I remember the day of the Columbine shooting.
It was a warm spring day during my senior year of high school. The news reported the shooting and I remember thinking that it didn’t happen at my high school.
By the time the closing credits of the evening news rolled, 13 people, twelve students and one teacher were dead.
Thirteen years later, another school shooting broke our hearts. At Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, 26 innocents were murdered.
In the nearly 3 years since Sandy Hook, 87 people have been killed by guns in school.
The latest round of gun violence was in Louisiana this past week. John Houser, a man with a criminal record and a history of mental instability, killed two women in a movie theater and injured many others.
I respect the second amendment and what it represents. However, two important points must be made.
- The guns that existed during the American revolution are nothing compared to the firepower of today’s guns.
- This right was created to allow Americans to defend themselves against the then British oppressors, not to randomly kill innocent civilians.
We need common sense legislation on this issue. While respecting the rights of those who legally own guns, we must take control of our country. We must also confront our lax reaction to mental illness.
We have grieved too many times over lives lost due to gun violence. It’s time to end the grief and put laws into place that will prevent future tragedies.
March 25th, 1911 is the day that forever changed the American work force.
It started as a warm spring day. That morning, the employees of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory made their way to work as they did everyday. By nightfall 146 of them were dead.
The majority of the victims were women, between the ages of 16-25. They were Jewish and Italian immigrants, working for very little pay and working without the benefits that many of us take for granted today.
David von Drehle’s 2003 memoir, Triangle: The Fire That Changed America personalizes the story. He starts several years before with previous strikes by employees seeking better pay and improved safety standards. The chapters that take the readers through the fire and providing details in the lives of those who lived and didn’t live are climactic and heartbreaking. The final chapters go through the trials where the owners were accused of manslaughter and the lives of the owners after the fire.
I’ve owned this book for a few years, no matter how many times I read it, I have to have box of Kleenex nearby. It’s absolutely heartbreaking. The details of the fire and how many of the victims died is so vivid. The reader can feel the heartbreak of the families who are lining up to identify their loves ones. Many of the victims were burned so badly that their families could not identify them.
One of the reasons that I enjoy this book is that it connects me to my roots. My ancestors, like many immigrants who came to America from Eastern Europe in the early 1900’s and worked in factories like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. They led strikes for better pay and better working conditions. They are long gone, but it’s as if I am getting to know them and the world they knew.
I highly recommend this book and make sure you have a box of Kleenex handy.