The tragedy in Boulder shows America is back to its old ways

BOULDER, CO - MARCH 22: Smashed windows are left at the scene after a gunman opened fire at a King S...
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At least 10 people are dead in Boulder, Colorado, the victims of a mass shooting that occurred Monday afternoon. The suspected shooter, identified by law enforcement as 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, entered a King Soopers grocery store and opened fire. Alissa is in custody and has been charged with 10 counts of murder in the first degree. The motive for the Boulder shooting is still unknown, The Denver Post reported.

The shooting reportedly started around 2:30 p.m. local time. According to police reports provided to The Denver Post and CNN, the gunman was said to be carrying a rifle. People in the store recalled to NBC News that they heard gunshots ring out in the parking lot prior to the shooter making his way into the building. He then reportedly entered the grocery store and began shooting randomly at customers and store employees. Those who survived the harrowing event reported fleeing from the store, while those who were trapped inside were forced to take cover in corners and behind store displays.

Police were dispatched and arrived on the scene shortly after 2:40 p.m., authorities said during a press conference. Officers then entered the store and engaged with the suspect, resulting in a firefight. Surveillance footage from outside the store showed SWAT vehicles and officers in tactical gear surrounding the building. The suspect sustained injuries during the standoff, authorities said; photos from the scene showed a man who appears to be Alissa being led away by authorities with blood visible on his leg. The suspected shooter was taken to the hospital to receive treatment for his injury and is reported to be in stable condition.

While the suspected killer is in police custody, there is still little known about his reason for allegedly carrying out the mass killing. "Our objective in this investigation is to conduct a thorough investigation which includes identifying the subject's motives," FBI special agent Michael Schneider said during a press conference Tuesday morning. "Our effort is ongoing."

One police officer, 51-year-old Eric Talley, was killed after responding to the scene. The other victims were identified to the public by law enforcement Tuesday morning. They are Denny Strong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jody Waters, 65.

The shooting Monday marks the second mass shooting in the United States less than a week. Last Tuesday, a gunman shot and killed eight people — six of whom were Asian women — at three different massage parlors in the Atlanta area. The alleged shooter claimed that the killings were borne out of a struggle with sexual addiction, though they clearly targeted Asian women and occurred at a time when anti-Asian hate crime is on the rise.

It is hard to ignore the fact that these mass killings have occurred as the U.S. has seemingly reached a turning point in the coronavirus pandemic, with more communities opening up as vaccines become available and cases are on the decline. While the world was locked down, there seemed to be some benefits: clearer skies, cleaner water, fewer mass killings. But as the communities of Boulder and Atlanta grapple with the pain and loss caused by these shootings, it seems that America has returned to its old ways.