Fifteen years ago yesterday, two students walked into Columbine High School out of Denver and shot 13 people to death.
It took the Newtown, Conn., school shooting to stir the country the way Columbine did. School shootings haven’t become routine by any stretch, but they’ve slipped into the regular news cycle as any other news story. It has, Mother Jones’ Ben Dreyfuss writes, become another element of society we don’t think can ever change.
Nothing changed after 13 people were killed at Columbine, or 33 at Virginia Tech, or 26 at Sandy hook. Each of those tragedies came with the same breaking news coverage as Columbine, but none generated the same sense of action because fewer and fewer people actually believed things could change.
The last 15 years have been a lesson in how “never again” can be cowed into “I need a drink.”
And that’s insane. It’s an insane thing to have to accept that problem as an inevitability. It’s an insane reality to have to shrug off.