We were living only 60km away when the Columbine High School massacre took place in Colorado, USA, 14 years ago. It was one of the world's most shocking school shooting sprees. Since then, more than a dozen shooting massacres have horrified the world, including those at Virginia Tech in 2007, Northern Illinois University in 2008, Albertville Secondary School in Winnenden, Germany, in 2009 and Utoya Island youth camp in Buskerud, Norway, in 2011.
Then in July last year a gunman armed with several weapons shot at a cinema audience in Aurora, Colorado, killing a dozen people. The crime scene was less than 2km from a place I had called home for four years and right behind the bus stop which I regularly used on school days.
In the aftermath of the movie-night shooting, gun control activists in the US went on the alert. Then, sadly, two months ago, we heard about an even more sickening incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, where 20 children aged between six and seven were among those shot dead by an intruder. My son has just turned eight, and I could understand how much pain the families of the victims had to go through.
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