The more I read about the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, the more enraged I become at those who are turning the massacres into a political event to advance their own agenda.
Is it really that hard to show the victims some respect and let their families mourn?
Apparently, for many, it is.
Obviously, I have my own thoughts, but I’ll save them for another column.
In this article, I want to pay respects to those who were murdered, and to honor those heroes and first responders who put their lives on the line so that others could live.
The following is a compilation of media reports about them.
El Paso Victims and Heroes
The horror that took place in an El Paso Walmart is beyond words. Here are a few stories from CNN detailing the horror.
The first story describes a mother and father who were both killed shielding their two-month-old baby from gunfire. They were at Walmart buying school supplies for their five-year-old daughter.
“Jordan and Andre Anchondo had gone to the store after dropping off their five-year-old daughter at cheer practice, Jordan’s aunt Elizabeth Terry told CNN.
The couple bought their 2-month old son as they shopped for school supplies for their daughter.
Only the little boy would survive.
As the gunfire erupted, Jordan, 24, shielded her baby, Terry said. Andre, 23, jumped in front of his wife, said another relative, Jesse Jamrowski.
‘The baby still had her blood on him. You watch these things and see these things and you never think this is going to happen to your family,’ Terry said.
The baby was ‘pulled from under her body,’ said Terry…Jordan Anchondo died alone at the hospital because no friends or loved ones were able to immediately find her, her aunt said.
‘She had the most contagious smile and laugh,’ Terry told CNN. ‘We lost the light of our family and the light of our heart.”
A grandfather was also killed protecting his wife and granddaughter at the Walmart. The grandparents took their nine-year-old granddaughter gift shopping when they were caught in the crossfire.
CNN reported, “Dave Johnson, 63, died shielding his wife Kathy and their nine-year-old granddaughter, Kaitlyn, from the hail of bullets, Johnson’s daughter Stephanie Melendez told CNN.”
“Kathy Jonson told her daughters that the gunman got as close as two feet from them. Johnson was shot after he pushed down his wife and granddaughter and covered them, Melendez said.”
“‘I was so close to losing her but because of him she is still here,’ Melendez said. ‘I wish he was here so I can tell him how thankful I am.”
A 15-year-old high school soccer player was the youngest victim. CNN wrote, “He was a passionate soccer player, his coach said at the vigil. He had a strong bond with his teammates and would often practice with them during lunchtime. ‘I was asked today what message would he say to us. What message would he want us to send? I would say, ‘Do your best, stay focused, hone your craft in soccer. See, soccer was life for Javier,’ his coach said.”
Additionally, there are the heroic actions of Glendon Oakley, an off-duty Army serviceman who was shopping in a nearby store at the time of the shooting. After hearing the gunshots, he ran into the Walmart and gathered as many children as he could, escorting them to safety. In a statement to ABC News, Oakley said “I’m just focused on the kids I could not save and the families. It hurts me. I feel like they were a part of me.” He also declined to call himself a hero, instead asking that the focus be on the victims and other survivors.
Those are just a few of many stories that could be told about the Walmart massacre. In all, 22 people are dead.
Dayton, Ohio Victims And Heroes
Here are a few brief stories about some of the victims killed in the Dayton, Ohio bar shooting that killed 9 and injured 27 others. CBS News reported the following:
“Megan Butts,( Sister of the Shooter) worked as an intern through a program run by the Student Conservation Association. She was described as a very positive person who was competent and well-liked by her peers.”
Thomas McNichols, 25, was described as “a gentle giant” and was “tall, well-loved and like a big kid.” He leaves behind four children.
Nicolas Cumer was a graduate student in the master of cancer care program at Saint Francis University. The president of the college said that Cumer “was dedicated to caring for others.” He said that Cumer was among the students recognized for completing more than 100 hours of service. He also said that he was a graduate assistant in the university marching band.”
Other victims who were identified included: Lous Oglesby, 27; Saeed Saleh, 38; Logan Turner, 30; Monica Brickhouse,39; Derrick Fudge,57; Beatrice Warren Curtis,36.
The carnage would have been far worse if it wasn’t for the bravery of the Dayton police. They responded within seconds of the opening shots.
NPR reported, “On-duty officers first heard shots at 1:05 a.m. as they patrolled what is normally a safe and lively part of the city just before local bars shut down. Within approximately 20 seconds, six officers were running toward hail of bullets pouring from the shooter’s .223-caliber high capacity rifle with 100-round drum magazines. They engaged the suspect who was actively firing and attempting to enter a crowded liquor establishment. The threat was neutralized at approximately 30 seconds of the suspect firing his first shots.”
The officers are heroes for their actions, as are many others who risked and gave their lives so that others could be spared. The heroes and victims are the people we should be focusing on as a country. They had family and friends who are left behind. They deserve respect and the ability to mourn their loss without the interference of political bickering.
That shouldn’t be too much to ask.