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Hours after a lone gunman killed eight people at a San Jose light rail yard, California Gov. Gavin Newsom lamented the country's latest mass shooting.
"What the hell is going on in the United States of America? What the hell is wrong with us," Newsom said at a press conference, his voice cracking at times. "When are we going to come to grips with this? When are we going to put down our arms, literally and figuratively?"
He added, "Wake up to this reality and take a little damn responsibility, all of us. ... Move beyond the platitudes and the usual rhetoric that tends to mark not just these moments, but the aftermath of these moments."
There have been 15 mass killings in 2021, each with at least four fatal victims, according to an Associated Press/USA TODAY/Northeastern University database. All cases were shootings and claimed a total of 86 lives.
The incident marks Santa Clara County's second mass shooting in less than two years. A gunman killed three people and wounded 17 others before dying by suicide at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in 2019.
"There's a sameness to this — Anywhere U.S.A. It feels like this happens over, and over, and over again, rinse and repeat," said Newsom, who is facing a recall and harsh criticism over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. "It wasn't that long ago, I was standing out here talking about the tragic loss of two children, one in her mother's arms, at the Gilroy Festival."
Prior to the press conference, Newsom spent time with surviving victims and the victims' families at a makeshift reunification center, commending their bravery.
"The fact that they can stand up and support one another is remarkable," he said, "What a human act."
To the victims and families, Newsom had a message: "We are resolved not to make this meaningless, but to bring meaning to this tragic moment."
Contributing: Grace Hauck and John Bacon, USA TODAY
Sheyanne Romero covers Tulare County public safety, local government and business for the Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Advance-Register newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @sheyanne_VTD.
This article originally appeared on Salinas Californian: Gavin Newsom on San Jose shooting: 'What the hell is wrong with us?'