I very clearly remember Columbine. My son knew kids there, many of my coworkers had children there. It was frightening and everybody was numb with grief. It was tragic and it was senseless.
However, in the wake of Columbine, I began to be bothered by something, and it bothers me in regard to Newtown. Columbine was an upscale, primarily white community, as is Newtown. The nation was riveted by this senselessness, it seemed, in part because the children who were killed were upper middle class in what was perceived to be a safe neighborhood. However, as tragic as each death at Columbine was, as tragic as each death at Newtown was, there are more children killed by gun violence every day than were killed at either school. Many of these children are on their way to or from school, or hanging out in their own neighborhoods. Every one of these deaths is as tragic as each Columbine or Newtown death was. But the country merely mentions them in passing, if at all. Why is that?
Is it because they are killed in onzies and twozies? Is it because many are of color or poor? Is it because the perps are often gang members or have a criminal element to them? Is it because we assume (incorrectly in most cases) that the victims are not innocent? Whatever the reason, these deaths are as tragic as are the deaths of the Columbine and Newtown shootings.
Imagine if they were as thoroughly reported as were the mass shootings (including Aurora and the Sikh Temple). How would the country react? If this country realized that we suffer 4 Newtowns a day, 5 Auroras and 5 Columbines a day, a World Trade Center each and month, would we tolerate these weapons that have no purpose but to kill? Is this the message we need to drive home?