Rockies Diamondbacks Spring Baseball School Shooting

Colorado Rockies' Colton Welker sits in the dugout awaiting a spring training exhibition baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Welker, who is a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, is joining other Major League Baseball players in wearing the hat of the school's baseball team to honor victims of last week's shooting. 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Stop it, dammit.

How many times, oh Lord, how many lunatics?

Mass murders in Colorado and everywhere else are too horrific, too sad, too depressing, too often, too too much.

The early afternoon at Talking Stick was bright and shining as the Rockies and the Rangers played ball. Then, for those of us in the park, particularly the visitors from Colorado, who became aware of the heartbreaking news, Monday turned dark and gloomy.

I looked down from the concourse toward Rockies’ third baseman Colton Welker.

One of the Rox prized prospects, Welker was picked in the fourth round of the 2016 draft out of Stoneman-Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Two years later, in mid-February as a minor leaguer in the Rockies camp at Salt River Fields here, Welker learned during practice in a text that 17 students at his school had been killed and 17 more injured by a solo shooter with a semi-automatic. Welker was a friend to most of the victims and rode the school bus to elementary school with the perpetrator.

Now, in 2021 at spring training, Welker on Monday would hear of the latest tragedy, which occurred in the state that could become his adopted home as soon as this season.

At the same time, the University of Colorado men's basketball players in Indianapolis would find out on their phones that multiple people had been slaughtered in a grocery in Boulder just minutes away from they live and attend college.

Another Colorado team, the Avalanche, was unaware of what happened, coach Jared Bednar said, until after the game against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday evening at the arena not far from the Rockies’ ballpark outside Phoenix. The Nuggets were in flight Monday for a game against Orlando, a city that suffered with the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history when a gunman killed 49 and injured 53 others at a nightclub.

Games are meaningless in contrast to humanity’s misfortune.

As we of Colorado know full ill.

As a newspaper columnist I covered, at the scene, the Columbine massacre and the Aurora slaughter and, in the aftermath at Ground Zero, the disaster of 9/11. Psychological memories persist.

The bloodshed of Monday is another permanent scar for Colorado as a result of the mass murders in Denver, Colorado Springs, and various suburban metropolitan areas — the killings at a pizza parlor in 1993, two schools, a movie theater, two church organizations, a clinic, a national-chain big-box store and almost three decades after the first incident, a major grocery.

Thoughts and prayers can’t heal the wounds.

The Colorado sports teams and athletes have, as they have always done, shown their community love and sorrow.

Following the game Monday at Talking Stick, the official team tweet stated: “The Colorado Rockies are devastated by today’s senseless tragedy in Boulder. Our heart breaks for the lives needlessly lost, and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this shooting. We are grateful for the brave heroes and first responders who acted quickly.’’

German Marquez, who pitched Monday, wrote: “My condolences go out to the families affected by this senseless tragedy. Stay strong Colorado.’’

The Broncos posted: “Our hearts go out to the innocent victims, grocery story associations and families of those affected. ... We are grateful for the law enforcement and medical professionals who bravely responded to yet another senseless tragedy.’’

The entire nation often associates the phrase “senseless tragedy’’ with Colorado.

Rep. Joe Neguse, of Colorado, said of the Boulder carnage: “Enough is enough.’’

He is right to an extent. But the more than 40 deaths and more than 100 injuries in Colorado mass shootings are way more than enough.

In a divided nation, united action is required.

Colorado should be a leader, not a follower, in changing assault weapon and gun registration laws, attitudes, mental health care and ways to protect citizens in public places and kids everywhere.

Our state has figured out marijuana and casino and sports gambling. Why can’t legislators and local administrators solve more vital issues?

And the Avalanche, the Nuggets, the Rockies, the Rapids and the Broncos should provide their moral support by wearing uniform patches — a columbine flower — all of 2021 to honor the Monday’s Mass Murder victims and all the other senseless tragedies in Colorado.

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