Editorial: Pittsburgh, Parkland linked by tragedy
Load. Pull back. Take aim.
On Valentine’s Day, that scenario should be about Cupid loosing arrows, inspiring love and leading to bouquets of roses and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate.
It should not be about high school kids lying dead in pools of their own blood in hallways where minutes before they were worrying about math tests and term papers. Not on Valentine’s Day. Not on any day.
But one year ago, that was what happened in Parkland, Fla.
A year ago, a disturbed young man brought an AR-15 to Margery Stoneman Douglas High School and sprayed the halls with bullets and anger. The Florida community’s Valentine’s Day was all broken hearts and shattered lives.
And what have we learned in the year that followed?
We have learned…nothing. We certainly didn’t learn love.
The tide of violent death that has become an arrhythmic heartbeat of American life settled into its erratic pattern. Support, calls for change, opposition, escalating tensions, repeat until a code blue occurs when more blood is spilled.
In March, five dead at a Napa Valley veterans home. In April, four killed and two wounded at a Nashville Waffle House. In May, the second deadliest school shooting of 2018 at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, left 10 dead and 13 wounded. In June, five killed and two wounded in an attack on the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Md. In July, three dead and seven wounded when bullets sprayed the area outside a daiquiri shop in New Orleans.
In August, a video game competition in Jacksonville, Fla., saw three dead and 11 wounded. In September, four were killed and three injured at a skyscraper in Cincinnati and two weeks later another four were killed and three hurt at a Rite Aid distribution center in Aberdeen, Md.
On Oct. 24, two died in a Kentucky grocery store after the gunman couldn’t get into an African-American church.
Three days later, Pittsburgh was struck when 11 were killed and six wounded at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill.
In November it was three dead, five wounded at a Tallahassee yoga studio, then 13 dead and more than a dozen hurt at a California bar, then four dead in a shooting at a Chicago hospital.
The rising and falling body counts and the stuttering intervals are a tragic kind of EKG that connects Pittsburgh to Parkland. It traces not just the spikes of violence and death, but the flatlines between where nothing changed despite blips of attempt.
There is no excuse for not finding a way to safeguard the people we love.