Northwest Arkansans worried after mass shootings

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Hayot Tuychiev and his son Ibrahim are getting ready for another school year. The weekend’s mass shootings in Ohio and Texas have Tuychiev thinking about his family’s safety rather than pencils and paper.

“We were about to go shopping, but I’m a little bit worried about my family, especially taking kids out there to buy those school supplies,” Tuychiev said.

Years ago, Tuychiev moved to America from Uzbekistan. He identifies as a Muslim and attends the Islamic Center of NWA. That means he was directly impacted by some of President Donald Trump’s comments about immigrants and the Islamic faith.

“Locally, we think we are safe, but there’s no way of telling if there is somebody who goes out there and starts shooting in a public space like Walmart,” Tuychiev said.

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R) said even though the El Paso shooter exhibited an intense hatred toward immigrants in his manifesto, Trump’s comments can’t be held responsible for what happened.

“I think law enforcement is still trying to verify whether the El Paso shooter did in fact write a supposed manifesto,” Cotton said. “If he did, though, the very text of this manifesto said that this man has harbored this kind of race hatred well before Donald Trump.”

Cotton said the problem involves the shooters’ mental health.

“One obvious common thread in so many of these shootings, not just in our own country but in places like New Zealand and Australia, is young, angry, alienated young men oftentimes with mental health problems,” Cotton said.

Tuychiev said guns can exacerbate problems, but he said a solution needs to be found despite seemingly-constant arguments on both political sides.

“I respect all opinions, [but] at some point, I think it is there already,” Tuychiev said. “People are not safe to go out there to simply shop because they can get killed.”

At least 31 people were killed in the weekend’s mass shootings.

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