Church in Dallas mourns victims of mass shooting at outlet mall in Allen
By Lisa Zengarini
Bishop Edward J. Burns of Dallas has joined in expressing closeness to the families of the victims of the mass shooting in Allen, Texas, on Saturday , May 6, the latest in a long row in the United States.
Eight people, including a child, were killed and another seven were wounded by a gunman shortly after 3:30 p.m. at the Allen Premium Outlets, a Dallas-area outlet mall, before he was killed in turn by a police officer who happened to be on the scene.
According to local authorities, victims range in age from 5 to 61 years old.
Solidarity with families of victims
Addressing the faithful “with a heavy heart” , Bishop Burns said the “Catholic community is in unity and solidarity with the families who have lost loved ones in this tragedy”.
“Like all of you, I am deeply troubled by the shooting in the community of Allen and the senseless disregard for life that has occurred in our community”, he said in a statement in the wake of the massacre, asking God “to bring comfort and strength to all affected by this tragic event” and “to comfort the local community, the victims and their families”.
We must pray for peace within our communities. And, we must have the courage to stand up to the forces of evil and the culture of death.
The shooting in Allen came just hours after an SUV driver seemingly intentionally slammed into a group of Venezuelan migrants waiting at a bus stop outside a migrant shelter in the border city of Brownsville, Texas, killing 8 people, and injuring 10 others.
The latest in a series of mass gun violence in the US
It is the latest in an apparently endless series of mass gun violence across the United States, targeting schools, supermarkets, workplaces and other public venues and reigniting each time the national debate on gun reform which so far hasn’t produced any result.
US Bishops have also joined the debate repeatedly calling for reasonable gun control measures, echoing Pope Francis’ pleas that “It is time to say ‘no more’ to the indiscriminate trafficking of weapons.”
In June 2022 the chairs of four committees of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a statement urging all members of Congress to action that “addresses all aspects of the crisis, including mental health, the state of families, the valuation of life, the influence of entertainment and gaming industries, bullying, and the availability of firearms.”
At least 191 mass shootings since 1 January
Since the beginning of the year the United States have recorded at least 191 mass shootings (though the definition of mass shooting is still being debated).
The most deadly incident to date remains the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, when a 64-year-old gunman opened fire on a crowd attending a music festival killing 60 people.
Gun-related deaths caused by mass shootings add to those caused by murders, suicides, domestic violence, as well as accidents.
Guns leading cause of death for US children and teens
On average, the US has seen more than 39,000 gun deaths a year since 2014, and as of 8 May 2023 over 14,000 people have died in gun-related incidents this yearr, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive.
Recent data also show that guns are the leading cause of death for US children and teens and in 2022 more minors were shot in the US than in any other year on record.
Pope Francis has frequently denounced gun trafficking, including in his 2015 address to a joint session of Congress. “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society?” he asked U.S. lawmakers. “Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood.”