So today 20 innocent people were gunned down by a white supremacist in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Another 26 were seriously injured, some critically. Earlier this week, two store workers were killed in a Walmart in Mississippi. And on Sunday this week, another white supremacist gunman opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival near San Jose, California, killing three of us and injuring 15 .
In just this last week, according to MassShootingTracker.com, 43 were killed and 75 injured in mass shootings. In 2019, 291 mass shootings have taken place so far – that’s 291 mass shootings in 215 days! In those 291 horrific events, 335 individuals have been murdered and 1,111 others were injured.
In May, a gunman killed 13 people at a municipal building in Virginia Beach. The month before, on the last day of Passover in April, a vocal anti-Semite attacked a synagogue in Poway, California, killing one person and injuring three.
EL PASO—A lone gunman killed at least 20 people inside a crowded Walmart on Saturday morning, according to eyewitnesses and officials.
“A day that would’ve been a normal day for someone to leisurely go shopping, turned into one of the most deadly days in the history of Texas. Lives were taken who should still be with us today. Twenty innocent people from El Paso have lost their lives, and more than two dozen more are injured,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said at an evening press conference.
At least 22 people were transported to area hospitals, including a 4-month-old girl. At least nine people were in critical condition at Del Sol Medical Center, where three of them were said to be in “life-threatening” condition. The victims there ranged in age from 35 to 82, but no further details were immediately available.
Police have not yet identified those killed, though Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced on Twitter late Saturday that three Mexican nationals were among the 20 people killed.
Police said one person is in custody and they have ruled out multiple shooters. The suspect has been identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius of Texas, according to a senior law-enforcement source. Authorities are investigating a purported manifesto posted online shortly before the attack.
“Right now we have a manifesto from this individual, that indicates to some degree, it has a nexus to potential hate crime,” El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said at a press conference. Allen, who stopped short of naming the suspect, said authorities were still working to “validate” that the manifesto was penned by the alleged gunman.
More than a thousand people were inside the Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall when the shooting started around 11 a.m. A woman named Karina, who declined to give her last name, said she was driving in the parking lot with her 7-year-old daughter when she saw a white man in his twenties in front of the store’s main entrance, dressed in all black and carrying a long rifle. Karina said she heard what sounded like “balloons popping” and saw the gunman shoot another man at “point-blank” range.
Then the gunman entered the store, as captured by surveillance footage.
Miguel Rodriguez said he was shopping for a toy for his 7-year-old son when he heard gunshots and ducked to the ground. He said a person “started shooting everyone, aisle by aisle, with rage.”
Britney, a 19-year-old who declined to give her last name, said she was with her 16-year-old brother and her mother in the store’s underwear aisle when she heard shooting. The family dropped to the ground. Then Britney said she grabbed her mother and brother’s hands and they ran out of the store.
⚠️Video from inside JCPENNY in Cielo Vista Mall as it was being evacuated, due to an active shooter in the area.
Video: Victoria Balderrama pic.twitter.com/7v67DL4mPG
Dozens of people from inside the mall who were evacuated lined a nearby street. A man carrying a Bible went from group to group, asking people to pray with him.
The El Paso shooting is the latest in a series of deadly attacks on public places. On Monday, a disgruntled employee killed two people in a Walmart store in Mississippi. Last Sunday, a gunman killed three people and injured 15 at the Gilroy Garlic Festival near San Jose, California. In May, a gunman killed 12 people at a municipal building in Virginia Beach. The month before, on the last day of Passover in April, a vocal anti-Semite allegedly attacked a synagogue in Poway, California, killing one person.
We received the following letter to the editor from Larnie Fox, Benicia artist and former director of Arts Benicia
September 11, 2017
Many citizens are very upset about the hike in water bills and the new water meters. Our bill went up too, and we have a new water meter. I don’t like paying more for water now that we are on a fixed income, but it seemed reasonable and necessary to me, if a bit sudden. I understand that it came as a huge shock to many, and that there were big problems with the rollout of the new meters and that the increase in some people’s bills is apparently not justified by their actual usage.
I understand why people are angry, and I like the fact that they are civically engaged. However, the tone of the debate has become pretty ugly. I have seen some grandstanding at City Hall meetings, very unkind posts in social media, and personal attacks on the Mayor, Council, and City Staff. During my time directing Arts Benicia, I worked with and came to know many of the people who are now being vilified, and I know that they are without a doubt motivated by a love of Benicia and its citizens, and a deep desire to serve them.
We see similar angry rants and hateful social media memes in national politics now ~ and I think we can all see how this anger, which may be justified, becomes a barrier to finding solutions. I had hoped that our community was better than that.
As I wrote last year during the height of the crude by rail controversy: “Let’s keep in mind that we all care deeply about our charming, artistic, innovative little town. Please, let’s all keep civility and respect for the First Amendment, for each other and for our vibrant but frail local democracy at the forefront during this debate. After the issue is settled, let’s all reunite to work towards our common vision: maintaining Benicia as the safe, friendly, livable, economically viable small town in the Bay Area that we all love.”
Larnie Fox, artist and former director of Arts Benicia