Tuesday, 06 Dec 2022

Its the guns: violent week in a deadly year prompts familiar US responses

Its the guns: violent week in a deadly year prompts familiar US responses


Its the guns: violent week in a deadly year prompts familiar US responses

It was the final hour of extended store opening on Tuesday at the Walmart Supercenter in the commercial heart of Chesapeake, Virginia's second-largest city. Shoppers scrambled to make last-minute purchases for Thanksgiving. Then shots rang out.

Shortly after 10pm an employee, said to be a manager, entered a break room at the back of the store where staff were gathering at the start of the overnight shift, and according to an eyewitness "just started spraying". The gunman used a pistol to shoot his victims and then turned the weapon on himself, all within minutes.

Donya Prioleau, a worker at the store, captured on Facebook the horror of the moment. She expressed not only her own trauma at seeing three friends killed by a silent gunman right in front of her, but also a wider despair at yet another mass shooting two days before a holiday meant for reflection and celebration.

It is not just the families and friends of the dead and injured who will not be celebrating on Thursday. Three days before the Walmart shooting, a man armed with a long rifle entered an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs and opened fire.

As a result, the families of five people who were killed and 25 injured have also been left with nothing for which to give thanks. And it doesn't end there.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been seven mass shootings in the US in as many days. In addition to the bloodletting in Chesapeake and Colorado Springs, four people were killed at a marijuana farm in Oklahoma on Sunday; a mother and her three children were shot dead in Richmond, Virginia, on Friday; and mass shootings - defined as four people or more killed or injured with a firearm - occurred in Illinois, Mississippi and Texas.

All in all, Thanksgiving week has seen 22 people killed and 44 injured, all through the barrel of a gun.

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