Shock. Confusion. Anger.
Those are the three main feelings I felt last Tuesday, March 23rd. Not particularly in that order, but definitely all three throughout that day.
I was looking at Instagram on my phone, scrolling past post after post when I started to see a trend of the same photo reappearing on everyone’s story. “Boulder Strong,” it said. The posts were coming from all my Coloradian friends and so I figured it was something small going on in Boulder.
Post after post after post was the same thing and then certain words started to pop up in my head. Shooting. Dead. Massacre. 6 confirmed dead. 8 confirmed dead. 9…10 confirmed dead.
The day before, Monday, March 22nd at about 2:40pm, 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa went into a grocery store and shot 10 people, one being a police officer in the head and the rest aged between 20-65.
Alissa has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and one charge of attempted murder.
From what I’ve read there wasn’t really a motive. He just decided to randomly shoot 10 innocent people who were out buying dinner for that night or maybe buying breakfast for the next morning.
The words “mass shooting” were being circulated around the internet and that was all that my eyes could see. Those two words burned into my brain so that I could never forget it.
I was confused, how could something this horrible happen? Why? What is wrong with this man? Does he have mental health issues? Or is he just a horrible person?
That Tuesday I found myself irritable, to say the least. I tried to do activities that would allow my brain to not focus on all the alerts popping up on my phone but even then it did not help. I was so angry that something this horrific had happened and that it was completely out of my control.
I was born in Colorado and grew up there until I came to college here. I have a bunch of friends who I grew up with and graduated high school with who live in Boulder. So as a strong Coloradian speaking for myself and maybe others, the main feeling that I felt was hopelessness.
Hopelessness that I sat comfortably in my chair 2,000 miles away while others were shot.
Hopelessness that I did not vote in the Colorado election on gun policies.
Hopelessness that even though this horrible crime has happened, within the next few days, it was over. People had said their prayers and had posted on social media but that the shock was gone and so was the willingness for people to spark change from it.
Hopelessness that this is the new normal. That when I see 10 people shot dead from a mass shooting pop up on my feed, I put it on my story, feel bad for those few seconds and then continue on with my day.
Hopelessness that nothing will ever be done about it. That the two sides who constantly debate over what their correct solution is that they are missing what’s happening right under their noses.
It has been almost two weeks since this shooting. In the last week I have not heard nor have I seen any change from this event. Maybe I don’t look hard enough to find it but even when saying that, should it be that hard to find?
Denny Strong, 20. Neven Stanisic, 23. Rikki Olds, 25. Tralona Bartkowiak, 49. Eric Talley, 51.Teri Leiker, 51. Suzanne Fountain, 59. Kevin Mahoney, 61. Lynn Murray, 62. Jody Waters, 65.
Those are the names and ages of the victims. Each of them had their own lives ahead of them or were already living them. Their families and friends knew them all as wonderful people.
I hope these names will not be forgotten. I hope these names will be more memorable than the name of the one who took their lives away. If we can do that, then we might just be able to start moving forward in the right direction