Just about everything that can be said, has been said over the years regarding mass shootings. News outlets mention that the Las Vegas shootings rank as the worst in ‘modern day’ history, implying there must have been some events even worse in terms of the number of deaths. There were, one in East St. Louis in 1917, and the other in Colfax, Louisiana in 1873.
The first in my memory was August 1, 1966 at the University of Texas in Austin when 25-year old Charles Whitman, a former Marine sharp shooter, climbed the stairs to the top of the bell tower, and killed 15 people while injuring 31 over an hour and a half. I was 22 years old and in Europe, and people would ask me how an American can do this to other Americans, and I was at a loss to explain it. Here it is a half-century later and I still can’t explain why it continues to happen.
If there is a difference over that time, it’s that people have gravitated into one of two main camps; advocates favoring gun control, and supporters of the Second Amendment. The commonality of those in each group, is that it’s difficult if not impossible for them to change camps.
Tuesday October 3rd, folks gathered in Naperville to attend a vigil to remember the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. A number of people spoke including Naperville councilwoman Becky Anderson. She said, “We have to do something. We won’t let this happen again.” That is a bold statement. I don’t know what she has in mind, or what her solution is, but whatever it is, it would have been so helpful if the answer was known on July 31, 1966.