Columbine 10 Years Later

In which your Monkey departs from his usual policy of talking movies, music, podcasts and more to wonder about our collective reaction to the ongoing problem of mass shootings.

So is it just this Monkey, or did the 10th anniversary of the Columbine shootings come and go this week without much of an impact on the social fabric?

And what’s more, the anniversary of the shootings at Virginia Tech, which happened just a mere two years ago last week, also came and went with what seems like hardly any remarking at all.

And what’s more, the mass shooting incident in Binghamton New York earlier this month already seems to have disappeared from the public consciousness.

Let’s recap the facts for a moment:

  • At Columbine on April 20, 1999, thirteen people (12 students and 1 teacher) were killed in a planned massacre that at the time seemed to be something so unusual and far from the norm that it still stands out in our minds today.
  • At Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007,  there were 32 students and faculty members killed. This is twice the number of Columbine and then some.
  • On April 4 of this year, 13 people were killed in a rampage in Binghamton, NY. This incident is less than a month old and yet the Monkey can hardly recall more than a murmur in the media when it occurred.

So what does this all mean?

It may be that

  • These types of massacres are becoming so commonplace that we don’t take special notice of them anymore (unless, of course, they directly affect us)
  • We have to maintain a detached distance from these crimes because they are so random and unpredictable in nature
  • Since the perpetrators of these crimes all died while committing them, there is no living person to direct our anger toward, so we don’t really know what to do with it
  • Paying a great deal of attention to these attacks is counterproductive to stopping them, because attention is what the attacker craves

Your Monkey doesn’t know what the answer is. Or if there even is a right answer.

All he knows is that he feels for the families of those affected, and it doesn’t seem to be quite right that they should be the only ones to shoulder these grim memories.

Even if we can’t do anything to change what happened, we can at least be grateful for what we have.

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