I was distressed when I read that fireman Roni de Macedo, who responded to a shooting at the Tasso da Silveira school in Rio de Janeiro last month that left 12 elementary school children dead, was quoted as saying, "I've never seen anything like this. It's like something in the United States."
I was sad not only because 12 Brazilian kids were lined up against a wall and shot at close range, but also because the world thinks of my country when these despicable acts occur.
Regular “What’s the Diehl?” readers know that four of my five children are preteens who ride the bus to public school each morning. What you might not know is that most days, as I’m kissing them goodbye, I have to push the scary thought out of my head that I might not see them again.
- In September of 2004, terrorists took more than 1,000 people hostage at School Number One in Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia. At least 334 were killed, including 186 innocent little boys and girls, probably all dressed up and excited about their first day of school. Hundreds more were injured and reported missing.
- In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in October of 2006, an Amish one-room schoolhouse was taken over by a gunman who shot ten little girls, killing five, before committing suicide.
- Fifteen people, including nine students, lost their lives when a 17-year-old opened fire at a secondary school and car dealership in southwestern Germany in March of 2009.
- Back in June of 2001, a former janitor entered the Ikeda Elementary School in Osaka Prefecture, Japan, and started stabbing anyone he saw, killing eight seven- and eight-year-olds and seriously wounding 13 other children and two teachers.
- Who can forget Colorado’s Columbine attack in April of 1999 and the Virginia Tech massacre in April of 2007? Twelve students and a teacher died at the hands of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold before they turned their weapons on themselves; 32 people lost their lives and many others were wounded before the Virginia gunman, Seung-Hui Cho, committed suicide.
- Nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green was among six people murdered this past January in Tucson, Arizona, during a public event hosted by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head and is expected to recover.
- I wrote before about nine-year-old Brisenia Flores of Arivaca, Arizona, who was shot in the face twice as she begged for her life.
I was planning to collect gun fatality statistics and compare mortality rates by country and research the solutions being proposed and share the experts’ commentary about cause and effect but I can’t. I need to go hug my six-year-old.