It’s been a bloody, bloody 24 hours in America. Twenty people died yesterday in a horrific mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, at a Walmart store packed with parents and kids shopping for back-to-school supplies.
Then, early this morning, a man wearing body armor opened fire in the Oregon District of Dayton, Ohio, killing 9 and wounding 26.
Lt. Col. Matt Carper said at the suspect was shot to death by responding officers.
“This is extremely unusual, obviously, for any community, let alone Dayton,” Carper told reporters. “In our Oregon District, this is unheard of.”
The Oregon District is a historic neighborhood that Carper described as “a safe part of downtown,” home to entertainment options, including bars, restaurants and theaters. The shooting took place outside, on the 400-block of East 5th Street.
Witnesses said they saw an unspecified number of “walking wounded” in the area, according to local media reports. Tianycia Leonard, 28, told the Associated Press she was out back, smoking, at Newcom’s when heard “loud thumps” that she initially thought was people pounding on a dumpster.
A copycat? The wall-to-wall media coverage of the El Paso Walmart shooting would suggest it’s a definite possibility. But what are we going to do? Ban the media from covering news? That’s not an option in America — at least the America that you and I know.
But then, these shootings aren’t a part of an America that I know either. There will be the usual charges that the president has “enabled” the murders. But that is incredibly stupid and simple-minded. To reduce the complex motivations of a mentally disturbed individual to “Trump made me do it” is absurd. But for the simple-minded — and the politically ambitious — it works just fine.
Over the next few days, we will learn a lot about the shooters, but I doubt that what really motivates them will be revealed. In the end, we will be trying to make sense and ascribing reasoning to someone incapable of reason.