Boston Massacre Misnamed Today

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The Boston Massacre Misnamed Today

On March 5, 1770, eight British soldiers fired into a crowd of civilians and the result was The Boston Massacre.

What a quaint use of the word “massacre.” With flintlock muskets of the 19th century, the tally was: three dead and two mortally wounded.

On Oct. 1, 2017, one man with an armload of 21st-century assault rifles and here is what a massacre has become:

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Dead. Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded. Dead. Wounded.

Wounded wounded. Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded. Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

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Wounded wounded wounded. Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Dead. wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

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Wounded. Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded. Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded. Dead.

Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Dead. Wounded. Wounded. Dead. Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded. Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Wounded. Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

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Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Wounded wounded wounded. Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Wounded wounded. Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

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Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded. Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded. Dead.

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Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Wounded. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Wounded Dead. Wounded Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded

Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded. Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Dead. Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Dead. Dead. Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded. Dead.

Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded.

Dead. Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded. Dead.

Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded. Dead. Wounded. Dead.

Wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded wounded. Dead. Dead. Dead. Dead.

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If this—59 dead, 527 wounded, by one civilian—is what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment, they were idiots.

I do not believe our Founding Fathers were idiots.

I believe we Americans are.

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Woody Woodburn writes a weekly column for The Ventura County Star and can be contacted at WoodyWriter@gmail.com.

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Column: Isla Vista, Anytown USA

Idyllic Isla Vista could be Anytown USA

 

Had someone asked me a week ago which university I thought would be least likely to suffer a mass shooting, I believe I would have answered, “UC Santa Barbara.”

 

I mean, how could such terror happen at my alma mater? How could laid-back Isla Vista, where I lived for two idyllic years, be the latest grieving site?

 

Which is exactly the point, I think. The next such rampage – and sadly there will be a next one and a next – can happen Anywhere USA.

The Faces We Should Remember: Top row from left to right: Weihan Wang, George Chen, Cheng Yuan Hong. Bottom row from left to right: Christopher Michaels-Martinez, Katie Cooper, Veronika Weiss.

The Faces To Remember:
Top row from left to right: Weihan Wang, George Chen, Cheng Yuan Hong. Bottom row from left to right: Christopher Michaels-Martinez, Katie Cooper, Veronika Weiss.

 

Virginia Tech students and alumni didn’t think it could happen there. Columbine High. Sandy Hook Elementary. Themovie theater in Colorado. The supermarket parking lot in Tucson. Fill-in-the-blank where mass shootings have happened in America. Throw a dart at a map where the next one might.

 

Three decades removed from my days at UCSB, but with sons and daughters of friends attending there now, the shooting (and three fatal stabbings) has resonated with me more deeply than others. Such is the power of familiarity, I suppose. Places in Isla Vista where I laughed with friends and courted my wife now come in to my focus as among the 10 crime scenes.

 

I cannot imagine the lasting heartache and mental scars for those who were there that tragic night.

 

Nor can I imagine the courage shown by one male UCSB student I saw interviewed on TV the day after. I want to call him a boy, but in truth he is a young man who had just witnessed war at the front line.

 

He saw three young women get shot, raced to their fallen bodies, and instantly knew two were dead. He turned his attention to the third woman, bleeding as she phoned her mom to say “I love you” in fear they might be her last words, and stayed by her side until paramedics arrived. She survived.

 

The young hero’s calm but graphic retelling turned the unfathomable horror into knowable faces – those of the two young women lost, the one who survived, and his own face filled with grief.

 

Faces. Veronika Weiss, a 19-year-old from Westlake High School in Thousand Oaks, was one of the two women murdered. Hers was a face of girl-next-door prettiness; a face of straight-A’s and athletic accomplishment; a face of kindness according to all who knew her.

 

            Faces. Christopher Martinez, the gray-bearded father of 19-year-old victim Christopher, who at the war scene afterward delivered a Gettysburg Address for its brevity and impassioned emotion:

 

“I talked to him about 45 minutes before he died. Our family has a message for every parent out there: You don’t think it’ll happen to your child until it does. Chris was a really great kid. Ask anyone who knew him. His death has left our family lost and broken.

 

“Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris’ right to live? When will this insanity stop?

 

“When will enough people say, ‘Stop this madness!’ We do not have to live like this. Too many people have died. We should say to ourselves, ‘not one more!’ ”

 

Faces. An overlooked tragedy is that “the madman” – as one witness called the shooter – has become The Face of this rampage. I will not mention his name for it is best forgotten. It is the victims who should be remembered – Weiss, Martinez, Katie Cooper, George Chen, James Cheng, David Wang.

 

It angers me that the videos “the madman” posted online before his killing spree are played over and over and over on TV. This is exactly what he wanted, to become famous – or infamous. Hence in death he achieves his life’s twisted goal.

 

            There is great debate on the influence of violence and misogyny in video games, advertising and movies, and rightly so. But what about the influence on mentally ill minds that watch a lunatic’s evil rants elevate him to worldwide TV celebrity, so to speak?

 

            It is impossibly lofty, but I wish henceforth the media would give only 1 percent of its focus on the perpetrators and 99 percent to the faces worth remembering.

 

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Woody Woodburn writes a weekly column for The Ventura County Star and can be contacted at WoodyWriter@gmail.com.

 

Check out my new memoir WOODEN & ME: Life Lessons from My Two-Decade Friendship with the Legendary Coach and Humanitarian to Help “Make Each Day Your Masterpiece”