A Nearby Shooting and the Inability to Ever Feel Safe Again

Kaitlynn Lohmann, Copy Editor

We have all seen the national headlines. The ones about the AK-15s, the AR-556 pistols, and innocent people being murdered in vain. Why? Sometimes we do not ever get to know the answer. All we know is that there have been seven mass shootings in Colorado since 1993. Seven. And those are only the ones that were big enough to make the national news. No matter where you are or what you are doing, there is a chance that someone standing right next to you has a gun and is prepared to kill everyone in view. One-shot can end someone’s life. All they have ever known, ever worked for, and ever loved could be gone in an instant.

Unfortunately, society typically hears about these shootings, sympathizes for those who were injured or killed, but ultimately moves on and puts it behind us. But what if you are the one involved in the shooting? Can you ever put it past you and move on with your life? It is not that easy. The recent Boulder shooting on March 22, 2021, hit too close to home for ourselves and our peers to simply move on from. 

Mourners placed flowers and signs near King Soopers, after the shooting (Image by Skylar Manning)

A simple spring afternoon, where customers of a King Soopers innocently shopped for their groceries made small talk with the cashier, before going on their way. Or so they thought. Until 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa arrived in the parking lot and began to fire. 

The first person murdered was a repairman parked next to Al-Issa. Another man was shot multiple times, dying in an attempt to run away from the death he was about to endure. The gunman shot more people as he trumped into the store. A family waiting for their COVID-19 vaccine hid in a coat closet while hearing the woman that had been right in front of them lose her life. 

When the police arrived, one of them would quickly meet his fate. Officer Eric Talley, shot while trying to stop the gunfire in the store. He had seven kids waiting for him to come home after his shift. He never got the chance to say goodbye to any of them. 

Other officers had to break the windows of King Soopers and were involved in a shootout with the gunman. The police had to use the sound system to communicate and convince the murderer to surrender. How did he react? He laughed. Laughing, when ten people had lost everything due to his actions. 

Some may say that people involved in shootings were in the wrong place at the wrong time. There should not have to be a “wrong” place or time to live our normal lives. How were the people picking up their fruits and vegetables supposed to know that they should not have gone out to get their necessities? Most people pick where they live based on how safe they feel. But how can we ever live our normal lives when every time we leave our house, no matter where we live, there is a chance that our lives may be lost? 

Annabelle Howard, a resident near Boulder, explains, “I never even thought about what would happen if I was at the grocery store, or anywhere else, aside from school, where we have drills on what to do. I would have no idea what to do in that situation and that’s terrifying.” 

Signs about gun safety and banning assault rifles were put on the fence outside of the grocery store (Image by Skylar Manning)

We have drills to protect us and tell us what to do in an emergency situation. There should not be a need to have drills when it comes to people. Drills should be for the random tornadoes and earthquakes that happen naturally. Not for someone who can walk into a building and start shooting with no hesitation. If we need protective measures to even go to school, how are we supposed to live a life without fear? 

“After hearing about the [Boulder] shooting, I could not believe that it had happened so close to home,” another near resident of Boulder, Grace Wagner, admits. “Anyone I know and love could have been doing something as simple as shopping for groceries, and I would never see them again. It makes me realize that something like this could happen to anyone, almost anywhere, and that is an extremely scary thing to think about.” 

A list of the people who were lost in the Boulder shooting (Image by Skylar Manning)

This is not just some plot of a war movie. This is real life. And it is happening right in front of our eyes. Almost every day, we are consumed with stories about these shootings. But when one happens fairly close to home, we take a step back and realize what is really happening. We could have been that person shot multiple times while fleeing from a scene. 

We are afraid to live in our own towns. Any moment could be the last one we ever have on earth. All because of some stranger that has the intent to kill. No matter the motive, innocent people are dying. Our society is being murdered. But at least it was not us, right? But what if it will be?