Thirty people, including a 9-year-old and many senior citizens, attended a vigil Monday night in Carroll for the victims of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. The attendees held candles, took a moment of silence and called for a range of measures to reduce gun violence from stricter background checks for firearms sales to improved mental-health services.
Thirty people, including a 9-year-old and many senior citizens, attended a vigil Monday night in Carroll for the victims of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. The attendees held candles, took a moment of silence and called for a range of measures to reduce gun violence from stricter background checks for firearms sales to improved mental-health services.

August 8, 2019

Abut 30 people gathered for a candlelight vigil Monday night on the north sidewalk of the Carroll County Courthouse to mourn the victims of the mass shootings this past weekend in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.

The attendees in Carroll, ranging from a 9-year-old girl carrying a sign reading “Do Something” to senior citizens, stood in silence for a time to recognize the dead, and then called for a raft of measures to react to the violence, from stricter bans on sales of firearms to improved mental-health services.

“I have grandchildren and children, and I don’t want them to live in this kind of a world,” said Mary Bruner, a former Carroll teacher who organized the event.

Bruner, who ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for the Iowa Senate in 2012, said actions speak louder than words when it comes to the politics of gun violence.

“Yes, it’s mental health, but it’s more than that,” she said.

Several people drove by the vigil on Highway 30 with a thumbs up, but one passerby yelled a profanity at the attendees who held candles and signs.

Barb Middendorf, a special education teacher in the Coon Rapids-Bayard School District, said advocates for more regulations on firearms can’t be afraid to talk with people who disagree with them politically.

“It can be done in a civil way,” she said, adding that now is the time is to press issues before violence comes to more places in America.

She added, “Is Carroll, Iowa, next?”

Dacota Walters, 9, joined her aunt, Kendra Walters, 25, of Manning at the vigil. Kendra Walters wants to see better background checks for firearms purchases and improved mental-health services.

“It can be any of us,” she said of those who died in the mass shootings. “My niece can be next. Enough is enough. Thoughts and prayers aren’t getting the job done.”

Ruth Lux of Lidderdale, who regularly attends anti-abortion rallies in the Carroll area and has for years, said she’s disappointed others in the pro-life community weren’t at the vigil Monday.

“Where are our pro-life friends?” she asked.

Lux wants to see universal background checks for firearm sales and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.