“We want to pause at the beginning of our show and just send our love to the folks in Boulder, Colorado,” Hoda said Tuesday on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna.
“And I have to say it’s just really sad to think that the pandemic’s just finally easing its grip on us and some of the first two things that have happened that are huge are two mass shootings,” she said, referring to what happened in Boulder, as well as last week’s shootings at multiple spas in Atlanta that left eight people dead.
Hoda said she is haunted by how different people wound up at the scene.
“I just keep thinking about how people walked in. One guy said he went in for a slice of pizza. Some people went in for COVID shots. Some people work there. Some people went to buy ingredients for dinner,” she said.
Jenna echoed Hoda’s sentiment about how the victims endured a very difficult year due to the pandemic only to become part of a shooting.
“What you said is so true,” she said. “We’ve lived through one of the hardest years our world has ever faced, so these people have lived through a hard year and now there are brothers and sisters and moms and dads and kids waking up without their parents.”
“Look, 10 people died, including a police officer and that is something that, I don’t care how many times you talk about a mass shooting, you can’t believe that you’re saying the number of people,” Hoda said.
She also talked about newlywed Neven Sloan, whom she interviewed earlier Tuesday on TODAY, along with his wife and a grocery store employee, about Sloan's decision to help people get out of the building during the shooting.
“I was just so struck by that," she said. "I thought, ‘Can you imagine?’ He said God compelled him to go in and I thought that was so amazing.”
She also mentioned how people have survival instincts and may want to help, but something inside of them tells them to hold back.
“But this person was extraordinary, what he did,” she said.
Jenna was especially taken by one question Hoda asked that spoke to the nature of mass shootings in America.
“You asked a question this morning that broke my heart,” she said. “And you asked one of the guys, ‘You’ve lived through Columbine, Aurora. You’ve lived through these shootings. Do you ever think something like this could happen?’ And the fact that you even had to ask that question broke my heart.”
Hoda also noted how witnesses at mass shootings seem to say they never thought it could happen to them, but that’s now starting to change.
“What’s weird is the young people actually have grown up with mass shootings. They have thought about it,” she said.
“We just want to send our thoughts and prayers and to everybody who’s out there helping and that poor police officer who died in the line of duty, he’s a hero,” she added.