EL PASO, Texas (AP) — 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, the depiction of violence in the media, and discourse on the internet.
Racist screed authorities were working to confirm was left by the alleged perpetrator in 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.”