Colorado Springs and Walmart shootings make 2022 the highest year for mass shootings in America

By Mikayla Silcox

Elm Staff Writer

Two weeks ago, Americans were faced yet again with the horrifying consequences of gun violence and its effects.

On Saturday, Nov. 19, Anderson Aldrich, 22, allegedly murdered five people and injured 25 at Club Q, an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo. The club was holding an event marking Transgender Day of Remembrance, where LGBTQ+ members honored victims of violent hate crimes.

“They were doing a celebration of life for those people that had died and instead, they lost their lives,” Sabrina Aston, whose son Daniel Aston lost his life Saturday night, said in an article for the New York Post.

Aldrich was apprehended and arrested, and is charged for murder and hate crimes. However, the fact that the shooter is in custody should not be a reason for people to look past this tragedy. Assuming that the situation can be overlooked now, despite the fact that people lost their lives, is a reoccurring issue when it comes to gun violence. Oftentimes, people forget about shootings a few days later without considering the lasting impacts of the tragedy.

Aldrich reportedly was apprehended and arrested, looking at charges for murder and hate crimes, but people already lost their lives; holding the shooter in custody should not be a reason for people to look past this tragedy.

Aldrich was only stopped by the heroic actions of Richard Fierro and Thomas James. Fierro, an army veteran, tackled the shooter as the gunfire broke out.

“He saved dozens and dozens of lives,” Matthew Haynes, one of the club owners said in an article for the New York Times.

While people should not have to bear the responsibility of protecting themselves against inhumane acts, there are essential acts of bravery amongst evil acts. While the two heroes were humble in their admittance of their courage to the New York Times, they played an immeasurable role in the lives of others at Club Q, which should not be overlooked.

A few days later, tragedy struck again on Tuesday, Nov. 22, at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Va.

 Manager Andre Bing allegedly killed six people and hurt six more before he took his life inside the store.

“It is by the grace of God that a bullet missed me. I saw the smoke leaving the gun, and I literally watched bodies drop,” Walmart employee Briana Tyler said in an article for the Associated Press.

The violence displayed by Bing was horrific. It not only killed six people, but instilled fear and potential trauma among the survivors.

With someone like a manager, where employees and customers should feel safe, Tuesday’s actions go to show that gun violence has disgustingly grown to take place anywhere and at any time.

While the initiative to make political change after the shootings is a step in the right direction, there is no research to support how the country is making these changes.

On Thanksgiving, President Joseph Biden responded with a plan to de-escalate acts of gun violence.

“I’m going to try to get rid of assault weapons,” Biden said in an article for the Associated Press.

However, statements can only address so much. Action needs to be taken to decrease gun violence in this country.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been over 600 mass shootings in the United States in 2022 alone, and according to criminologist Alan Fox at Northeastern University, 2022 was a record year for mass killings.

With these statistics, focusing on mainly ineffective strategies like banning assault rifles is a waste of resources if nothing else is to be done.

The media makes excuses and attribute mental illness, bullying, parenting, and video games as the main cause of mass shootings. While these may be underlying factors, the 393 million guns owned in America, according to a 2018 Small Arms Survey, is the main factor to the high rate of shootings.

These incorrect beliefs about the causes of mass shootings makes the issue impossible to tackle. However, if Americans who supported gun control made it as heightened an issue as those who do not support it, there would be a greater opportunity for the majority to enact stricter laws.

Out of respect for the lives lost in the Colorado Springs and Virginia shooting, alongside the immeasurable number of deaths previous from mass shootings, decreasing the number of guns in the U.S. should become an urgent issue.

Evident from vigils held for the victims of Colorado Springs, communities come together to support those impacted by injustice, and this same agency and support need to be used to tackle the issue on a larger scale.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Photo Caption: On Nov. 19, five people were killed and 25 were injured at a LGBTQ+ nightclub called Club Q in Colorado Springs, CO.

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