It’s April 20th. Yesterday was the “anniversary” of the bombing of the Oklahoma City Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. 168 people died. The nation will not forget that on April 19th, a man with right wing extremist views committed an act of domestic terror- one of the first of others to follow. After the Jan. 6th insurrection at the Capitol, references and comparisons were made. There was something similar about the two.
“April is the cruelest month”. This quote is the first line of the poem by American poet T.S. Eliot in his poem Wasteland. This year April has clearly been a very cruel month regarding shootings as I wrote about in my last post.
Today it’s another anniversary of the nation’s first mass school shooting that broke our hearts as we watched, horrified at the images of students hanging out of windows and walking out of the school, hands over their heads. 12 died that day in 1999. We mourned together. The Columbine shooting was the first of what has since become a national epidemic of school shootings that have taken the lives of our precious children in numbers unimaginable. 20 six year olds were massacred in December of 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. 32 at Virginia Tech. 16 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. And it continues.
The shooting at Columbine and at a Jewish Community Day Care Center in California led to the Million Mom March and the birth of an organization that has been working to save lives and prevent shootings ever since. That organization is today called Brady United Against Gun Violence, or just Brady. Since the shooting of Gabby Giffords and the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school, 2 more organizations entered the space of gun violence prevention. Giffords and Everytown/Moms Demand Action are making a real difference to the landscape with ever more activists doing the work of educating the public, lobbying, organizing, making calls, working on campaigns, holding vigils, involved in the Social Media space to demand that common sense prevail over cowardice and weakness.
Time after time, we have rallied, lobbied, marched, rung bells and lit candles. The bodies have piled up as we watch our lapdog politicians ignore the devastation and the horror. We have heard the excuses. We have heard the nonsensical rhetoric of the corporate gun lobbyists and leaders deceiving us and lying to us over and over again. We have heard them say that trying to prevent shootings won’t make a difference because people will get guns anyway even though we are trying to stop the “anyway”. We have heard them say that only good guys with guns can save us from the consequences of our failure to enact laws that could save us from the shootings. We have heard them offer thoughts and prayers while refusing to take the action necessary to stop having to offer thoughts and prayers.
Today we remember the victims of the Columbine shooting. Yesterday and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow we have and will remember the more than 100 who die of gunshot injuries every day in America.
Coach Dave Sanders