Things That Matter

5-Year-Old Girl Who Lost Her Parents In El Paso Mass Shooting Asks: ‘Is he going to come and shoot me?’

A 5-year-old girl’s mother was shot and killed this past weekend during the El Paso, Texas mass shooting and now she’s left wondering whether she’ll be next. Skylin Jamrowski lost both her stepfather and her mother during the El Paso massacre that left at least 22 people dead. After she was given the devastating news she asked, “Is he going to come and shoot me?”

That’s a question you never want to hear anyone ask. Let alone a young child. 

According to CNN, who spoke to the family of her deceased parents, the 5-year-old asked her grandmother if her father had died following the news of the shooting. 

For hours, the family didn’t know whether Skylin’s parents had survived the shooting. 

Skylin has a younger sister, Victoria, and a baby brother, Paul Gilbert, 2 months old. She’s the eldest of the three. According to reports, the baby miraculously survived when his mother, Jordan Anchondo, protected and shielded him with her body when the gunman shot her. Their father, Andre Anchondo, died the same way when he tried to protect both Jordan and the two-month-old baby. 

Relatives of the family told CNN that “the shooter had aimed at Jordan [and] Andre jumped in front of Jordan. And the shooter shot Andre, and the bullets went through Andre and hit Jordan.” 

Now, three young children and the rest of the Anchondo family are left to mourn the death of Jordan and Andre at the hands of a gunman who was motivated by racism in the slaying of at least 22 people. 

Skylin who is seemingly old enough to comprehend what happened to a certain extent is also left to deal with the trauma of losing both of her parents at such a young age and also left with knowing the brutal way in which they were killed.

Andre and Jordan Anchondo’s parents also told CNN that Skylin was not with them at the Walmart when the shooting occurred because she was at cheerleading class. Her parents had gone to Walmart, like many of the victims, to shop for school supplies for Skylin’s first day of kindergarten. But despite her not witnessing her parents lose their lives, the effects of trauma will still linger. 

ABC News, who looked into how communities recover from mass shooting trauma, spoke to Robin Gurwitch on the after-effects of a harrowing incident like this. The professor of psychiatry at Duke University, who studies how children process trauma and disasters, said that mass shootings can impact individuals and communities differently and always require specific responses to get past the trauma. 

The psychiatrist told ABC News, “When you mix death and trauma together, it becomes particularly hard. The mourning, the bereavement, as well as the trauma can make it particularly difficult for survivors.”

Despite Skylin and her younger siblings having a strong support system to raise them and be there for them after the death of their parents, her grandparents believe that “the sad thing is, is that even with all of us… it’s Mom and Dad. We can’t replace Mom and Dad. It’s just something you can’t replace.” 

According to Gurwitch, though, it’s still extremely important and positive to have this strong support system around them. Children who survived or witnessed mass shootings need to be able to see these examples of resiliency and positivity in order to not lose sight of these qualities for themselves. 

“We need to make sure that adults provide good role models. So even if we are anxious and worried and upset, that we can present to our children that we can cope with this, that we will get through this,” Gurwitch tells ABC News

The American Psychological Association also states that long-term outcomes for survivors, witnesses, and those who have been affected by mass shootings are improved with the help of community connections. 

The topic of how children and students cope with the trauma of mass shootings after bearing witness to them or after surviving them has become a prominent topic of discussions after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting–which left 17 dead.

Since mass shootings began to happen in school’s, affecting teens and the like, active shooter drills have become a lot more commonplace. But experts say that high-tech surveillance, tactical gear, and live drills are actually doing more harm than good. According to an article on Medium, active shooter drills can also be traumatizing for students.  After the El Paso shooting, some schools across the country have also responded by holding active shooter drills (one occurred in a high school in Costa Mesa, California on Monday, August 5). 

Now, after the El Paso shooting, Walmart will continue its computer-based active shooter training that launched in 2015 for its employees. According to USA Today, in 2017 Walmart made its workers take the training on a quarterly basis instead of annually and last month they began incorporating virtual reality technology in its active shooter training. But despite, their deadliest mass shooting in the El Paso location, the retailer will not stop its sales of rifles and other firearms. 

Here’s What Happened When Alyssa Milano Live-Streamed Her Gun Reform Discussion With Ted Cruz

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Here’s What Happened When Alyssa Milano Live-Streamed Her Gun Reform Discussion With Ted Cruz

milano_alyssa / Instagram

Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano has long been using her platform to creatively advocate for political change in America. In the past, she’s even called on women to partake in a sex strike in response to the onslaught of abortion ban bills that swept the nation. More recently, she’s taken to calling out the elected officials whose careers are most benefitted by the National Rifle Association (NRA). The Congressperson who received the highest donation from the NRA and other gun-rights organizations is none other than Texas Republican Ted Cruz. 

The two have been spitting fire at each other via Twitter for the last few weeks. All of it culminated in an actual, real-live, live-streamed meeting between the two Tuesday morning. Why was it live-streamed? Because Milano wanted to make sure “the American people can hear your bullshit 1st hand.”

Alyssa Milano told Ted Cruz that part of the reason she wanted to meet was to make sure he was a human being. Literally.

Credit: @BIZPACReview / Twitter

“That is why this meeting was so important to me,” she told him during the live stream. “I wanted to look at you in the eye and know that you really are a human with a heartbeat.” Ted Cruz started the meeting by telling Milano that he was a fan of “Who’s the Boss?” and “Commando,” while Milano started by letting Cruz know his politics on gun control “has made you almost like this caricature of a villain.”

The two talked for more than an hour on gun control, with Milano beginning the conversation by imploring, “I’m asking you, begging you, to have the courage to lead.” In the room was also Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was murdered during the Parkland shooting. 

Cruz didn’t make any revolutionary statements throughout the meeting, arguing that merely having a civil discussion is a triumph.

Credit: @SenTedCruz / Twitter

“This is a divided time. This is an angry time. … I think it is beneficial for is to have a human conversation,” Cruz said. “I also hope that just seeing people on different places on the spectrum, treating people with civility and humanity, that is contagious.” Instead of agreeing to introduce or urge the Senate to discuss new gun control laws, Cruz instead wanted to “focus on policies that would really stop these crimes.” Cruz claims to be leading the charge on preventing mass shootings in America by proposing harsher prosecutions of gun cases and making background checks more “accurate.”

Cruz and Milano agreed to meet last week, after tweeting jabs at each other over their stances on gun control.

Credit: @Alyssa_Milano / Twitter

We hear that a lot, right? The “God-given right” to own guns in America. Cruz decided to respond to Milano, tweeting, “it is of course not the right to a modern-day firearm that is God-given but rather the right to Life & the right to Liberty. Essential to that right is the right to DEFEND your life & your family.”

Cruz gave a lengthy (for Twitter) response to Milano:

Credit: @tedcruz / Twitter

He went on to say, “The right to self-defense is recognized repeatedly in the Bible, eg Exodus 22:2: ‘If a thief is caught breaking in at night & is struck a fatal blow, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed.’ (Note, though, verse 3 says it IS murder if during daylight (ie, not self-defense). The Declaration of Independence acknowledges our rights thusly: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” And, for that reason, the Second Amendment provides “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, SHALL NOT be infringed.” It wasn’t to protect people’s ability to hunt, or to shoot target practice, but to defend their lives, their homes & their families. Stephen Willeford exercised that fundamental right when he risked his own life to stop the Sutherland Springs murderer, saving countless others as a result.” 

Just like that, the meeting was born in resentment and frustration but seemed to end in civil resentment and frustration.

Credit: @Alyssa_Milano / Twitter

After the meeting, Milano tweeted, “He was gracious. I’m unsure if it changes anything. But appreciative for the opportunity to bridge the divide with civil, meaningful discussion.” Cruz described the meeting as “productive and respectful.” Basically, nothing noteworthy really happened except for that Alyssa Milano gave Ted Cruz a hug. What is noteworthy is that civil discourse cannot sway the NRA-lined pockets of Ted Cruz.

READ: Ted Cruz’s Legal Team Believes That His Fight For $10,000 Is The Same As Rosa Parks’s Fight For Civil Rights

AOC Took A Republican Congressman To Task For Saying He Regularly Loans His Guns To Friends

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AOC Took A Republican Congressman To Task For Saying He Regularly Loans His Guns To Friends

ocasio2018 / dancrenshawtx / Instagram

Gun violence is one issue most Americans agree on. According to reports and polls, 86 percent of Americans, including 80 percent of Republicans and 70 percent of gun owners, support universal background checks on all gun purchases. However, Texas Republican Dan Crenshaw thinks universal background checks are too much because he lends his guns to friends and background check would stop that. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez turned his tweet about letting friends borrow guns into a teachable moment for the Congressman.

Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw used a story of a woman defending herself to admit he lets friends borrow his guns to stay safe.

Credit: @DanCrenshawTX / Twitter

According to the news story, a woman was being robbed by 5 men and used a gun to defend herself. In response, Rep. Crenshaw tried to use the moment to argue against universal background checks on gun purchases. Rep. Crenshaw states that he would not be able to loan out his guns to friends without accountability.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez retweeted him and questioned his friends’ inability to pass basic universal background checks.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez took Rep. Crenshaw’s words and posed the question, “Why are you ‘lending’ guns to people unsupervised who can’t pass a basic background check?”

Universal background checks for gun purchases have proven to lower the likelihood of violent and deadly criminal activity with firearms. With a background check, people who pose a danger to others or themselves either through mental disorders or prior felony convictions would be denied access to firearms.

There is currently a national law that all licensed gun sellers have to follow. Democratic lawmakers and citizens are pushing for a stronger law that would also require background checks at gun shows and through unlicensed dealers.

Rep. Crenshaw responded criticizing Rep. Ocasio-Cortez.

Credit: @DanCrenshawTX / Twitter

According to Rep. Crenshaw, Rep Ocasio-Cortez labeled his friends as domestic abusers. However, if you refer to the original tweet, Rep. Crenshaw stated that he would not be able to loan out his guns because of universal background checks.

In her usual fashion, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez did not back down and drop some education on the Texas representative.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

According to 24/7 Wall St., New York ranks 48th for gun deaths in the U.S. while Texas comes in at 28th place. California is in 43rd place and Alaska is the No. 1 state for gun-related deaths. Another study by the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, states with weaker gun laws, like Texas and Alaska, tend to have higher gun-related deaths.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez continued her educational series of tweets by highlighting the work by House Democrats to close the boyfriend loophole with the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

The boyfriend loophole refers to a loophole in the Lautenberg Amendment that leaves a chance for domestic abusers to purchase firearms. The amendment only stops abusers who are or were married to the victim, have a child with the victim, currently live with the victim, or are the parents of the victim from purchasing a firearm. This means that boyfriends who stalk their victims are not prevented from purchasing firearms endangering the lives of those men and women who have no legal protection.

Emily Miller, the author of “Emily Gets Her Gun: But Obama Wants to Take Yours” chimed in defending Rep. Crenshaw.

Credit: @EmilyMiller / Twitter

“Emily Gets Her Gun: But Obama Wants to Take Yours” paints the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado as emotional manipulations to erode the rights of legal gun owners. Miller argues that the anti-gun lobby used examples of mass shootings to distort reality and go after gun owners in the U.S.

But, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was not backing down from her argument for background checks and greater gun safety and reform.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, there are several factors as to why women do not report domestic violence. Among the long list of reasons, one listed by the police department is that the abuser is seen as an upstanding member of the community. As such, many believe that or witness the law enforcement officers ignoring their pleas for help because of the abusers status in the community.

The public persona as a shield is something Rep. Ocasio-Cortez used to bolster her argument.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

LAPD further explains how weapons mixed with abusers can be a fatal combination.

“Where a batterer possesses weapons and has used them or has threatened to use them in the past assaults on the battered victim, the children or self, the batterer’s access to those weapons increases the potential for lethal assault,” reads the LAPD website.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez ended her thread about loaning friends guns by drawing a comparison.

Credit: @AOC / Twitter

There is a reason people are licensed for various things. It is about accountability and the safety of society as a whole. By lending out guns to people, there is an increased risk of gun-related deaths and promoting the practice can have dangerous and deadly consequences.

During the debate, people responded to Rep. Crenshaw and one person shared a real-life example of the dangers of lending out guns.

Credit: @RiotwomennnTemp / Twitter

Lauren McCluskey was a track athlete at the University of Utah. Her ex-boyfriend, Melvin Rowland, borrowed the gun from his friend, Nathan Daniel Vogel. Vogel and Sarah Emily Lady had purchased the gun illegally because Lady lied on Vogel’s behalf to bypass the waiting period.

READ: Victims Of The El Paso Massacre Received Visits From Edward James Olmos And George López And Their Reactions Are Everything