By Amy Goodman, Denis Moynihan
The massacres in Boulder, Colorado, with ten killed, and in metro Atlanta, with eight killed, are just two more instances of senseless gun violence enabled by the NRA, gun manufacturers, and the corrupt politicians they control. Here is a short reminder of some others, for any who might need it:
Columbine High School, Colorado, 1999: 15 dead, 24 injured.
Virginia Tech, 2007: 33 dead, 17 injured.
The Aurora theater, Colorado, 2012: 12 dead, 70 injured.
Oak Creek, Wisconsin Sikh temple, 2012: 7 dead, 4 injured.
Sandy Hook Elementary, Connecticut, 2012: 28 dead, 2 injured.
Charleston, South Carolina, Emmanuel AME church, 2015: 9 dead, 1 injured.
Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, Florida, 2016: 50 dead, 53 injured.
Las Vegas, Nevada, 2017: 61 dead, 411 injured.
Parkland, Florida, high school, 2018: 17 dead, 17 injured.
El Paso, Texas Wal-Mart, 2019: 23 dead, 23 injured.
Dayton, Ohio, 2019: 10 dead, 27 injured.
These are just some of the notorious massacres, each surrounded in time by countless others, with three, four, five killed, lives lost in acts of violence that lack the bodycount sufficient to join the canon of American mass shootings. This carnage was wrought with powerful semi-automatic firearms, almost all of which were assault weapons. This is why we need a federal assault weapons ban, now.
“Assault rifles, all that does is put the ‘mass’ into shootings, allowing them to kill more people quicker,” Democratic Colorado State Representative Tom Sullivan said on the Democracy Now! news hour, shortly after the Boulder grocery store massacre this week.
“Here in Colorado, in 2013,” Sullivan continued, “We passed the background check bill. We passed limiting high-capacity magazines, making people pay for the background checks, doing things about domestic violence, making people actually show up in front of somebody to get a concealed carry permit…But if you want to drive 20 minutes and go into Wyoming, you can buy whatever it is you what and come back down. That’s why it is imperative that we get the federal government to partner with us.”
Sullivan’s route to gun control and elected office was difficult. His son, Alex, was killed in the Aurora theater massacre, celebrating his 27th birthday. When politicians subsequently ignored Sullivan’s pleas for common-sense gun control, he ran for office himself, and won — in a district that had been held by Republicans for decades.
In the wake of the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida, and absent national legislation to address recurring mass shootings, the Boulder City Council passed ordinances banning the sale and possession of assault weapons and extended ammunition magazines. Just days before this week’s massacre in Boulder, a state judge declared the ordinances illegal, legalizing possession of the very weapon used in the slaughter.
Now the Democratic-controlled Colorado state legislature, with the support of Democratic Governor Jared Polis, himself a longtime Boulder resident who said he had shopped many times at the King Soopers supermarket where the massacre occurred, is considering a statewide assault weapons ban.