On Sunday, July 4, 1999, I emerged from the church service to find police cars rushing to the synagogue next door. It mystified most people in the congregation, as this was far from a common thing on Sunday morning. Only later did we find out that Won Joon Yoon, a student at Indiana University, had been shot and killed at the Korean Methodist Church only a few blocks away while we were taking communion.

This was not an isolated incident; it was one of a string of insane murders plaguing our nation. Here, I would like to pay tribute to those who have died because of the madness of hate and in school shootings. You will notice that the majority of the events listed are school shootings; however, I feel that the other incidents also deserve recognition. If you know of something that should be included in this list that I missed, please e-mail me. (If no statistics are listed for an incident, it means that I do not have those statistics. Please feel free to inform me of those as well.)

2/19/97--Bethel, Alaska. School shooting. Two dead; two wounded.
10/1/97--Pearl, Mississippi. School shooting. Two dead; seven wounded.
12/1/97--West Paducah, Kentucky. School shooting. Three dead; five wounded.
3/24/98--Jonesboro, Arkansas. School shooting; ambush. Five dead; ten wounded.
4/28/98--Ponoma, California. School shooting. Two dead; one wounded.
5/19/98--Fayetteville, Tennessee. School shooting.
5/21/98--Springfield, Oregon. School shooting. Two dead.
5/21/98--St. Charles, Missouri. School shooting.
4/20/99--Littleton, Colorado. Columbine High School rampage. Fifteen dead, including the two gunmen; twenty-eight hospitalied.
5/20/99--Atlanta, Georgia. Heritage High School shooting. None killed; six wounded.
7/3-4/99--Chicago, Skokie, Northbrook, Springfield, Decatur, and Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, and Bloomington, Indiana. Benjamin Smith's white-supremacist rampage. Three dead including Smith; nine wounded.
7/29/99--Atlanta, Georgia. Day trader shoots his family, then goes on a shooting spree at two offices. Thirteen dead including the gunman.
8/10/99--Los Angeles, California. North Valley Jewish Community Center daycare is fired on. None dead thus far; five wounded, of which three are young children and one is a teenager.
9/15/99--Fort Worth, Texas. Wedgewood Baptist Church. Eight dead including the gunman; seven wounded, three critically.

By my count, that's at least fifty-five people dead needlessly, eighty more wounded just as needlessly, and untold numbers of people who will bear the scars for the rest of their lives because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It saddens me that even children in daycares and teens going to church are vulnerable to this. It was bad enough when we began to feel uneasy about sending children to school; it was bad enough when certain minorities in Bloomington had to stay home and deny themselves and their children the fun of the usual Fourth of July activities. The line has been crossed now--the old safe havens are no longer safe. Why do people feel the need to go to these lengths? Why can't we all just live in peace? Why do we have to kill children? I have no more answer to those questions than I have solution to this problem. All I know is that somehow, we have to do something. Show these people that we will not allow them to kill our children, our future, our happiness. Religious freedom in America as I understand it does not include the freedom to kill others in order to advance the dominance of your belief. For the sake of our future, for the sake of the nation, we must not allow this to continue. Speak out. Let your voice be heard.

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