shooting, but every instance leaves me appalled and grieving. I truly do not understand how we can allow this to continue. You certainly mentioned many of the solutions in your post, and some of them are in progress. But in my mind, not nearly enough is being done to reduce/eliminate access to semi-assault rifles.

I hope you have been able to enjoy your Easter and your blogging break.

Lowcarb team member said...

So sad ...

I hope you were able to enjoy Easter.

All the best Jan

Sharon Wagner said...

There are no words. I wish I didn't know what humans are capable of sometimes.

handmade by amalia said...

There are no words. What is happening to our world?