Over the past year America's string of disturbing active shooter incidents declined thanks to the closing of schools, businesses and fully attended functions. In the past week however two separate incidents have placed mass shootings front and center on 2021's Bingo card. First came eight casualties in a suburban Atlanta massage parlor district, a random act of violence that media and celebrities alike blamed on a perceived notion of growing hate towards Asian-Americans. Then in Colorado's darkest day since the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, a gunman opens fire in a Boulder supermarket, killing 10 including 51-year old police officer Eric Talley, a father of seven. The captured gunman was armed with a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle, possible motives, including a possible dispute over mask mandates, is unclear. Store video and citizen livestream footage captured the chaos and horror. The impact was instantly felt far beyond Boulder. The University of Colorado men's basketball game was en route to their second-round NCAA Tournament game in Indianapolis when they learned of the shooting within two miles of the CU campus. After the team's loss to Florida State University, coach Tad Boyle expressed emotions. "Win or lose, I felt an emptiness in my stomach," Boyle said. "Another senseless act of violence we've experienced in this country many, many times. It puts this game in perspective." Local professional sports teams including the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rockies, Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Rapids expressed sympathies on social media. What happens next is a renewed debate over gun laws. The city of Boulder represents one of the farthest-left leaning areas of America while more rural parts of Colorado represent parts of the extreme right. Just 10 days ago a judge blocked a two-year old ban on large capacity weapons in the city of Boulder. With Democrats in control of the House, Senate and White House, the debate over gun control is back on center stage. Any talk of revisiting Second Amendment rights will see pushback from the same crowd involved in the January 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection. Meanwhile Americans are reminded of dangers much more prevalent than the still-ongoing pandemic. Even a trip to the store to grab some soda and snacks carries risk.
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