One of the things about mass shootings and everyday shootings is that we have a tendency to forget about them and the victims because so many others come behind them to take a place in our collective conscience.
The gun lobby and their lapdog politicians want us to forget about them because remembering all of the carnage serves to put the focus squarely where it belongs- on their resistance to any common sense gun safety reform measure that could save lives and prevent the shootings.
So today I am going to remind us about a shooting anniversary. 9 years ago today, 13 were massacred at a Citizenship class in Binghamton, New York:
A gunman invaded an immigration services center in downtown Binghamton, N.Y., during citizenship classes on Friday and shot 13 people to death and critically wounded 4 others before killing himself in a paroxysm of violence that turned a quiet civic setting into scenes of carnage and chaos. (…)
Two pistols and a satchel of ammunition were found with the body. In what the police took to be evidence of preparation and premeditation, the assailant had driven a borrowed car up against the center’s back door to barricade it against escape, then had walked in the rain around to the front to begin the attack.
What motivated the assault remained a mystery. Binghamton officials said the assailant apparently had ties to the center, which helps immigrants and refugees with counseling, resettlement and other issues.
This was just another mass shooting but, according to the article:
It was the nation’s worst mass shooting since April 16, 2007, when Seung-Hui Cho, 23, shot and killed 32 people in a dormitory and classroom at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va., then killed himself in the largest shooting in modern American history. In the last month, 25 people, including 2 gunmen, were slain in three mass shootings, in North Carolina, California and Alabama.
Since then, of course, our country has experienced other horrendous mass shootings. To name just a few:
Sandy Hook in 2012- the slaughter of 20 first graders and 6 educators.
Aurora theater shooting in 2012- leaving 12 dead and 70 injured.
Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016 with 49 dead and 58 injured.
Las Vegas in 2017- 58 massacred and 851 injured!Parklan
Sutherland, Texas church shooting left 26 dead and 20 injured.
Parkland school shooting on Feb. 14th of this year leaving 17 dead and 17 injured.
We shouldn’t think these will be the worst.
Because some of our leaders have chosen to close their eyes and ears to these tragic shootings of innocent Americans, we know there will be more.
They are not acting to stop the next shooting or prevent easy access to guns by those who shouldn’t have them or stop military style assault rifles from being too easily available for the slaughter of our kids.
Where is common sense?
Back to the inauspicious anniversary of the shooting at a citizenship class in Binghamton, New York, it does seem as if the community and the nation has moved on:
Eight years later, the world has largely forgotten about Binghamton, its tragedy turned achingly familiar by the shootings that have followed. This is far from a mournful place, and the little memorial park that residents built by the Chenango River is quiet and tasteful. But the rampage still affects the community and its people in subtle ways. (…)
“It was an episode that ripped apart our delusion that we were safe from all that,” said Gerald R. Smith, a 63-year-old historian who works out of the Broome County Public Library downtown.
Yes, it can happen here, Binghamton learned the hard way, in a small city of about 46,000, roughly the size of Attleboro or Leominster.
The ripple effect of gun violence swirls around us in communities all over our country. The families and friends of the victims never forget. They learn to live around the hole in their hearts and their lives caused by a senseless shooting. But some things cannot be forgotten or erased from the collective memories of a small town north of New York City. The shooting will never make sense as they never do. More from the linked article:
King is 55, a trim, well-spoken man who keeps a packed schedule. The growing number of mass shootings in the years after Binghamton — the litany that opens this story is just a sampling — has driven him to deep frustration. Though he never raises his voice in an hourlong interview at his office, his exasperation is clear.
“I’m sickened that another group of innocent people will go through what we did,” he said last week, with news of the Sutherland Springs shooting still fresh.
“I just know deeply . . . ”
He cut off the thought and began another.
“Those families now — they have no idea the recovery . . . ”
He tapped his fingers over his heart.
“You can’t go to the cinema. Can’t go to the mall. Can’t go to church. Can’t go to school. My temple has had a policeman outside since 9/11,” he said. “It’s sick.”
It is sick. There is something wrong in our country. We have a serious public health and safety epidemic and we are ignoring it because……… because……… the corporate gun lobby’s hold on our elected leaders. There can be no other explanation.
Tomorrow will be the 50th anniversary of the shooting of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I will always remember the news of the shooting of a man who was a national hero of the civil rights movement in our country. A woman at the scene of King’s shooting at a Memphis hotel still recalls the event tearfully in this story.
People don’t forget seeing dead bodies. They don’t forget hearing gunshots. They don’t forget becoming a part of a national tragedy that they had no idea was coming when they woke up that morning. They don’t forget the sirens. They don’t forget the shock and the chaos. They don’t forget the phone call telling them that a loved one has been shot and killed in an unexpected and violent way.
These are our collective memories. Mass shootings. Shootings of political leaders. Shooting of a loved one. Shooting of a friend or a neighbor. We don’t forget. For if we do, we will never do what is right in the name of the victims.
Every day – we remember.
The movement created by the Parkland shooting student survivors is changing everything and making sure we do not forget the lives lost. They will not let us forget and they will not let our leaders forget:
Stoneman Douglas students from Parkland, Florida, and the people they’ve inspired seem intent on keeping the issue of gun violence front and center in the coming weeks: Marches and rallies have continued, and there are plans for a nationwide school walkout on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre.
Victoria Kaplan, organizing director for, said she considers those steps “really strong indicators” that political engagement will continue through November — and perhaps far beyond.
And Kris Brown, Co-President of the Brady Campaign made this observation ( from the above linked article):
Brown said frequent lockdown and mass shooter drills at schools around the country have shown kids what needs to change.
“For many kids, this is how they grew up, and it’s a reminder, every time they go through it, of how little has been done to truly protect them,” Brown said. “The answer that the adults have put into place, they know, really, is not going to stop it from happening again.”
“I don’t see them just walking away from this,” she added. “This is something that’s deeply personal, like, ‘You’ve told me this is the way our government is supposed to work. I see that this is — pardon my French — a bastardization of it. Fix it, and if you’re not going to fix it, then get out of the way.’”
A major motivator is students’ visceral anger at “the corruption of our political system,” as Ambler characterized it.
No, we won’t forget that our system has been corrupted by the corporate gun lobby and its’ corporate money given to our leaders and used to intimidate voters and leaders alike. Follow the money.
The students are reminded whenever they have active shooter drills in their schools hoping that their school will not be next.
Every time another shooting happens, we should remember those that came before and remember who is standing in the way of the changes we deserve.
The students and young people are keeping the dream of change alive.
The Gun Violence Archive does not forget. In fact, the organization is keeping track of our daily carnage. Here is what they have posted today:
The dreams of too many shattered. The potential of too many people unrealized. The grief for the lost lives. The bodies piled up. The American tragedy.