Friday, February 26, 2016

It Can Never Happen Here

Last night, I was half watching the Republican Party's Presidental candidates debate on CNN.  I opened my laptop and clicked on Facebook.

I saw the news "active workplace shooter situation in Hesston, least 14 wounded...reports of three dead." (This is now updated to 4 dead).

For my dear readers outside the United States, "active shooter" means exactly what you think it means - a shooter is on the loose somewhere, shooting at people with the intent of killing.

This time, the gunman was a 38 year old man, an employee of Excel Industries, a lawn mower manufacturer, who came through their production area with an assault weapon. Prior to that, on his way there, he shot at people from his car, according to news reports.

Many years ago, due to my spouse's job, we lived and worked in Wichita, Kansas.  My husband had to make occasional trips to the Hesston area, which is about 30 miles from Wichita.  I've also had ties of sorts with a couple of other shooting locations, including Charleston, South Carolina.

My memory, whenever I hear this type of headline, heads to April 3, 2009, when 14 people (including the gunman) were shot dead at the American Civic Association, a few blocks from where I work in downtown Binghamton, New York.

These shootings are a routine in my country now.  The shooting.  The news coverage.  The people stunned: "it can't happen here".  The realization that it did happen there.  The funerals.  The finger pointing.  The political speeches.  The uptick in gun sales.

And then nothing changes.

The shooting happened before the Republican debate ended, but not once was it mentioned.  No surprise there, because we all know how the candidates would have reacted.

So today, I will tie on my snow sneakers, go to work, and wonder, while at my workplace, where it Will Never Happen Here next.


  1. For me, the realization that "it can happen here" came during Sandy Hook. i am from Long Island, I can look across the Sound and see Connecticut. The school, the students, everyone involved, they could easily have been my neighbors. But what put me over the top? The interfaith service the community held. The Rabbi who sang a memorial prayer... Before he became a rabbi, he was a cantor, he was employed at my synagogue, he had been one of my daughters' teachers when they were in Hebrew school. He could have been singing for our kids.

    The majority of Americans want better gun control. But we have a very vocal minority and a very powerful lobbyist organization. Until that changes, we are doomed

  2. As an indian, I know my opinion doesn't really count here but I find it ridiculous how the Republicans find any and every excuse to allow guns to be easily accessible. The freedom to bear arms may have been relevant once a century ago but in today's world, allowing anybody and everyone to walk on the roads carrying firearms that can kill random innocent people is just insane.

  3. Actually,the American response generally seems to be one of pride. That their ability to have guns makes them "more worthy" than the (always proclaimed) crazed one who shot up the people.
    Maybe they should study their criteria more carefully- and then allocate the ability to purchase ammunition. (You can have the right to guns, let's just make your ammunition purchases public and traceable.)

  4. It makes me glad I live in Australia when I read about all the shootings you guys have experienced lately. I think our gun laws make it harder for nutters to kill other people (hopefully).

  5. I can never get my head around how this happens time and again and people can still not want the laws to change. Freedom is very well, but not at this price. My brother runs an armoury here in India, Alana and there's a lot of paperwork that takes place before guns are sold. Yes, there are thugs and criminals who get around this, but the fact is there is legislation.

  6. I have run out of words to address these incidents. Our society seems to have become inured to them. They don't even necessarily make the headlines any more. And, as you say, if they ever come up in political debates, the responses are utterly predictable. Sad beyond words.

  7. I blogged about an active shooter in my workplace back in the 70s. It was unusual back then but now it seems we read about it every week.

  8. In a strange way, the right to own a gun and kill someone is the freedom of expression and the hallmark of a democracy. Isn't it? I can never understand how a civilised country with an educated population can still believe that guns cannot be controlled.

  9. I wish I knew how to stop these things. But the problem is deeply embedded. Then again, I could be wrong.

  10. The last time I was in Europe, I had a conversation with a very poised 10-year-old French girl. I asked her if she ever wanted to visit the U.S. She said that when she was younger, she very much wanted to go to Disney World. But now that she's older, she realizes it is not a safe country to visit.


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