On August 3, 2019, El Paso's world was shattered when news of a mass shooting began hitting social media. The Cielo Vista Walmart is one of the most active shopping locations in town because it sits near Sam's Club and Cielo Vista Mall. That day, families were shopping for back-to-school items, a girl's soccer team was fundraising in front of the store, and shoppers were already filling the stores and mall. Then all hell broke loose.

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram began getting flooded with videos of people getting evacuated from JCPenny at the mall. There were panic-filled posts about someone's sister, daughter, parents being in the store and they couldn't reach them on their phones. News stations started breaking in with the very few details that were known and trying to dispel rumors about multiple gunmen at multiple locations. It was hell on earth and surreal to see our beautiful city's name with the words MASS SHOOTING HAPPENING RIGHT NOW screaming at us from a graphic on network tv.

After it was all over and we counted the dead, we mobilized to fundraise for the families, we went to church to pray for our city and those lost, we came to be El Paso Strong, we stood up and told the world this was not us, this was not our city and we would pick up the pieces and put our safe haven back together again.

Then COVID-19 hit. The Walmart massacre faded under the shocking glare of what was happening all over the world.

Today, July 16, 2020, the City of El Paso announced the COVID-19 numbers like they do every day.

14 deaths and 340 new COVID-19 positive cases.

14 people dead from COVID-19. At this moment, the El Paso death toll from this pandemic is 173, but it will go up. One hundred and seventy-three grief-stricken families. One hundred and seventy-three homes that will be a little quieter now. One hundred and seventy-three lives that were snuffed out by a disease just like the 23 lives that were snuffed out by the scum who killed them in that Walmart.

How many more people are you willing to lose because you don't want to wear your mask, socially distance, or stay at home?

When we lost those 23 souls almost a year ago we watched a memorial get erected in their honor, a national store closed their doors for months and redesigned their facility, elected officials came to town and we held a vigil at the ballpark.

But you can't wear a mask while you shop because the Constitution.

Our city will never forget that horrible Saturday morning but I guess the 173 people who have died from COVID-19 were expendable and forgettable.

Who cares about their families? Will they get a memorial built for them? Where is the fundraising, the outpouring of grief?

They get none of that. They just get a lot of bitching about wearing a mask.

El Paso Strong indeed.

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