Friday, July 24, 2015

Another mass shooting

It happened again last night: a mass shooting. During a showing of the comedy Trainwreck at a movie theater in Louisiana, a lone male gunman killed two people and wounded at least nine others, before turning the gun on himself. Just last week another man was convicted for the massacre during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, CO in July 2012.
I remember back in 1989 in Stockton, CA at the Cleveland Elementary School there, when a gunman killed five children and wounded 32 others including students and a teacher. He then killed himself. Mass shootings like that were uncommon back then. This one stands out in my mind because it was one of the first, and because my mom lived in that city at the time.

Since then there has been a very long list including the University of Iowa in 1991, the Luby's Cafeteria shootings in 1991 in Killeen, TX, and the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 where 15 died and 21 others were wounded. Every day we pick up the paper and see more accounts of hate crimes, school massacres, workplace killings, and other violent acts, including those who have died at the hands of police officers. To say that I am horrified and outraged, would be an understatement.

Nothing seems to happen.  I vividly remember the mass shooting that took place in July of 1993 in San Francisco's 101 California Street Building. I reported on it. Nine died and six were injured and scores of people were touched by fear and panic. People vowed that nothing like that would ever happen again, but of course that has not been the case. The Jack Berman Advocacy Center to lobby and organize with regard to gun control and violence reduction, was formed after this incident.  Berman was an attorney working in that building, and one of those killed.  Some laws were also passed as a result of the shooting, but they expired ten years later, through the operation of a sunset provision in the legislation.

This will be a major story in the news today, but sadly, it will likely disappear in a few weeks.  Why do people have to be killed?  Why can we not stop these mass shootings?  Now I won't pretend to have all the answers.  I do know that Americans are not stupid people.  There is a way to stop the killings.  I think it all begins with caring.  We need to get involved and stay involved until we see change.  We CAN change the world.  First though, we have to want to.

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