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We must be prepared

The Denver Post

The grocery store shooting that killed 10 people in Boulder [March 22] has driven home what we’ve long suspected: Today America is a country where every resident must be prepared at all times for a deadly assault.

Americans once enjoyed domestic peace. The Columbine High School massacre in 1999 was an anomaly of such historic proportions that the entire world watched in horror as the death toll climbed. Too much evil has occurred since then, and Colorado has received more than its fair share of senseless violence.

On [March 22] when shoppers heard gunfire in the King Soopers in south Boulder, it was as though the inevitable had occurred. “It seemed like all of us had imagined we’d be in a situation like this at some point in our lives,” James Bentz, a survivor of the tragedy told Denver Post reporters.

And so, Americans must decide if we are OK living with the fear that someday we too might lose someone we hold dear at the hands of a mass killer. Most decidedly, The Post’s editorial board is not willing to accept the status quo. Because while we cannot prevent every mass shooting, or drive-by, or suicide, or accident, we can implement policies that would make these tragedies rarer and less deadly.

In the coming days, we will learn more about what happened Monday.

Some of the details will matter a great deal — the stories of those who died.

We know that one of the victims was Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley, a man with more than a decade on the force and seven children, who responded to the call of shots being fired and died at the scene. His courage will be marked in the coming days with solemn tributes from his friends and family. His name will forever be linked with University of Colorado Colorado Springs Police Officer Garrett Swasey who died in 2015 trying to prevent the Planned Parenthood shooting; Douglas County sheriff’s deputy Zackari Parrish who did everything he could to deescalate a mental health crisis before he was shot and killed; and Kendrick Castillo who died in 2019 while trying to stop a teen gunman at STEM School Highlands Ranch. There have been too many fallen heroes in recent years to name here. …

Some of the details will be hard to turn away from, but they won’t matter.

Knowing the shooter’s name and his motive won’t bring back the dead or stop the hurt felt throughout the Boulder community.

And some details will be critical as we go forward.

Colorado closed the gun show loophole after Columbine. We learned there were warning signs that psychiatrists needed to report to authorities from the Aurora theater shooting. Claire Davis’ family pushed Arapahoe High School after the 17-year-old was shot and killed to take future threats of violence seriously. And the STEM shooting taught us all the consequences of not having firearms stored securely enough from those who could be dangerous.

There will be time to grieve as a community, lessons to learn and vulnerabilities to patch up.

We pray this never happens again, and if that’s not possible in today’s America then we pray for the resolve to never let this become ordinary, to never give up the hope that a more tranquil world could exist. We must all be prepared for a deadly assault like the one in Boulder on [March 22], but we don’t have to pretend that it’s inevitable.

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