El Paso, Texas is filled with people from all different, ethnic, cultural backgrounds, educational needs, races, and religions. A place I was born and continue to be proud to represent. All my life the people of El Paso have been kind, considerate, and all around genuinely good. A city of safety, community, and support. Hard working people who tirelessly bring goods and services. A place where your neighbor lends a hand whenever you need it with no questions asked.
So, waking up on a Saturday and turning on the news to a horrific act has left many people shaken. You hear about school shootings going back to Columbine high school. An act of violence carried out by 2 boys with anger and malicious intent in their hearts. You think of the terrible events that went on that day and you cringe to think of what those people must be going through.
In light of those events, you fast forward and think of the 200+ shootings around the country that have happened since then. Again, you cringe to think of something like that touching your community. You huddle in groups and pray for the victims, their families, officers, medical professionals, and other agencies who surround a scene like this. Sometimes, you get up and you donate money or blood or you lend a hand. You do what you can, but utterly feel helpless from afar.
Yesterday, I felt a heavy heart all day and could not focus on anything but the news unfolding before my eyes. I had flashbacks to similar events and days like this that have happened in our country. It’s the feeling in the pit of your stomach that won’t come loose. The tension in your shoulders that knots and lingers. The bile at the back of your throat and the burning behind your eyes. Heartbroken and sick to think of the vile acts.
At approximately 10:36 am, a 21 year old white male got out of his car with a rifle strapped to him and opened fire outside and inside of a Walmart. A typical day where people were preparing for the beginning of school, shopping for supplies and clothes. A day for many in the community to pick up their groceries or household items. Sports groups outside running fundraisers and enjoying the sun. All those tasks interrupted by death and darkness.
The sky fell that day when 20 innocent beautiful people were killed and another 26 were injured by the gun of a young boy on a mission. I’m not going to get into how he got guns and how our country needs gun control. That is not what this post is about. I’m not going to make this political and point fingers and blame. The only person to blame is the person who took these innocent lives and injured others in the process.
I want to extend my deepest gratitude to our first responders, police, tactical units, rangers, EMT’s, nurses, doctors, techs, hospital personnel, and to the community of El Paso for banding together to aid in those who needed help. I can only pray that the trauma others have seen will not linger and that they can overcome the experience of this day.
People are still awaiting news of names and I understand you want to know, but I dread the day when names are released. The hurt and the feeling of sickness and heartbreak will return and stay for some time. The El Paso community has been so amazing in offering help, to pay for funerals, and aid in those who need aid in other ways.
If you can, donate blood in your community. If not for El Paso, but for those who need it in your area. If you can’t physically lend a hand, donate money. Every dollar makes a difference even if you don’t have much to spare. If you can’t donate, volunteer or send someone you know to volunteer and help. There are ways to get out there and assist your community.
After this tragic and sad day, I looked out at the sky and the clouds were rolling in. First in clumps of white, then grey. The day that was bright and hot began to darken and cool. When the first drops of water slid out of the clouds, I can only describe it as God’s tears. A slow steady dripping on the face of a day full of evil.
Many don’t want me to extend my thoughts and prayers, but I’m going to extend them anyway. This will not be far from mine or El Paso’s thoughts for a long time. Prayers will not stop for the victims, families, those who were there and all who have been surrounded. To the investigators, city officials, and police who have to process the scene and question the shooter.
Yes, I even pray for him and his soul and what weighs heavy on his mind to commit such a cruel and senseless act. A boy who isn’t a man and carried out an act that is sure to send him to his death.
Let us grieve, mourn, band together, and hug our loved ones close. We are not guaranteed another day.
Yesterday the sky fell and God cried, but today we stand up and we go to work.