There’s no reason for you to be aware of any of this. But Thursday is my birthday, so it’s something I’ve unfortunately come to know. It first became apparent about 20 years ago.
The few days every year between April 14th and 21st are the darkest days on the calendar. Evil people, every couple of years, for whatever reasons, do unspeakable things this week. Hundreds and hundreds of Americans have died previously on these few days. It’s like a gauntlet of hell. Tell me, why can’t you murderous lunatics keep it together around my birthday? Why must you continue turn it into a coast-to-coast wake? I’ve only been trying to have a bit of lighthearted fun here. But thanks to you, no doing.
• April 19th, 1993: The Waco siege ends.
50 days after an initial gun battle, FBI agents once again move on David Koresh’s Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. A fire results, consuming the building and the cult. 76 people die, including 25 children.
• April 19, 1995: The Oklahoma City bombing.
The Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City is blown up by a large truck bomb assembled by Timothy McVeigh. 168 people die, including 19 children age six or younger. 500 more are injured.
• April 20, 1999: The Columbine High School shootings.
Armed with 9mm weapons, shotguns and improvised bombs, Eric Harris and Dylan Kleebeold attack their classmates at Columbine High in Colorado, shooting 33 and killing 12. As police descend upon them, they committ suicide.
• April 16, 2007: The Virginia Tech massacre.
Armed with a 9mm and 400 rounds of hollow point ammunition, Seung Hui Cho marched from classroom to classroom at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Virginia, shooting 49 students, killing 35 of them. He later committed suicide. It remains the deadliest shooting in U.S. history.
• April 15, 2013: The Boston Marathon bombings.
Two bombs explode 12 seconds apart near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Patriot’s Day. Three are killed and 150 more are wounded, including several people who suffer amputations.
I wish I could lie to you about this fact: I lived in dread that something would happen this year. When nothing evil goes down for a couple years, the tension begins to creep up on me. I figured it would be the North Korea/April 15 thing, but it was far worse. And I’m not superstitious in the least, it’s just that the horrors have happened so many times in the past that I expect them to happen again. There’s something at work in the world beyond my ken, and that’s just the way it goes. For my part I’m guessing the crazy gets wound up over Winter, maybe with spiraling cabin fever. The sun comes out and, next thing you know, it’s another bloodstained shot to the gut.
If you expand the event field a bit, unfortunately, there are more:
• April 3, 2009: The Binghamton immigration center shootings.
Jiverly Wong barricades the back door of the American Civic Association of Binghamton, New York. Then he enters the front door and shoots virtually everybody he sees, killing 13 and wounding four, before killing himself.
• April 2, 2012: The Oikos University shootings.
One L. Goh orders nursing students at a Korean Christian college, Oikos University, to line up in front of the class. He shoots 10 of them with his .45 caliber handgun, killing seven.
And then there’s this: April 5th, 1994, Kurt Cobain commits suicide. He pulls his driver’s license from his wallet and stabs it into the dirt of a nearby flowerpot. Then he places the end of a 20 gauge shotgun in his mouth and pulls the trigger.
That one stayed with me for months. Why it is that nothing, incidentally, ever seems to happen between April fifth and fifteenth, you tell me. I’m only begging to get through the week without any more headlines. A cupcake and a fresh Coke would be nice also, thanks.
ADD: Sigh. April 17, 2013: West Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion.
• A fertilizer plant situated about 18 miles north of Waco, Texas, suffers a chronic fire that can not be extinguished before the nitrogenous chemicals ignite, sending the facility up like a small atomic bomb. A local television station, KWTX, reports — and I am pulling for New-York-Post quality journalism here — 60 to 70 people die in the explosion.
COME ON SUNDAY PUPPIES AND KITTIES.