There have been an alarming number of violent acts perpetrated in the United States during the month of April. A quick web search provides a long list, and this is just a sampling from the last few decades:
Whitharral, Texas: April 7, 1977 -- A student at the local high school shot his principal, Malcolm Tripp, twice, killing him. The boy, Ricardo Lopez, then went to a nearby store, handed his .38-caliber to the clerk and asked him to call the police.
The Waco siege began on Sunday, February 28, 1993, and ended violently 50 days later on April 19 in Waco, Texas.
Bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, April 19, 1995: Right-wing extremists Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols destroyed the Federal Building in Oklahoma City with a massive truck bomb that killed 166 and injured hundreds more in what was up to then the largest terrorist attack on American soil.
Columbine, Colorado April 20, 1999 -- Two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, entered the school (which had armed security guards, BTW) and proceeded to indiscriminately shoot those inside. They killed 12 students and a teacher, and wounded 21 more students in the span of 20 minutes. Two propane bombs were later found in the cafeteria. April 20th is Hitler's birthday.
Austin, Texas April 25, 2007 -- A bomb at a women's health clinic was found and disarmed before it could be detonated. The bomb contained 2,000 nails attached to a propane tank. It was found in the parking lot and disarmed before it could wreak havoc. It could have been a horrific attack if someone hadn't been sharp-eyed and called the police.
Grand Chute, Wisconsin April 1, 2012 -- A Planned Parenthood clinic was targeted with a bomb left on a windowsill. Thankfully, nobody was in the building when the bomb went off, possibly ahead of schedule. The clinic re-opened a few days later.
Blacksburg, Virginia -- Virginia Tech massacre on April 17, 2007 -- Armed with a .22 caliber and a 9mm semiautomatic handgun, Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people, most of them students, in the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
Yesterday's tragedy in Boston is the latest act of violence that is beginning to define our society. So many questions remain. We have to wonder why our culture has bred such a crop of violent killers as compared to, say, our neighbors to the North?
And what of the location of this latest horror? Was the Boston Marathon targeted because it provided a convenient mass gathering of people (as in the Atlanta Olympic Park bombing) to maximize the explosive impact on as many helpless victims as possible, or did the killer have a specific interest in the city and its historical connections?
Patriot's Day celebrated, in part, the 4/19 Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord in the Revolutionary war, the same day as the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and the 1993 Waco siege. Clearly, there are militias that identify strongly with Patriot's Day.
While the FBI searches for answers in the bloody streets of Boston, the only certainty we have is that this will happen again. And again. In classrooms and streets and public buildings everywhere. With easy access to guns and explosives, what's stopping them?