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U.S. Army doctors who treated victims of the recent mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, said the emergency room scene was like a war zone, except for one difference: None of the wounded had been protected by body armor.
Critically wounded patients began arriving at local hospitals in El Paso less than a half hour after a lone gunman, armed with a rifle, entered a nearby Walmart and began shooting.
Victims suffered from high-velocity gunshot wounds that tore open flesh, shattered bone and destroyed tissue in their arms, legs, abdomens and chests, Army Lt. Col. Justin Orr, chairman of orthopedic surgery at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, told Military.com recently.
Orr was the orthopedic trauma surgeon on call at Del Sol Medical Center the day of the Aug. 3 shooting as part of an established partnership the Army medical community in El Paso holds with local hospitals.
Staff at Del Sol were notified of the mid-morning shooting soon after it began.
Two former U.S. officials who led the global fight against ISIS are warning Americans about a new threat to the homeland: homegrown white nationalist terrorism.
Retired Marine Gen. John Allen and Brett McGurk, both of whom served as special presidential envoys for the global coalition taking on ISIS, said in a Washington Post op-ed that the word "terrorism" must be used to describe the new national security threats facing the country from white supremacist groups.
"The terrorist acts may differ from Islamic State attacks in degree, but they are similar in kind: driven by hateful narratives, dehumanization, the rationalization of violence and the glorification of murder, combined with ready access to recruits and weapons of war," they wrote Tuesday.
At first, Army Pfc. Glendon Oakley Jr. was completely unaware of the chaos unfolding just around the corner. Then he pulled his gun.
A 22-year-old Army automated logistics specialist assigned to the 504th Composite Supply Company, 142nd Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, 1st Armored Division Sustainment Brigade at Fort Bliss, Texas, Oakley had been shopping at a sporting goods store inside the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso when a young child burst into the store shouting about an active shooter at the nearby Walmart.
"The guy at the register and I sort of looked at each other," Oakley told Task & Purpose in a phone interview on Saturday. "He's a little kid ... are you going to believe him?"
The threat was very real. At least 20 people were killed and dozens more wounded when a gunman opened fire at the Walmart, sending terrified bystanders fleeing through the neighboring mall.
When Oakley exited the store minutes later and headed to the neighboring Footlocker, he finally heard the sound of gunfire echoing across the mall. He immediately pulled the Glock 9mm he occaisionally carries under Texas's concealed carry laws. While he had just returned from an incident-free deployment to Kuwait, this was not his first firefight.
"That's what you do," he told Task & Purpose. "You pull your gun, you find cover, and you figure out what to do next."