School Shooting Reminds Us Of How Much Our Aging Eyes Have Seen

It started with JFK and now Newtown

Maybe the reason your vision tends to go as you get older is because you have seen too much.

Sandy Hook may be the most horrific event on which our ever-aging eyes have focused, but we baby boomers have been bearing witness to the tragedy of gun violence all our lives.

For most of us it began on Nov. 22, 1963.

This is a Special Report: President Kennedy has been shot while riding in a motorcade in Dallas.

The shock, the sorrow, the memories remain: Jackie, the funeral on television, the horseless rider with the boots turned backward, little John-John's salute.

I want to say Martin Luther King, the civil rights leader who preached non-violence, was next. But between the assassinations of JFK and MLK in Memphis, in April of 1968, there were others, including Charles Whitman.

Whitman introduced us to the murder of innocents on a mass scale when he climbed up into a tower at the University of Texas with a rifle in August of 1966 and methodically, randomly, picked off people, killing 13 and wounding 32.

In the chronology, Bobby Kennedy, of course, followed Martin Luther, being gunned down just two months later. "Some men see thing as they are and say why. I dream things that never were and say why not."

George Wallace was next in line when an assassin's bullet failed to kill him in 1972, but left him paralyzed.

The violence continued, the victims not as high profile, and I confess to having only vague recollections of many of the incidents.

February 1983, 14 shot dead at a social club in Seattle.

July 1984, 21 shot and killed at a McDonald's in San Diego.

August, 1986, a postal employee shoots and kills 14 in Oklahoma.

October 1991, a gunman drives his pickup into a Texas cafeteria and executes 23.

The memory becomes more vivid in recent years, so much so that the carnage is now captured in shorthand: Connecticut Lottery, Columbine, the Amish school, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Hartford Beer Distributorship, Gabby Giffords, Aurora.

And now, Newtown.

Will our eyes eventually turn away? Will this unspeakable horror eventually become just another name on a list? Or will we see the light this time?

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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