The third week of April has seen some horrible events in the United States in the last 20 years. Perhaps this is an odd coincidence, or perhaps there’s more to it. I can’t begin to understand why this particular week seems to bring on such horrible events. But the week itself is enough for me as a news viewer and history buff to wonder if that time of year will bring on some other terrible event. Here is a look at some of the tragic man made events during that time frame in the United States since 1990.
April 19th, 1993 – The Siege at Waco
For over ten years leading up to the events of April 19th, 1993, David Koresh had claimed himself a prophet. By the 1990’s, Koresh was the leader of the Branch Davidians, an extreme religious group that was broken off from Protestantism. Koresh proclaimed himself as a Christ figure, and was accused by the government and former members of engaging of activities ranging from polygamy and rape to involvement in munitions. The government began raiding the compound on February 28th, 1993. After more than 50 days, a final assault by the FBI and other government agencies ends with a fire that kills over 75 people, including David Koresh himself, as well as many women and children. Many controversies and legal battles over what happened have ensued, with many theories still prevailing.
April 19th, 1995 – The Oklahoma City Bombing
This tragedy involving the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people, including children, and injured over 680 more. Timothy McVeigh, a former Army vet who had become involved in militia support, was responsible for the bombing, along with a co-conspirator in Terry Nichols. McVeigh was a known supporter of the Koresh cause two years earlier, and was angry at the government for the events that transpired. According to his trial, McVeigh had desired to seek revenge against those responsible for the Waco incident, including individual assassinations. McVeigh wound up the key player in the tragedy in Oklahoma City, and was later executed. Nichols is serving a life sentence.
April 20th, 1999 – The Columbine Massacre
This was the deadliest school massacre since the University of Texas shootings 33 years earlier. Two students entered their high school and killed 13 people (12 students, 1 teacher) before ending their own lives. They also injured many more than that. The tragedy, occurring in a nice Denver suburb, incited a huge national media following. The two students responsible for the massacre left detailed journals that referenced both Waco and Oklahoma City, as well as plans to blow up the school. Many other theories about the social problems of the two students came out, as well as many blaming music and movies for the tragic event.
April 16th, 2007 – The Virginia Tech Massacre
This is the single deadliest single person spree killing in American history. Seung-Hui Cho, a Virginia Tech student, killed 32 people and then killed himself during the incident. Many others were injured. Several teachers and therapists had warned Cho of a mental illness. Cho had sent a manifesto to police, that included him referencing other spree killing tragedies, including the one at Columbine High School. Following the tragedy, a huge debate developed over someone with Cho’s background being able to obtain handguns as easily as he did.
Many tragic events have occurred over the years in our country, and all over the world. It is interesting that four of the more famous tragedies caused by man have occurred in such a small time frame. All anyone can hope for is that such a trend doesn’t continue, in April or any other month.