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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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January 16th, 2014
05:01 PM ET

Essay: A week full of shootings

By CNN chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper and Dan Donahue

(CNN) - The nation was less than two weeks into the new year before gun violence once again shattered the image of safety that many Americans simply take for granted in public places.

In what is, sadly, at least the third example just this week, a man with a handgun entered a supermarket in Elkhart, Indiana, shooting two women dead. One of the victims was a shopper, the other an employee. Police say officers arrived and fatally shot the suspect when he turned the gun on them. He has been identified as 22-year-old Shawn Walter Bare. It's unclear what the motive may have been, but police say the victims may have known the shooter.

This follows another shooting incident at a Roswell, New Mexico, middle school on Tuesday. The suspect in that attack is a 12-year-old boy. The school reopened Thursday, two days after the suspect allegedly brought a shotgun police identified as having belonged to his parents into a crowded gym before school, and started firing. Two children were shot: a 12-year-old boy who is currently listed in critical condition, and a 13-year-old girl listed in stable condition.

That shooting followed another at a Florida Cineplex on Monday. Police say a former police officer fatally gunned down a father who had been sending text messages inside the Tampa-area movie theater. Now, a couple says they believe they came close to having an altercation with the suspect in the same Cineplex two weeks before, after he supposedly turned them into management for sending text messages.

One minute you're texting your kid before the movie starts, or you're chatting with friends before the school day begins, or you're debating buying a candy bar at the checkout – and the next minute, your life could be changed forever, if you're lucky enough to walk away from incidents like these alive.

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