Mass shootings are all too common in our day and age. America’s marriage to firearms, while constitutionally protected, has come with a high bride price. Take, for instance, the mass shooting that occurred in Los Angeles in 1968.
Most news organizations and statisticians classify a mass shooting as one that involves five or more people “with no cooling off period” between the shots. Thus, the shooting in question here fits that category. Six people were shot; one of the six died of his wounds the next day. Those shot were named Bill, Irwin, Bob, Paul, Liz, and Ira.
We don’t really remember these people. Why should we? At this point, with the hundreds of mass shootings since (and, arguably before), they are simply statistics and not really individuals whose lives–and the lives of their loved ones–were irrevocably changed by the shooting that morning. We simply sigh and send thoughts and prayers–and wait for the next fusillade of bullets and news bulletins.
But, yes; lives that were irrevocably and forever changed. And, if it doesn’t directly affect us, we, the American public, by and large, we don’t really care about these shootings, truth be told. As long as the mass shooting doesn’t keep us as Americans from going to Wal-Mart and buying more stuff, then we usually ignore the statistics and the body count.
The numbers, the changed lives, the victims and even those who pull the triggers–if any action is taken regarding these people, it is almost an afterthought. It’s never pro-active. It’s almost always reactive. And that, in its own way, is almost a violent act perpetrated on our American society itself.
Oh, the shooter? He was a young, disaffected man in his mid-20s, a real loner. It’s become a cliche, a one-size-fits-all profile, hasn’t it?
Six people shot. One dead. 1968. Los Angeles.
The perpetrator used an 8-shot .22 revolver, which was quite an unusual gun for a mass shooting. He managed to shoot the six people at close-range because they were in a small passageway when he opened fire.
Bob received three of the bullets. He was the one who died.
You see, your life changed because of this mass shooting, and you probably don’t even know it. You might start to realize it when you realize that the shooter was named Sirhan Sirhan, and the deceased was Bobby Kennedy.