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Mass shootings offer bleak return to 'normal' in America, Capitol rioters' Trump contributions and a Suez-sized traffic jam

An NBC News analysis of Federal Election Commission filings shows how much Trump supporters opened their wallets before storming the Capitol.
Image: People at the site of a mass shooting at King Soopers grocery store in Boulder
Mourners gather at a makeshift memorial at the site of the mass shooting in Boulder, Colo., on Tuesday.Alyson McClaran / Reuters

Good morning, NBC News readers.

The gun control debate is taking center stage once again as Americans question what "normal" looks like in the wake of the second mass shooting in less than a week.

Here's the latest on the aftermath of the Boulder shooting and everything else we're watching this Wednesday morning.

After two mass shootings, Americans ask: Is this what a return to normal looks like?

The flags were still flying at half-staff by presidential decree in honor of the eight victims of the Atlanta-area shooting when tragedy struck Colorado on Monday. Now the country is mourning the 10 lives lost at a grocery store in Boulder.

Is this America getting back to normal after a year of being shut-in during the coronavirus pandemic? Experts who study and chronicle mass killings warn that it could be.

Over the past year of the pandemic, mass shootings have gone dormant, but that doesn’t mean those responsible for them went away. They went into lockdown with the rest of the country, one expert said.

"Normal for the United States, unfortunately, is a mass shooting once a week," said another.

Like other mass shootings, the victims in Monday's attack were just ordinary people going about their daily lives from a 20-year-old grocery store clerk to a soon-to-be grandfather.

While Coloradans are shocked and heartbroken, they are also struggling to understand why mass shootings keep happening in their otherwise majestic state.

Experts are divided over why Colorado appears to have a disproportionate share of mass shootings, but contributing factors include a contagion effect stemming from Columbine and easy access to firearms, they say.

So, is anything going to change?

President Joe Biden called for tightening gun control laws — including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Now it's up to the Senate to see if it can reach a consensus on the notoriously partisan issue of gun control.

Wednesday's top stories

Evelyn Hockstein / The Washington Post via Getty Images file

First they answered Trump's call to open their wallets. Then they stormed the Capitol.

An NBC News analysis of Federal Election Commission filings found that people alleged to be rioters upped their contributions to former President Donald Trump after Election Day. Meantime, the Justice Department is investigating a prosecutor for comments he made during a "60 Minutes" interview about the Capitol riot cases. By Allan Smith | Read more

Analysis: Biden's all quiet on the border. That might not last.

There's no telling how long the president's grace period on the immigration issue will last — especially since some Democrats want him to put himself in the center of the crisis, NBC News' Jonathan Allen writes in a news analysis. By Jonathan Allen | Read more

North Korea fired at least one missile over the weekend, U.S. officials say

By Andrea Mitchell, Dan De Luce, Abigail Williams and Dareh Gregorian| Read more

U.S. officials downplayed the launch, with one describing it as being from North Korea's "familiar menu of provocations." By Andrea Mitchell, Dan De Luce, Abigail Williams and Dareh Gregorian| Read more

OPINION: My childhood was white, but I’m not. How I’m reconsidering my true biracial identity.

No matter how white I felt in Westchester County, this world has always seen me as an Asian American woman, NBC News editor Shannon Ho writes. In the wake of the Atlanta-area shootings, she's trying to reconcile with what her biracial identity means. By Shannon Ho | Read more

Implosion of David Dobrik's Dispo shows dangers of influencer branding

In a rare move, a venture capital firm has severed "all ties" with Dispo, the popular photo-sharing social platform co-founded by YouTuber David Dobrik, after rape allegations against a member of his team emerged. Experts say a venture capital culture that tolerates sexual harassment and male-dominated teams is partly to blame. But the reputation crisis for all involved also underscores the dangers of influencer branding. Meanwhile cultural critic Lexi Lane writes in an opinion piece that Dobrik got money to be a jerk — and asks why no one cared before this scandal blew up. By Ben Popken | Read more

BETTER: This woman ate just 7 foods for 1 month.

Experimenting against excess opened one woman's eyes to waste, gratitude and the power of her food dollars. By Stephanie Thurrott | Read more

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One crazy thing

Suez Canal Authority / Reuters

An unlikely maritime traffic jam is blocking one of the world’s most important shipping lanes after a massive cargo ship ran aground and got stuck sideways across the waterway.

Tankers were seen lining up for hours near the entrance of Egypt’s Suez Canal, which accounts for 12 percent for world trade and usually sees 50 cargo ships pass between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea daily.

A severe dust storm and poor visibility are to blame for the enormous container vessel turning sideways near the Southern end of the canal on Tuesday morning. Now officials are doing everything they can to try to dislodge the ship, but so far have had no luck.

Read the full story here.

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Thanks, Petra