The mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado was the second of its kind in less than a week. Monday, a gunman entered a King Soopers supermarket mid-afternoon and opened fire, killing 10 people, including a police officer.
The shooting is a stark reminder of the tragedies that occurred at an alarming rate before the pandemic. According to a database compiled by the Associated Press (AP), USA Today, and Northeastern University, there were 41 mass shooting incidents in 2019, which resulted in 211 deaths, the most ever in one year.
“We have a sense of normalcy and then we’re reminded normalcy includes tragedies,” said Elizabeth Sather, a clinical psychologist who deals with law enforcement after tragedies.
Sather says the events in Boulder, as well as Atlanta, where eight people were killed in a series of violent attacks on March 16th, can feel different since they were the first of their kind since the pandemic began.
“They will compound and so the symptoms like depression, sadness, sleeplessness, trouble with your appetite, tendency to isolate; all those are multiplied and so the symptoms will be generally more intense, and they will occur much more frequently,” she explained.
Randy Spaulding, a pastor at a church across the street from the King Soopers in Boulder, felt that intense grief Tuesday as he worked to process the events that occurred.
“It’s always difficult,” he said. “I ask those questions like all of us do. I ask it in my particular faith perspective but it’s the same thing. Everybody’s asking, 'Again? How long [until this ends]?'”
Sather says it is important to ask for help, check in on friends and family, and share how you are feeling so the troublesome emotions do not fester and become worse.
“Even though we know these tragedies happen it was put on the back burner quite a bit [during the pandemic] while we were not as engaged in the community,” she said. “Now that we’re engaged again, we’re reminded, yes, these things happen.”