My family was celebrating a birthday lunch for my son, Clayton, in Austin on August 3rd when Clayton glanced at the TV monitor as we were leaving the restaurant. “Look Dad, there has been a shooting in El Paso at Walmart.”
My first thought was that he must be mistaken – this simply can’t happen in our El Paso. Not our home, one of the safest cities in America. Not our El Paso, the city that has lovingly embraced us since we moved here 15 years ago. Not our El Paso, where we undoubtedly would have been back-to-school shopping just like the rest of our brothers and sisters who were so needlessly killed and injured. Just like our very own receptionist, Beverly, who was back to school shopping at Cielo Vista Mall with her young family when the terror attack at Walmart took place. We were able to verify that our employees and family members were safe, but many, many others were not so lucky when they checked on their loved ones.
As I stared at the monitor and watched the news, I knew that the illusion that El Paso was immune from such atrocities was forever shattered in an instant. On 9/11, I knew instantly upon watching the reports that a plane had struck the World Trade Center that our country had been attacked by terrorists. I had the same intuition as I watched the early news coverage about the El Paso attack. We were attacked by a terrorist. Not the radical Islamic kind, but the white supremacist kind, born and raised right here in the USA. Let’s not give this animal a pass by blaming mental illness. This monster premeditated his actions, drove 650 miles to our city to take out his rage and hatred on our Latino brothers and sisters. This man is pure evil.
So, I find myself angry and sad. Angry that our country is so divided. Angry of the divisive and racially charged politics of the moment. Angry that our politicians won’t take a stand and confront the gun violence that plagues our nation, our places of worship, our schools, our festivals, and our shopping centers. I’m sad for our children’s loss of innocence as we try to explain what happened. I’m heartbroken for the senseless killing, the indescribable loss for the families of the deceased, and the physical and psychological damage inflicted upon the shooting victims and this community.
In all of this sadness and anger, I am reminded of the familiar verse in the 23rd Psalm: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
El Paso is walking through the valley now, and there will always be evil in our fallible world. The psalmist, King David, recognizes the persistence of evil in the world, yet chooses to rely on God for his comfort. My prayer for those injured and the families of those who lost their loved ones is for God’s healing and comfort to be with them in this dark hour. And for God to comfort El Paso as it grapples with this tragedy.
I also know how strong our community is. The #ElPasoStrong hashtag has taken off and there has been an outpouring of support both here and abroad. Although El Paso has suffered through a monumental tragedy, we will abide.
Harmonson Law Firm is proud to stand up for our community and give a voice to those who were affected by the El Paso Walmart mass shooting. If you were injured or lost a loved one, then you may be able to file a lawsuit in pursuit of closure and a sense of justice against Walmart for its failure to prevent the attack. To find out more, or to just speak with someone who understands what you are going through, please call our firm at (915) 228-4140. Free, confidential consultations are available.