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What happens in the country? Is it time to give thanks for not being in the middle of a shooting?

No one imagines being in the middle of bullets, in the middle of chaos, running for their lives, looking for a hiding place, not moving, filling the body with the blood of a relative, a friend, someone from the community to appear injured, not emitting sound, play dead, don't breathe. Is it time to give thanks for not being in that situation? Today we will give thanks that it was not to one of us or of ours? What happens in the country? What's happening to us?

Just on the night of November 19 amidst music, colors, and dancing inside a Colorado gay nightclub, a 22-year-old gunman opened fire on the crowd, killing 5 of them and wounding 25 more before heroic clients to subdue him, so that later the policemen could arrest him.

The young man named Anderson Lee Aldrich held at least two weapons, one of them long.

The tragedy has repeated itself once again. Once again with connotations of hate. Once again against vulnerable groups who should not be afraid to walk or enjoy their day without fear of being next.

This Thanksgiving, millions celebrate being together, being able to stay alive despite a pandemic that has taken and continues to take many. Now, like never before, hate crimes against those who are from minority communities are added. Racism adds to the crimes that daily abound in the country.

According to the non-profit organization Gun Violence Archive, from January to mid-November this year there had been at least 606 mass shootings, 20 of which resulted in five or more deaths, including the November 22 attack on a Chesapeake, Virginia Walmart; and the November 19 shooting at the Colorado nightclub.

The lack of consensus on what constitutes a mass shooting complicates efforts by the government, nonprofit organizations and news organizations to document the scope of the problem, The New York Times said in an article taking up the issue in the country.

And it is that, they expose, each group defines mass shootings differently, depending on the circumstances, the number of victims and whether they are killed or injured, as well as whether the shooting takes place in a public place.

To get some perspective on how the situation has been getting worse, Gun Violence Archive notes on its website that there were 269 mass shootings in 2014, 335 in 2015, 382 in 2016, 346 in 2017, 336 in 2018, 417 in 2019, 611 in 2020 and 692 last year.

Only in 2020, the year in which the COVID-19 pandemic began, to date, there have been 1,909 mass shootings, in which 200 people have died and 97 injured.

If these figures are not scandalous, I don't know what is. The situation is aggravating. The situation has gotten out of control and it seems that the country's legislators cannot or do not want to do more to regulate the use of weapons, since in several states it is currently more difficult for a minor to buy beer than to acquire a weapon.

"Mass shootings are, for the most part, an American phenomenon. Although they are generally grouped as one type of incident, there are several and the basic definition is that they have a minimum of four victims shot, injured or killed, not including any shooter who was also killed or injured in the incident, “says the organization.

Regarding what happened in Colorado, the president of the United States, Joseph Biden, pointed out that the citizens of his country “cannot and should not tolerate hate.”

“Places that are supposed to be safe spaces of acceptance and celebration must never become places of terror and violence. However, it happens all too often. We must eliminate the inequities that contribute to violence against LGBTQI+ people,” he said.

But the hatred has been carried to other parts of society. Yesterday, November 23, six people were killed by shots from a man who opened fire on Tuesday night inside a Walmart in the city of Chesapeake, in the State of Virginia. 

The mass shooting triggered an intense mobilization of the police, who went to the site minutes after 10:00 p.m., when the first calls were made to the emergency services. 

On the same day, the local police chief, Mark Solesky, confirmed that the perpetrator was an employee of the store and that, according to all indications, he committed suicide with the pistol he used to carry out the attack. 

Five more people were injured by the perpetrator, they are hospitalized. 

This Wednesday the establishment was still open at 10:00 p.m., as a large number of customers came to buy supplies and gifts to celebrate this "Thanksgiving Day", to whom fear ran through when they heard the shots that the perpetrator and manager of the place he performed against his teammates in the rest area. 

Today, the families of those 6 people and others in the country are mourning what is happening and it seems to have no end. Is it time to give thanks for being alive or to reflect on what happens? Could it be that those who legislate will finally do something about it to stop the sale of weapons? How many more shootings and murders does it take for the country to finally be able to give thanks?

What happens in the country? Is it time to give thanks for not being in the middle of a shooting?

Pamela Cruz. Editor-in-Chief of Peninsula 360 Press. A communicologist by profession, but a journalist and writer by conviction, with more than 10 years of media experience. Specialized in medical and scientific journalism at Harvard and winner of the International Visitors Leadership Program scholarship from the U.S. government.
Twittter: @Pamesmiamiga

This publication was supported in whole or part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library.

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Pamela Cruz
Pamela Cruz
Editor-in-Chief of Peninsula 360 Press. A communicologist by profession, but a journalist and writer by conviction, with more than 10 years of media experience. Specialized in medical and scientific journalism at Harvard and winner of the International Visitors Leadership Program scholarship from the U.S. government.

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