shooting

Massive search for Maine shooting shocked 

I find myself pondering whether florists in the vicinity of Lewiston, Maine, have run out of stock for peace lilies, carnations, or white roses. These are the particular flowers that individuals often seek when they wish to purchase sympathy bouquets.

I also wonder if florists, regardless of their location, including more secluded places like Lewiston, maintain substantial inventories as a precautionary measure.

I can’t help but question if mourners still exist or if flowers are still being purchased, regardless of the number of lives lost or the location. In this instance, it happened in Lewiston, where eighteen lives were tragically lost, with some individuals still in critical condition.

When ‘going postal’ came into the vernacular

I have lived long enough to recall an era when such tragedies used to shock us profoundly. One such devastating incident occurred on August 20, 1986, when a 44-year-old mail carrier named Patrick H. Sherrill entered the post office in Edmond, Oklahoma, where he was employed.

He proceeded to open fire with two handguns, resulting in the tragic deaths of 14 of his coworkers and the injury of six others, concluding the horrific event by taking his own life.

The enormity of this unprecedented atrocity prompted The Arizona Republic to send me, along with reporters from across the nation, to cover the incident. Expressions like “going postal” began to infiltrate everyday language as a result.

Shooting

Upon my arrival in Edmond, my initial destination was the nearby flower shop. I had the intention of placing a bouquet outside the post office, where a makeshift memorial had been set up.

“I’m sorry, but we’re currently out of flowers,” shop owner Jim Burdick informed me. He explained that his shop had been inundated with orders since “the incident.”

Back then, someone in his position couldn’t have anticipated such a surge in demand.
Today, we can.

The events that unfolded in Edmond on that tragic day and the subsequent response established a blueprint for how we address gun massacres. This framework has proven valuable, given the unfortunate frequency of such incidents in the years that followed.

Then, thousands of protesters demanded action

Initially, we convey our shock and disbelief. We then gather information about the incident, delve into the background of the perpetrator, highlight the courageous actions of first responders, pay tribute to the victims, and eventually, we compel ourselves to acknowledge that action must be taken.

Is the United States a safe place for children?

If the country can’t safeguard kids from gun violence, should I consider protecting my own by relocating elsewhere?
In April 1999, I was assigned to cover the events in Littleton, Colorado, shooting for The Republic. Many other journalists were already on the scene, numbering in the hundreds.

Just a few days prior, two armed young men, aged 18 and 17, entered Columbine High School and began shooting, resulting in the tragic shooting deaths of 12 students and a teacher, while more than 20 others were left wounded.

National Rifle Association (NRA)

I remained in the vicinity shooting when the National Rifle Association (NRA) decided to proceed with its scheduled convention in Denver. Thousands of protestors gathered, calling for national measures to address gun violence.


During the convention, the late actor and then-NRA President Charlton Heston addressed an enthusiastic crowd, proclaiming, “shooting Every dreadful incident should not serve as a tool for opportunists to dismantle the fundamental Bill of Rights that unites us.

From calling for change to simply keeping score

The NRA no longer finds it necessary to make such assertive declarations. As the years have passed and with the alarming frequency of mass shootings (566 already this year, as per the Gun Violence Archive), our perspective on these events has shifted.

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It’s as though we no longer perceive them as something within our power to prevent or even dissuade. It’s as if we’ve started to regard them not as human-caused but rather as natural calamities akin to floods, tornadoes, or wildfires. President Biden has stated, “I’m doing everything I can to reduce gun violence, but Congress must do more.

In contemporary times, we have reached a point where we merely tally the numbers.

The tragic incident in Maine on Wednesday, resulting in 18 fatalities has ranked it among the top 10, with the 21 lives lost at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in May 2022, just preceding it, and the 17 fatalities at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018, immediately trailing behind.

Well-intentioned individuals naturally demand decisive action. We remind ourselves that something must change, but not too hastily. shooting

This is the refrain we often hear from politicians influenced by the powerful gun lobby.
Initially, they argue, we must allow ourselves the space to grieve, and indeed, we do. The period of mourning has persisted since the time I departed from Edmond in late August 1986.

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