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As a result of mass violence, Colorado faces a painful history

DENVER (AP) – Down Reinfeldt moved to Colorado 30 years ago to study at Boulder Boulder College. Fascinated by the vast open spaces of the state, he stayed.

But in the decades that followed, dark events overshadowed his view of the house he had adopted. 1999 at Columbine High School 2012 at Aurora Cinema On Wednesday, Reinfeldt felt the latest mass shootings coming even closer to home after authorities said a 21-year-old man had shot dead a shopkeeper at a local grocery store.

“Because of all this, at some point I could see myself leaving,” said Reinfeldt, a weapons control activist. “It is an exhaustive way of life.”

Colorado has long been characterized by steep mountains, an outdoor lifestyle that tempts transplants from the country. But it is followed by shootings that have helped define the nation’s decades-long struggle against mass violence. The day after the last massacre, many in the state struggled with the story, wondering why their place of residence seemed to be a magnet for such attacks. Why here – again?

“People are now saying, ‘Hey, what is Colorado?'” Said Tom Mauser, whose son Daniel was killed at Columbine High School in 1999.

Against the background of the new attack, Mauser, who was now a weapons management lawyer, was making phone calls. Among them was the panicked call of a friend, whose daughter was going to the supermarket to shop, just to avoid being shot. Again the violence felt so close.

“It simply came to our notice then. “It has become widespread,” he said.

Colorado is not the state with the most mass shootings. It ranks eighth, at the same level as many larger states such as California and Florida.

But it is indelibly connected with the widest shots. The Columbine High School massacre is now seen as the bloody beginning of a modern era of mass violence. Aurora shooting from school brought that horror to the cinema.

And there are others who have less national prestige. In 2006, a gunman killed a 16-year-old girl after storming Bailey High School in the mountains. The following year, a gunman killed four people in two separate attacks on evangelical Christian churches in suburban Denver, Colorado Springs. Three people were killed in an attack on a planned parenting clinic in Colorado Springs in 2015. In 2017, three people were killed at Walmart by a gunman whose motives were never known. In 2019, 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo was killed while defending the armed attack of two classmates at a suburban high school in Denver.

Searching for answers does not leave easy explanations. Despite its western image, Colorado has a fairly common percentage of gun ownership for the country, with its populated landscape having more shopping malls than shooting ranges. According to the Center for Weapons Control and Prevention, the rate of all types of weapons violence is close to half that.

Peterson, who described mass shootings as “viral” when one gunman was inspired to cover other attacks, said Columbine’s attack could be one of the reasons Colorado suffered so much. Two student gunmen killed a 13-year-old “created a scenario” that many other mass shooters try to emulate. The attackers were killed during the massacre, but appeared on the cover of Time Magazine և mentioned in movies և in books.

“Columbine was a turning point in this country, so it makes sense to see more of it in the backyard of Columbine,” Peterson said.

The attack took place almost a generation ago. Police on Tuesday named Ahmad al-Alivi Alisa, a gunman in the Boulder massacre, three days before Columbine was shot dead.

Like many young Coloradoans, 19-year-old Esteban Luevano learned about Columbine only at school as a tragedy before he was born. But his long shadow terrified him in his childhood, who wondered if armed men could also attack his school.

Then, when Luևano was 11 years old, another gunman opened fire on a movie theater in Aurora, near his home, east of Denver, across from the subway area of ​​Columbine. 12 people were killed and 70 were injured.

After that, the theater was demolished and rebuilt. It sat empty on Tuesday, closed during the epidemic, when the snow began to fall, և Luևano gathered on the street, passing through the mall. He was still worried that the last community in Colorado to join the Terrible Brotherhood was Boulder College.

“It’s quite luxurious, so I was kind of surprised that someone shot there,” said Lugano.

Colorado has taken some steps to limit access to weapons.

After the Colorado massacre, the local gun control movement gained sympathetic recruits. Columbine Survivors և The families of those killed there helped tighten the ballot, which required a background check on weapons purchased at gun shows. Following the Aurora attack, the state’s new Democratic Legislature passed mandatory inspections of all purchases 15 15 rounds of dates.

Those measures led to the recall of two state senators, but the laws were passed. After the Parkland shooting in Florida in 2018, the Colorado legislature passed laws that allow guns to be confiscated from people who are under threat. There was a revolt by some village sheriffs, but now no recollection.

Three years ago, the town of Boulder went further and banned assault weapons. The court blocked the measure just 10 days before Monday’s outrage.

Gun control activists say it is part of state policy to look at the impact of the mass shootings. In 2018, the Republican Congressman representing Aurora was replaced by Ason Eason Crowe, a pro-gun advocate and Democrat. Democrat Gov. John von Hickenlooper, who signed the post-Aurora arms control measure in November, won the US Senate from Colorado, the last largest state elected.

The appetite for gun rights advocates has not yet been completely dispelled. The Coloradans last year also nominated Republican Rep. Laurent Robert, who said he wanted to have a gun on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Democrat Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex was killed during the Aurora shooting, was elected to the state in the former Republican state in 2018. ,

When he did, he turned on the TV to watch, which he described as a “pause” to take all the pain and life stories of the victims.

“It’s not that we’re brave about it, it’s that we have a lot of practice,” Sullivan said in an interview.

Sullivan claimed that Colorado did not have unusually high mass shootings. It’s just that the background of a relatively rich country makes the attacks more sensational. “What’s happening here in Colorado is happening in a little bit richer,” Sullivan said. “It happens in other places as well. We just can’t force people to report it.”

Not everyone is concerned about the history of state massacres. Brian Robbon, whose son Daniel was killed in Columbine, said he was disappointed every time political activists raised the issue after the massacre. Instead, the solution is moral education, he argues.

“We are reaping what we have sown because we are afraid, as a state, as a country, to call evil evil,” Robbon said.

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