A Sad History Continues to Repeat Itself
Exactly 10 years prior to the day of the recent shooting rampage that left 17 people dead at a high school in Parkland, Florida, a similar attack occurred at Northern Illinois University on Feb. 14, 2008. Five students were killed, four of whom lived in the western suburbs. Do you remember?
Sadly, all too few people do. We tend to have a short memory, especially when it comes to the tragic consequences of our totally unconscionable failure to put common sense limits on access to guns, especially semi-automatic weapons. A year prior to the NIU shootings, 32 people were killed in a mass shooting at Virginia Tech University. Nine years earlier, 12 students and a teacher were gunned down at Columbine High School in Colorado. Less than six years ago, it was 20 first graders and six staff members killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. In between and since, there have been a myriad of other mass shootings, not just at schools, but in public places across the country.
Putting reasonable restrictions in place on access to automatic weapons is not about politics. It is about common sense. It is about public safety. It is about doing everything we can to avoid another shooting like the one that just occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida — and the one at Northern Illinois University a decade ago.
For regular readers of this column, the above is a significant departure from my normal ramblings, which usually tie in more directly to the content of the magazine. I made a conscious exception in this case because I feel so strongly that we can simply no longer maintain the status quo in this country when it comes to access to guns. We owe it to the victims and their families to demand constructive changes in our gun laws, and we owe it to our kids to assure their future safety.
On a decidedly lighter note, this issue contains the results of our annual Best of the West reader poll (page 36). After a trial run last year, it is the first time that we fully integrated online voting into our results. As anticipated, the ease of digital voting facilitated more efforts at ballot box stuffing. But it also helped elicit hundreds more votes, which broadened the breadth and depth of our results.
We hope you enjoy perusing the lists of top finishers in more than 80 categories and that you find the information both fun and useful. For those of you who voted, a sincere thank you. And for those who didn’t, you are encouraged to share your local favorites with us next year.
As always, we hope you enjoy this issue, and thanks for being a reader!Edit Module