This “My View” piece was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican on Friday, May 19, 2023. I wrote it in response to the tragedy in Farmington, New Mexico, that happened on Monday of that week. My husband and I lived in that town for thirty years, and only recently moved to Santa Fe.
Mass shooting in Farmington. My friends there are calling this unthinkable—“We’re a small, quiet town. It’s not supposed to happen here.” And then on Monday morning, it happened. What we know is that an eighteen year old with three guns walked through a neighborhood and fired at houses, cars, and people. Three women were killed because they were driving in the wrong place at the wrong time. Two police officers were wounded. More people were injured.
I lived in Farmington for thirty years. This week it was heartbreaking to watch from two hundred miles away as the details of the tragedy unfolded. I texted friends there to make sure they could answer, and spent time scrolling on social media looking for more “marked safe” notices from my wider circle. I was relieved to find they were all safe, and then felt guilty about the families and friends of the victims who did not escape the gunfire.
Farmington is a community where the majority of people seem to believe in God, guns, individual liberty, hard work, the energy extraction industry, heterosexuality, fast food, and patriotism. Elsewhere, I am fairly moderate. There I was an outsider, a flaming liberal who did Peace Corps service, kept my last name when I got married, and spent too many years in graduate school. I hated the politics there even as I never hated my friends and neighbors who disagreed with me. It was complicated place for me.
Farmington is also a community where people know their neighbors. Everyone in town might not have known the victims personally, but everyone in town knows someone who knew them. The connections are tight and will help the community through this crisis. There are many good things about this community and we are seeing it now as people pull together to support each other.
But I hope for more for Farmington and for all of us. I hope for an awakening that enough is enough. I hope this for all the communities who have suffered this senseless violence, indeed for our country. No one outside the military should have an assault rifle. People with mental health issues and records of violence should not be allowed to own guns. We keep writing to the newspaper. We march. We sign petitions. We call and write to our representatives in Washington, DC. Nothing seems to make a difference.
Mass shootings can happen anywhere. None of us can truly mark ourselves safe until something changes. What will it take? I hope and pray we can figure it out and stop the anger and craziness before it kills more of us.
8 thoughts on “Enough is Enough”
Very well-stated, my friend! I agree 💯%. There’s absolutely no reason not to put limits on these human-killing machines, no reason to allow everyone and anyone to be able to purchase them. And I agree about Farmington. It will always be my home town, but we had to get out of there, just too ultra-conservative, judgemental and “Trumpy.” Not everyone, but enough to make us …want to leave.
I know. I have plenty of good feelings about Farmington and many of the people there, too, including your wonderful parents. As I wrote, it’s a complicated place to live for those of us who don’t have very strong conservative politics.
Great article, Vicki. There was a shooting in early April, two Native men shot down at work at Hwy 64 Salvage Yard. And later that night, police responded to a domestic violence call, went to wrong address, and were shot by the man who came to the door. The police shot that man, who just happened to be an employee of Hwy 64 Salvage Yard. One tends to wonder why that story hasn’t received national news…
Miss ya, Ann
Sent from my iPhone
Poor Farmington. I think the police going to the wrong house did make national news, but you’re right. The story of the Native men getting killed didn’t get much attention. I didn’t realize it was the same day, nor did I realize the salvage yard connection. Very sad, and only points to another of the big problems in town. Sorry to hear that. And I do miss you and other Farmington friends! I know there are plenty of good people in town, too.
Great article. Heartfelt and honest. I’m sad to say I wasn’t so shocked it happened in Farmington. As long as there is inaction regarding gun control, well, of course it keeps happening and no town is immune. That I wasn’t so shocked is not okay. We all should be outraged and stay that way until gun control becomes a top priority and sensible laws are passed. But as you mentioned, nothing seems to make a difference.
You’re right. Not being shocked is not ok, and I wasn’t so surprised by it, either. Unfortunately, it was one of the first things I thought. Lots of outrage everywhere, but nothing. So frustrating.
I am with you 100%! Sadly, I have reached a point where I now expect a gun tragedy to hit home, and I feel very helpless. Like you did, I now live in a gun-loving place. He irony is what they consider a liberty has become a prison of grief for too many.
“Prison of grief” captures this so well. There is a lot of collective trauma for sure. I was having the conversation with another friend the other day. I do think we share grief as well, and I am reminded of it today on the anniversary of the Uvalde school massacre. This has to STOP.