I wrote the following in response to the Arapahoe High School shooting back in December of 2013. However, after reading the details of the recent shooting at the movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, it seemed fitting to repost.

These kinds of things will keep happening until we actively decide we don’t want to be the only advanced nation where these kinds of things keep happening.


Hundreds of students fled in terror and many others huddled in the corners of locked-down classrooms on Friday after a gunman opened fire at Arapahoe High School.”

When you read the above opening sentence from the Denver Post’s now-headline story about a shooting in Centennial, Colorado that left one person on the verge of death and another gravely injured, what did you feel?


Unless you’re the parent of an Arapahoe Warrior, probably not.

Uncontrollable hatred? Inconsolable sadness?

Probably not those either.

We’ve read that lede too often too recently for it to pierce us the way the reporting of the Colombine shooting did in 1999. In just 15 years, we’ve gone from asking, ‘How could this possibly happen?’ to ‘How long until this happens again?’; having pointed the finger at everyone and everything from Marilyn Manson to violent video games along the way. And all the while, these “shattering,” “unfathomable,” “purely evil” acts continue to happen to the point of numbing absurdity.

Somehow, graphic retellings of children being murdered have the same media shelf life as the latest irrelevant gaffe made by a politician.

But that is where we’re at now.

When I tell you a gunman shot two people at Arapahoe High School eight miles east of that same Colombine High School and at least one of them is a student who is in critical condition, you’re going to sigh heavily. A little piece of your heart might calcify a bit. You’ll wonder about the shooter, hoping facts will help alleviate the impotent frustration you’re feeling. And when you hear his body was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, you won’t know whether that makes it better or worse.

You’ll spend the next few hours, maybe the next few days, learning more and more details that, in the long run, won’t really matter much. You’ll see the useless Facebook status updates from friends and family echoing how much of a tragedy this is. You’ll read articles that’ll have to mention tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the Newton, Connecticut shooting, or that this took place a stone’s throw away from the most infamous school shooting in U.S. history.

You’ll understand this a part of our national conscience now, while simultaneously recognizing it won’t be a part of our national conversation much longer.