photo: Borderland Beat
"My first love was a 22, nice and slim; tucked in my Chucker boots what a priceless gem." -- "Toolz of the Trade," Smif n Wessun
This has the feeling of one of those events that will forever hang with us. Many may never forget where they were or what they were doing when they first heard about it. It's a feeling roused by the realization that for hours after this event, literally every person with whom I had even the briefest of contact asked the same question: "Did you hear about the shooting?"
Indeed, there have been few occasions that I can recall such an intensely unified reaction of shock to an act of gun violence involving some yahoo going "postal." It's as if in the hours after the event, the grimy, sulphuric presence of gunpowder residue continued to hang over the nation.
Somehow I don't recall this level of passion in the post carnage reactions and analysis of any of the recent mass shootings. Not after the Fort Hood killings in Texas or the Sikh Temple massacre in Milwaukee. And not after the Gabby Giffords shooting in Toledo or the "joker" theater rampage in Colorado. That series of recent gun massacres resulted in a combined total of 38 Americans dead and 105 injured 105.
I also don't recall in the previous events, an atmosphere of such deflated sorrow that in this case caused so many otherwise hardened law enforcement officials, experienced journalists, seasoned first responders, veteran politicians, and even presidents to become so uncontrollably teary-eyed.
There seems little doubt that this event is palpably different. It has a 911-like surrealism to it. But can it illicit the same degree of serendipity to become -- as is alleged of 9-11 -- the day that "changed everything?" Indeed after the latest in an epic stream of gun-related atrocities, the question for many has to be: will it make a difference?