For the moment, the murderous spree at Virginia Tech University has virtually eclipsed all other news. The headlines scream, as if echoing the screams of those victimized by this incomprehensible tragedy. As the details continue to emerge, many questions are being asked. How could this have happened? How could one person have inflicted so much harm? What would possess someone to commit such atrocities? What went wrong? What triggered this rampage? Could anything have been done to prevent or limit the unparalleled scope of this tragedy? Why did this happen? WHY?
Some answers will be found. Others will linger and then dissipate, like the acrid smell of gunpowder. Before long, other calamities and horrors will demand attention. Some of these will be mildly reminiscent of the Virginia Tech slayings. It is worth noting that firearms account for nearly 30,000 deaths annually in the United States. In 2004, the last year for which statistics are available (per the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control), 11,624 Americans were shot and killed by someone. Ironically, that averages out to roughly 32 a day. Yesterday, there were other homicides in addition to the 32 at Virginia Tech. The victims of these less noticed but no less notable tragedies also leave family and friends behind. They will also be mourned and missed. Their deaths also raise questions and demand answers. Thus, in fairness, here is a sampling of news items you may have missed:
â€¢ Teen Blown Away at B’klyn Eatery (Brooklyn, New York)
â€¢ Kroger employee fatally shot (Indianapolis, Indiana)
â€¢ Elderly woman found shot dead on porch in apparent murder-suicide (Sugarcreek Township, Ohio)
â€¢ Man celebrating birthday shot to death (Dallas, Texas)
â€¢ Double Shooting Leaves 1 Dead In Arlington (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
â€¢ Man shot to death in Gaffney apartment (Gaffney, South Carolina)
â€¢ Man shot, killed Monday afternoon (Flint, Michigan)
â€¢ Man fatally shot in South Richmond (Richmond, Virginia)
If you are outraged by the unrelenting gun violence that plagues this nation, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has an electronic petition that you may sign here.