As the nation is reeling from news of two mass shootings over the weekend, a false alarm in New York City reveals just how shell-shocked civilians have become.
Tourists milling about Times Square on Tuesday night suddenly panicked when they heard what they believed were a series of gun shots. Others thought they heard an explosion.
The ensuing chaos where the crowd feared for their lives was the result of a motorcylce backfiring, according to police.
Witnesses ran for cover from a non-existent gunman, convinced they were in the middle of a third shooting after the two recent tragedies that took place in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio resulting in a combined total of 31 confirmed deaths.
Videos of the tourist destination erupting in mass hysteria began circulating online.
People fleeing and hiding from #timessquare after suspected live shooter #NewYork we caught this from our hotel bar… https://t.co/Yln831woWZ— The Daniels Group (@The Daniels Group)1565144781.0
Those who were in the middle of the pandemonium recounted seeing people tumbling over one another as they scattered north on Broadway.
@DanielsGrp I was there with my daughter and I thought we all were going to die. So many kids were there and comple… https://t.co/Jzq0je9Xu1— Bridget Siljander (@Bridget Siljander)1565153452.0
@NBCNewYork @danarubinstein I was there, inside watching the last moments of @mockingbirdbway. Mass hysteria & chao… https://t.co/btifGixJ5O— Elizabeth Greenstein (@Elizabeth Greenstein)1565178381.0
CNN affiliate WLNY said the panic took place around 10 p.m. near 7th Avenue and 46th Street.
On Twitter, the NYPD assured the public there was no active shooter.
"There is no #ActiveShooter in #TimesSquare. Motorcycles backfiring while passing through sounded like gun shots."
There is no #ActiveShooter in #TimesSquare. Motorcycles backfiring while passing through sounded like gun shots.… https://t.co/nOfQ2rIGbU— NYPD Midtown North (@NYPD Midtown North)1565143796.0
Please be advised that all is safe and secure in #timessquare 🌃. All reports of suspicious sounds were due to a la… https://t.co/dMJF8JobR2— NYPD Midtown South (@NYPD Midtown South)1565144441.0
Authorities said that approximately 20 people were injured with bruises and lacerations from the stampede of scared pedestrians—many of whom refused medical attention—and fewer than six people were taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries.
Social media was buzzing about the current state of our country.
@NYPDMTN @nycgov @NYPDnews @NYPDTimesSquare Good Lord. Welcome to the New Normal in the United States of America.— Mike Penick (@Mike Penick)1565146668.0
@CNN Most developed countries hear gunshots and assume it's fireworks, or a motorcycle. We hear motorcycles and a… https://t.co/IIuYhxSPKk— Andrew Cullen (@Andrew Cullen)1565169356.0
@CNN we all have #PTSD now. #vietnam— R. H. Reid 😷 (@R. H. Reid 😷)1565179836.0
@CNN This is how domestic terrorism is gaining traction. People are on edge all the time. They are afraid to go t… https://t.co/ZTtzTYJ2wg— Susan Magee (@Susan Magee)1565163992.0
We have become a traumatized nation. So what are we going to do about it?
Unfortunately we live in violent times. The book Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence--From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror, available here, offers guidance.