Credit: Vasyl/Adobe Stock

I was two months shy of my 4th birthday when Sylvia Seegrist opened fire at the mall near my house killing three people, including a 2-year-old boy, and wounding many others. A year later, Patrick Sherrill would kill 14 and injure more when he entered the Edmond, Oklahoma post office where he worked—an act which ultimately coined the ubiquitous phrase of “going postal.”

Those are just distant thoughts that I can now only recall through reading newspaper articles. But my first real memory of feeling the impact of a mass shooting wouldn’t come until my senior year of high school. On that fateful day in April 1999, the country stood still as news of the tragedy that had taken place at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado made its way into millions of homes in the United States and beyond. Outrage, anger and utter grief was felt by many with pushes for gun reform and school safety.

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