Mar 26, 2021 - News

Why the Boulder shooting is so difficult for Colorado

Data: Denver Post and Washington Post. Chart: John Frank/Axios
Data: Denver Post and Washington Post. Chart: John Frank/Axios

If not in our classrooms, or our movie theaters, or our churches — and now our grocery stores — where can Coloradans feel safe?

The state of play: People around Colorado are grappling with that question and fighting the fear of moving about their daily lives, as the country mourns 10 lives lost in Boulder — the nation’s second mass shooting in one week.

  • This one ... just felt different. Maybe it's the fact we're emotionally weary from the pandemic. Maybe it's because grocery shopping remained one of the few essential routines in the past year. Maybe it's because this is a different venue for violence, and we weren't prepared.

By the numbers: Denver has endured one of the highest mass shooting rates per capita among metro areas nationwide since 1999, the Denver Post reported.

  • An Axios analysis counted 54 deaths and 124 injuries from eight mass shootings in Colorado since 1993.

The big picture: Trauma compounds trauma, experts warn. And Coloradans have already been dealt plenty of it.

  • "I could see at some point leaving because of all this," gun control activist and Boulder local Dawn Reinfeld told the AP. "It’s an exhausting way to live."

What they’re saying: "What we know about trauma is that it does tend to trigger experiences that we’ve had either directly or indirectly that were similar or scary," Rick Ginsberg, a psychologist and former president of the Colorado Psychological Association, told CPR.

  • "Our central nervous system doesn’t really differentiate between necessarily what is happening now and some of the things that have happened in the past," Ginsberg added,

Between the lines: A world without mass shootings is a world younger generations have never known. Young people are taught active shooter drills before they learn to write in cursive.

The bottom line: "It’s the reality of our generation," a King Soopers employee, who was in the building during Monday’s shooting, told the Denver Gazette.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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