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Santa Fe Remembers Mass Shootings Victims, Demands Action

Kevin Meerschaert
Santa Fe area officials meet with constituents at Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Saturday to talk about how to prevent school shootings and to demand action against powerful weapons.

A group of Santa Fe area officials gathered with local parents over the weekend to talk about what they can do to prevent  mass shootings.

Ten were killed in a racially motivated shooting in Buffalo, New York two weeks ago, and 21 people, including 19 children were murdered last week at the elementary school in Texas.

State Representative Linda Serrento was joined by Sante Fe City Councilors Jamie Cassutt and Amanda Chavez and School Board member Sascha Anderson at Martin Luther King Jr. Park with about a dozen parents as their children played on the playground.

Santa Fe Police Chief Paul Joye attended as well as local FBI office Supervisor L.G. Seals.

The discussion centered mostly on how to make schools in Santa Fe safer and the possibility of an assault weapons ban in New Mexico.

Serrento says both will take action by the public to make it happen.

“Be in conversation with your schools about what’s happening and what’s not happening and talk to lawmakers that are on the committees where these bills are going to come through,” she said. “I think we do have a lot of people who want to ban assault rifles and end access to high-capacity magazines. We just need to get the people on those committees to agree on that.”

Chief Joye says he is strongly in favor of more community based preventative measures and has been and will continue to work with community groups to do so.

Regarding the reports that police waited 45 minutes before confronting the 18-year-old shooter at Robb Elementary School, he says he finds it very disturbing. He says while he can’t pass judgment without knowing more of the facts, he has some serious questions about what happened.         

Uvalde, Texas School Shooting memorial conducted by the Santa Fe Interfaith Leadership Alliance

Members of the Santa Fe Interfaith Leadership Alliance gathered on the steps of First Presbyterian Church in Santa Fe on Sunday to remember those lost in recent mass shootings. 

As the names of those killed were read, attendees dropped rose petals on a white sheet in remembrance of those who died.

Reverend Gail Lindsay Marriner is Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Santa Fe.

She says the group has been reading the names of those killed in mass shootings with similar memorials ever since the El Paso shootings in 2019. The list reached over 100 names.     

Now, Marriner says it’s time for action, and each ceremony includes helping attendees contact lawmakers and demand changes in gun laws.

“We respond to these crises with outrage and surprise and we turn away because it’s overwhelming. We’re acting as we’ve learned helplessness and we are moving into despair,” she said. “The efforts to help people find easy ways to reach out and bend that moral arc of the universe in the right direction, that’s the piece we’re adding now and we’re hoping it will make a difference.”          

In the meantime, schools across the country have bolstered security in the aftermath of the Robb Elementary shooting.

Changes include stricter entrance rules and temporarily banning large backpacks. Some districts are ending the school year early.           

Kevin Meerschaert comes to Santa Fe from Jacksonville, Florida where he spent the past 20 years covering politics, government and pretty much everything else.