SPECIAL REPORT: It Happened Here. Twice.
Starting with local events in 2002 and 2011, The Daily Wildcat takes a comprehensive look at mass and school shootings
The Tucson community has been affected by gun violence twice during the past decade and a half. In 2002, the UA’s College of Nursing was horribly devastated when an armed gunman shot and killed three professors and subsequently himself. In 2011, our own Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot and horribly wounded alongside 18 others, of whom six were killed outside of a local grocery store. Among the six killed was a 9-year-old girl.
Today, Oct. 28, is the 13th anniversary of the 2002 shooting at the UA College of Nursing, and we as a nation have made seemingly no progress — perhaps even regressed — on the issue of gun violence.
Growing up, our generation has seen horrific violence. In 1999, the unthinkable happened at Columbine High School in Colorado: two seniors planned and orchestrated a sophisticated attack on their high school ending in the deaths of 12 students, one teacher and the suicides of the perpetrators themselves. Eight years after that came the tragedy at Virginia Tech, where 32 were slaughtered.
On the front page we have chosen to display all the names of mass shooting victims as a testament to their memories and the importance of remembering victims in preventing future murders. We have also chosen to report the names of the shooters within the pages of this issue because, as journalists, we must report the facts of these terrible events.
As a generation, we have become desensitized to violence and are shockingly apathetic, even when the violence happens within our own communities.
We have chosen to focus on mass shootings, consisting of three or more people effected, whether or not they happened on a university campus. These shootings are more than a campus problem.
The problem, then, is that this trauma isn’t unique to our community or to any community; in this country we have had more mass shootings this year than we have had days.
As a result we have had a tsunami of proposed legislation for increasingly tighter gun regulations. However, nothing comes of it.
After each shooting, whether it is at a school, a grocery store, a movie theater or a private residence, we ask ourselves how we can fix this and generate multiple methods to mitigate these tragedies. Yet here we are, with no solutions, just waiting for the next tragedy and the subsequent sympathetic Facebook post that will accompany it. We are all [insert school mascot] or [whatever town] “strong”. We are complacent. We need to do more.
Sadly, this editorial could have been written and published at any time. This will always be a current topic, as gun violence prevails daily, yet little has been done on a societal or legislative level to address these shootings. The president airs an address, the nation mourns and we forget about it until the next agitated assailant makes his move on a community, unsuspecting and shocked by the violent outburst.
“He was such a good kid,” acquaintances will say. “We really didn’t see this coming.”
But we do see it coming.
As a nation, we understand the risks of a wildly underwhelming mental health care system and a social climate where guns are an expectation, not a rarity, yet nothing changes. We sit and we wait and hope that it gets better.
That is why we are doing this special issue, because we want it to be understood that we, as college reporters and Millennials, do care about gun violence and strive to not simply be apathetic bystanders hoping we’re not the ones who get shot.
It happened here. History forgotten simply repeats itself.
Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat editorial board and are written by its members. They are Nick Havey, Jessie Webster and Jacquelyn Oesterblad. Christianna Silva and Meghan Fernandez recused themselves from this editorial.
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