ADEL, Iowa — Mass shootings have sent a lightning rod through the heart of America.
“This is getting worse,” said Julie Higgs, who serves as a pastor at Adel’s Grace Lutheran Church.
Bryce Smith is a business owner in Adel and agreed with Higgs. Smith said, “Rolling over Sunday morning and the first morning notification was yet another mass shooting 12 hours after hearing about and diagnosing another mass shooting.”
The 22 dead in El Paso, Texas, and nine gunned down in Dayton, Ohio, may not be local to Iowa, but that did not matter Monday night in Adel. Smith said, “If we can start coming together before a tragedy happens and hope it never happens, we can prevent the next one from happening in our own community.”
Pastors, business owners and gun safety advocates such as Moms Demand Action gathered at the Dallas County Courthouse steps to mourn together. “Regardless of what their views are on solutions, everybody is heartbroken every time one of these shootings happen and we are terrified, as well as needing to figure something out,” Higgs said.
Candles burned bright and organizers hope the victims’ memories won’t ever be snuffed out. “We can do something in Adel that is positive, uplifting. Remember the victims but also get the community to think about what`s next,” Smith said.
Flags remain at half staff at the Dallas County Courthouse and across the country memorializing the weekend violence that was just two of over 250 mass shootings this year. Organizers of Monday night`s vigil say it is not about pointing blame at lawmakers but showing strength and unity. Higgs said, “Ask God to let the light we spread with the candles be a light of love and unity that we spread both tonight and in our lives outside of that.”
Resources and brochures were also available for anyone in attendance who needed it or knew someone who needed help dealing with tragedies.