EL PASO, Texas — Anguished families planned funerals in two U.S. cities, politicians pointed fingers and a nation numbed by gun violence wondered what might come next Monday as the death toll from two weekend mass shootings rose to 31.

The attacks 1,300 miles apart — at a packed shopping center in El Paso, Texas, and a popular nightlife stretch in Dayton, Ohio — also injured dozens more. They became the newest entries on an ever-growing list of mass shooting sites and spurred discussion on where to lay the blame. President Donald Trump cited mental illness and video games but steered away from talk of curbing gun sales.

For all the back-to-back horror of innocent people slain amid everyday life, decades of an unmistakably American problem of gun violence ensured it wasn’t entirely shocking. Even as the familiar post-shooting rituals played out in both cities, others clung to life in hospitals, with two new fatalities recorded among those injured at the shooting at the Walmart in El Paso.

As in a litany of other shooting sites before, the public juggled stories of the goodness seen in lives cut short with inklings of the demented motives of the shooters, and on-scene heroics with troubling ideologies that may have sparked the bloodshed.

Equally familiar, Washington reacted along party lines, with Trump’s vague suggestion of openness to new gun laws met with skepticism by an opposition that has heard similar talk before.

“Hate has no place in America,” the president declared in a 10-minute speech from the White House Diplomatic Reception Room, condemning racism and rehashing national conversations on treatment for mental health, depiction of violence in the media, and discourse on the internet.

A racist screed authorities were working to confirm was left by the alleged perpetrator of the Texas shooting, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, mirrored some of Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. Some, like Ernesto Carrillo, whose brother-in-law Ivan Manzano was killed in the Walmart attack, said the president shares blame for inflammatory language Carrillo called a “campaign of terror.”

“His work as a generator of hate ended in this,” said Carrillo, who crossed the border from Ciudad Juárez on Monday for a meeting in El Paso with Mexico’s foreign minister. “Thanks to him, this is all happening.”

Trump, in turn, tweeted that the media “contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up.”

Trump suggested a bill to expand gun background checks could be combined with his long-sought effort to toughen the nation’s immigration system, but gave no rationale for the pairing. Studies have repeatedly shown immigrants have a lower level of criminality than those born in the U.S., both shooting suspects were citizens, and federal officials are investigating anti-immigrant bias as a potential motive in the Texas massacre.

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a leading voice on gun reform since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in his state rattled the country with the slaughter of 20 children, immediately dismissed the president’s proposal as meaningless. “Tying background checks to immigration reform is a transparent play to do nothing,” he wrote on Twitter.

Whatever the political back-and-forth, or the re-energized presence of gun control talk on the presidential campaign trail, the very real consequences of gun violence were still being bared by victims badly injured in the two states.

In both incidents, a young white man was identified as the lone suspect. Though authorities were eyeing racism as a possible factor in Texas, where the alleged shooter has been booked on murder charges, in Ohio police said there was no indication of a similar motivation. Police in Dayton responded in about 30 seconds early Sunday and fatally shot 24-year-old Connor Betts. While the gunman was white and six of the nine killed were black, police said the quickness of the rampage made any discrimination in the shooting seem unlikely.

Betts’ sister was also among the dead.

“It seems to just defy believability he would shoot his own sister, but it’s also hard to believe that he didn’t recognize it was his sister, so we just don’t know,” said Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine visited the scene Sunday and said policymakers must consider: “Is there anything we can do in the future to make sure something like this does not happen?”

Hours later, hundreds of people stood at a vigil and vented their frustration at the Republican governor, interrupting him with chants of “Make a change!” and “Do something!” as he talked about the victims.

“People are angry, and they’re upset. They should be,” said Jennifer Alfrey, 24, of Middletown, who added that she didn’t agree with interrupting the vigil but understood why so many did.

In Texas, where 22 were killed, authorities said the accused shooter drove nearly 10 hours from his home in a Dallas suburb. Authorities seemed to take some solace in knowing the shooter wasn’t one of their own.

“It’s not what we’re about,” El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(26) comments

MRS M

Bogus, tough-talkin' gun advocates and the NRA who preach that Americans are safer when all are allowed to carry an unlimited amount of weaponry, were tragically shown in the El Paso shooting that none of the proud, gun-lovin' Texans were able to defend themselves or their fellow shoppers, whether out of terror, fear, or the inability to defend oneself against an AK47 loaded with high capacity magazines. Military weapons need to be outlawed in America. Those who must own this weaponry for their freakish "recreation" should go out and "play" paintball and pretend they're at war. School starts in a few weeks, and America's students and their families are at risk..............all so gun advocates can have their weapons of "recreation". A sick, sick and terrified country may be ready to vote against this aberrant thinking, despite the amount of money that will be dumped into the election process by the "cocked and loaded" NRA.

Comment deleted.
MRS M

Now what was I saying 'bout bogus and tough talkin' gun advocates, needing to prove their "manhood" with military weapons??!. Like I said... Go play paintball and show your true " courage" . Everyone else knows the US is going to have to take action against military weapons with added magazines. It may take til 2020, but it will happen. Americans, including those gun owners who own guns for protection and recreation, agree. Only miscreants don't.

richardlyons

There is no reason for an individual, other than LE and military (and those are issued by the government), to possess an assault rifle.

rikkitikkitavvi

First: AR does NOT stand for “Assault Rifle”

The “AR” in AR-15 is assumed to mean “assault rifle”. It does not. Period. Just because Piers Morgan or Oprah said that’s what it stands for it doesn’t mean that they are right. The “AR” comes from the firearms manufacturer Armalite. Those letters are used as a standard naming practice for their firearms. Just like the Ford F-150, the AR-15 is a specific model.

Second: What is an Assault Rifle?

Now, that’s a smart question. An assault rifle is a rifle that:

has selectable firing modes

can fire in fully automatic mode

Select fire means that there is a switch to toggle between firing modes. One firing mode is called “semiautomatic”. Semiautomatic means that when the trigger is pulled, the following happens:

A bullet is fired

The spent bullet casing is ejected from the firearm

The next bullet round is loaded into the firing chamber

That’s it. One trigger pull = one bullet fired. That’s semiautomatic. That is how most handguns work, how many rifles work and even how some shotguns work. Pull the trigger and one bullet comes out. Just one and only one. A firearm that fires one bullet at a time and loads the next round into the chamber is called a “semiautomatic” firearm. Semiautomatic rifles are NOT assault rifles.

Now, there is another firing mode that is called “fully automatic”. In the case of full auto firearms, when the trigger is pulled and held down, the firearm will shoot continuously until the trigger is released or until the gun runs out of ammunition. A fully automatic firearm is often referred to as a “machine gun”. Machine guns can be described as assault rifles.

richardlyons

There is no reason for an individual, other than LE and military (and those are issued by the government), to possess an assault rifle. Next time save your diatribe for someone that might actually read it

KR999

And how do you know no one read what rik wrote? Hmmmm?

gabrielshorn2013

Richard, it is already illegal to possess an "Assault Rifle", and it has been since the '30s. Assault Weapons are full-auto or burt's fire (3 shots with one trigger pull). What is called an "assault rifle" by many are just cosmetic differences from other semi-automatic long guns currently on the market. If you read what the 1994 ban encompassed, they were cosmetic, or unavailable to the public. Rocket launchers? How many of them are in circulation and used in any crime? They are already banned by other Federal laws. Flash suppressor? All that does is allow propellant gas pressure to escape from side ports (reducing recoil), rather than all escaping from the muzzle. Any rifle may be fitted with one. Many (most nowadays) firearms use detachable magazines, including hunting rifles. The difference being capacity. You can outlaw high capacity magazines, but any sheet metal shop can fabricate them. That was the selling point of this style of rifle, changeable parts that are easily replaced by the end user.

gabrielshorn2013

^burst, not burt's. Autospell strikes again.

richardlyons

There is no reason for an individual, other than LE and military (and those are issued by the government), to possess an assault rifle. Gabriel this is what I believe. we have debated the details of weaponry, bump stocks, flash suppressors, high capacity magazines, silencers, etc. etc. etc. You and I agreed to disagree. My statement still stands.

Samanthapowers

Gabe - if only you could put as much efforts into finding a solution instead of continuously defending guns and owners. when will it be enough for you? if 20 dead children did not do it, don't know what will.

rikkitikkitavvi

Richard, We do disagree. My statement will also stand. See how easy that was? No more discussion needed or wanted on the subject because we will never agree. I hope you remember that. The end. Have a blessed day Richard.

gabrielshorn2013

Sam, we both agree that the shootings have to stop. We just disagree on the method. As I said previously, there are many roads to the mountaintop. Banning something does not make it instantly go away. Even if you banned what you call "assault weapons", there are estimated to be nearly 20 million of such firearms in the public domain right now. What do you think the percentage of these rifles that would be turned in? I'd say pretty close to zero. Who is more likely to turn them in? Certainly not the criminal element. Also, the stock prices of all the firearms manufacturers jumped again. Why? Every time people start talking about banning this style of firearm, they cause a huge surge in market demand, adding to the numbers. Banning anything never eliminates it, Never. Remember Prohibition? The war on drugs? Abject failures. What we need is to determine WHY people chose to commit mass murder. Read the books by James A. Fox, a noted criminologist from Northeastern University. The number of mass murders has actually held fairly stable over the years. It is the level of media coverage that changes, especially when the murders involve firearms. The perpetrators of these recent tragedies are now (in)famous, and their names are spread far and wide. We also need to enforce the Federal laws currently on the books. Many murders who used firearms are repeat offenders, who, due to lax (or no!) enforcement, are let out and murder with a firearm again. If these murderers had served their full sentences, rather than having their terms bargained down to next to nothing, many of their victims would still be alive. I previously provided numerous examples of such convicts. We see it all the time in big cities like Baltimore where the justice system is a revolving door because the prosecutors, and even judges, are more concerned with their conviction or reversal rates than they are of protecting the public.

gabrielshorn2013

@richard. Fair enough, and I respect your opinion.

Samanthapowers

Gabe, I recognize and realize everything you stated. In fact, for what it's worth, your comments on education make a lot of sense to me. However, as a society, we are ill and we need to address the cancer that is taking far too many innocent lives. Out of curiosity, would you support any sort of compromise? I mean, there are far too many guns out there. Last count was ~400m. Isn't that enough?

Samanthapowers

And thank you, I will check out that book you mentioned. More education is never a bad thing.

gabrielshorn2013

Sam, yes, we as a society are sick. We have cocooned ourselves off from one another, and don’t have much in the way of social activities the way we used to. It’s “us” and “them”. You can even see it here on the FNP comments section. Instead of reading various newspapers and magazines to get a rounded view, we find websites that reflect our own opinions, thus amplifying them. This is exactly what happened with the recent shooters in El Paso and Dayton. It is a common theme for many of the shooters. As has been reported, these folks were the “odd ducks” in their communities. They feel shut out by society, and gravitate toward others online who may share their twisted viewpoints. It becomes an amplification loop. 8chan was one of those websites were several of the recent shooters gathered to post their intent, but without the time to prevent the violence. Same goes for the jihadist websites. They become a brainwashing machine by constant messages of violence and vengeance for real or imagined slights. One potential solution is to reach out if you see someone who seems alone or lost. Inclusion into social groups and having positive mentors goes a long way in preventing someone from feeling ostracized, and potentially violently acting out. This topic could fill volumes, but I’ll end it here. Regarding the number of weapons possessed by law-abiding citizens, until the Second Amendment is repealed, there is no way to control it. Due to the process required to overturn a Constitutional Amendment, the Second Amendment isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Russian

Armed white nationalist are less likely to be killed in a confrontation with law enforcement.


Russian

..........than unarmed blacks in custody


rikkitikkitavvi

Show your unbiased work russ

FCPS-Principal

In the last 12 hours I've heard Republicans blame all the shootings on the media, gay marriage, the "loss" of God in schools, video games, drag queens, Obama, transsexuals, legalized pot, the lack of a wall, and more. That stupid party of hyenas can't even speak nonsense coherently. Soon they will blame the killings on Social Security, the loss of the Gold standard, Medicaid, integrated schools, safe and legal abortion, the minimum wage and allowing blacks to vote. Gee, FNP, did you know you caused the shootings? Now you do.

rikkitikkitavvi

The person pulling the trigger of the inanimate object that people like you want to demonize while at the same time blaming every law abiding citizen for every nut job that murders people? Yeah, we know.


MRS M

Law abiding owners who own guns for personal protection, hunting, or sport understand that military style automatic weapons have no place in a sane society and support restrictions. They're the smart one, they have loved ones at risk, too. (22 Texans have died, right?) The nut jobs don't. I'm also terribly sorry to think, or to even say, that any hope for action or legislation can only occur by electing Democrats, across all levels of government in 2020, and this will depend, in part,upon how many more of these tragedies accrue, and how close they occur to November 2020. The Republican Party is fully committed to do nothing for the American people on this issue, just as they have no interest in healthcare. NRA money is the fuel to the gunfire, and "nut jobs", as you so accurately state, are the slavish perps.

gabrielshorn2013

Mrs M said: "military style automatic weapons have no place in a sane society and support restrictions."

We can agree on that point ma'am, and such firearms are already not available to the public unless they obtain a Federal license to possess them, and the firearm was manufactured before 1968. It has been decades since this type of firearm has been used in a crime. The firearm used here is really functionally no different than any semi-automatic rifle that has been on the market for a century.

No political ideology has the monopoly on illegal use of firearms either. As has been pointed out on this forum, the shooter at the Republican Congressional baseball practice was a rabid Bernie Sanders supporte. The Dayton shooter, Colin Betts, was also a far left Democrat according to a story in today's Washington Post.

"Betts also liked to talk about politics, the friend said. He registered as a Democrat in 2012, and in high school he would frequently trash Republicans, she said.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/police-chief-it-seems-to-defy-believability-that-dayton-shooter-would-kill-his-own-sister/2019/08/05/920a895c-b79e-11e9-b3b4-2bb69e8c4e39_story.html


Samanthapowers

addressing me, CS/CD/KFC?

rikkitikkitavvi

So fake principal you don't believe that most the factors that you mention (plus many more) above contribute to the societal decay we see today and the reprehensible acts committed by a product of said societal decay. Wow! Just wow!

Russian

Many republicans want to give the racist killer the death penalty like they do the exonerated Central Park suspects.


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