With this year being the tenth anniversary of the attacks on September 11, it’s a time of reflection on the lives that were stolen, sacrificed and stirred. Natural disasters such as Haiti’s earthquake or Hurricane Katrina make you consider how terrible this world can be at times. Then hearing about tragedies such as 9/11 make it difficult to wrap your head around the reality that these attacks were led by people and most incomprehensibly, that they were controlled disasters. The attacks in New York and D.C. took nearly 3,000 lives and impacted 300 million. Remembering the trepidation this nation felt during the fearful hours of 2001, I’ve compiled a list of concocted cruelties that have struck around the world in the last two decades. Growing up in an age where a nation as strong as ours has dealt with its share of adversities, it’ll be forever embedded in my memory the day our young little minds in my 5th grade science class were given the news, and subsequent fear, of the Columbine shootings or being in gym class in 8th grade trying to understand that the planes flown into the twin towers were in fact not an accident. As you read about these chilling and sometimes gruesome acts, use it as motivation to eliminate the dispensable hatred in this world.
Oklahoma City Bombing – 4/19/95
168 deaths, 680 wounded, 2 perpetrators
A terrorist bomb attack struck Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The blast destroyed 324 buildings in a 16-block radius. Timothy McVeigh was convicted of detonating the bomb and was executed in June of 2001. Co-conspirator Terry Nichols was sentenced life in prison without parole.
Dunblane Massacre – 3/13/96
17 Deaths, 1 Perpetrator
Thomas Hamilton stormed into Dunblane Primary School armed and killed 16 small children and one teacher. This event led to the banning of handguns in the UK.
Columbine High School Shooting – 4/20/99
13 Deaths, 24 Injured, 2 Perpetrators
Eric Harris and Dylan Kleobold shot and killed 12 students and one teacher before shooting themselves at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo.
Beslan School Hostage Crisis – 9/1/04
386 deaths, 700 injured
Pro-Chcehen armed rebels Riyadus-Salikhin, sent by the Chechen separatist warlord Shamil Basayev took 1200 school children and adults hostage at School Number One in the town of Beslan, North Ossetia. On the third day of the stand-off, gunfire and explosions took the lives of over 350 children, adults and armed forces.
London Bombings – 7/7/05
52 deaths, 770 injured, 4 bombers
Four suicide bombers – Shezad Tanweer, Germaine Lindsay, Mohammed Siddique Khan, Hasib Hussain – struck London underground trains and a double-decker bus during the Thursday morning rush hour.
Virginia Tech Massacre – 4/16/07
32 deaths, 25 wounded, 1 perpetrator
Seung-Hui Cho attacked the Virginia Tech campus twice, about two hours apart, killing 32 people before taking his own life. This remains the deadliest school shooting in US history.
Westroads Mall Shooting – 12/5/07
9 deaths, 4 wounded, 1 perpetrator
19-year-old Robert A. Hawkins shot and killed eight people and wouldned four before taking his own life at Westroads Mall in Omaha, Neb.
Maguindanao massacre – 11/23/09
A group of gunmen and policemen led by Andal Ampatuan Jr., mayor of Datu Unsay, killed at least 57 civilians, which included 31 journalists in the southern province of Maguindano. The victims were traveling to Maguindano to file a certificate of candidacy for gubernatorial candidate and local mayor Esmael Mangudadtu, who was challenging Ampatuan in the election. The convoy was intercepted by 100 gunmen at a roadside checkpoint. The CPJ has called the Maguindanao massacre the single deadliest event for journalists in history.
On July 11 a series of seven bombs went off over the course of 11 minutes on the Suburban Railway in Mumbai, India. 209 people were killed while over 700 were injured.
2008: 172 deaths
A combination of shootings and bombings began on Wednesday, Nov., 26 and lasted until Saturday, Nov., 29, killing 164 people and wounding at least 308. Attacks occurred at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower,Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital (a women and children’s hospital),the Nariman House Jewish community center, the Metro Cinema,and a lane behind the Times of India building and St. Xavier’s College. There was also an explosion at Mazagaon, in Mumbai’s port area, and in a taxi at Vile Parle.
2011: 26 deaths
A series of three coordinated bomb explosions at different locations in Mumbai on July 13.The bombings occurred at the Opera House, Zaveri Bazaar, and Dadar West localities, killing 26 people and injuring over 130.
Tuscon Shooting – 1/8/11
6 deaths, 19 shot, 1 alleged perpetrator
Alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner opened fire during an open meeting US Representative Gabrielle Giffords was holding with members of her constituency in a supermarket parking lot in Tuscon, Ariz. Reportedly, the target of the shooting was Rep Giffords, who took a bullet through her head. Loughner was arrested at the scene and five charges have been filed against him, including two carrying the possibility of the death penalty.