His stepson works at the Walmart where Aug. 3 mass shooting occurred.

It’s become an unfortunate yet necessary exercise, a way to reach out to your friends and family as fast as possible and with the maximum reach when yet another mass shooting erupts in an American city: You go on social media to let your loved ones know you’re safe.

“I’m safe. Pay for El Paso.”

That’s what Marc Schultz found himself typing on his Facebook page early in the afternoon of Saturday, Aug. 3. Schultz, a 1987 Crookston Central High School graduate and son of Jeffrey Schultz and JoAnn Ranum, is a career military man who’s lived off and on in El Paso for almost 30 years. He lives there now.

For Schultz, the Aug. 3 mass shooting at a Walmart shopping center that killed 22 and injured more in the west-Texas city home to around 681,000 people hit especially close to home. His stepson works at the very Walmart where the shooting occurred, but he works the night shift so he was not there that afternoon.

“Two of his associates were injured, but, again, thankfully, that is all,” Schultz told the Times in a conversation via Facebook Monday night.

Schultz knows he’s very likely asking the impossible, but his wish is that people do their best to keep El Paso as a whole and the shooting victims first and foremost in their hearts and minds without being so quick to politicize the crime and point fingers.

“All is well, for what it’s worth,” Schultz said. “Our community is still in shock over the horrific event, but in light of that everyone has bonded together to show the world that El Paso will not be broken.

“I just want to keep El Paso relevant and focus on the victims and not politicize it like others have tried,” he continued. “It’s hard with social media and all, but we should try.”

Schultz retired in 2009 as a First Sergeant in the U.S. Army. His military service began in 1990 on a Patriot missile training crew at Fort Bliss in El Paso, and he’s been involved in military operations ranging from Desert Shield, to Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He’s been deployed to South Korea as well as Germany.

Asked what he thinks of military-style assault rifles being apparently readily available to people who wish to inflict great harm on others, and the inaction from lawmakers when it comes to passing any gun-control legislation whatsoever, Schultz said he agrees that doing something at this point is better than doing nothing. “Just tighten up the registration process and screening to do the best they can,” he said.

Schultz added that, with all of the concealed-carry licensees in El Paso, he’s surprised that Saturday’s Walmart shooter wasn’t shot by a bystander during his rampage.

Schultz thinks the shooter should be charged with a hate crime. “It’s my opinion, but it’s a hate crime,” he said. “He drove 11 hours to do this. That’s absolutely insane.”