April 3, 2009
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Friday’s shootings in Binghamton, N.Y., mark yet another bloody event in a long string of tragic April days in America.

Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. were both killed in April. The Oklahoma City bombing, the end of the Waco Siege and the shootings at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech also took place in April.

Associated Content wrote that “April has historically been a whole month of assassination, mass murder and mayhem.”

Associated Content said:

“The seige on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, ended on April 19, 1993 resulting in the deaths of 76, 21 of whom were children. Timothy McVeigh reportedly visited Waco during the standoff and claimed revenge for what the U.S. government did there was part of his motivation for the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building April 19, 1995, still the deadliest incidence of domestic terrorism in U.S. history.

“Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold wrote in journal entries how they would like to outdo events such as Waco and the Oklahoma City bombing. It has been speculated that they intended to carry out their school shooting on April 19, but it was on the 20th, 1999 that they committed the Columbine massacre.

“The Virginia Tech massacre, the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, took place April 16, 2007. In his manifesto, Seung-Hui Cho referred to ‘martyrs like Eric and Dylan.'”

But why April? The Columbus Dispatch wrote in 2007:

“Some experts say that April is a time of change that can trigger a disturbed mind to act out. The sudden increase in light this time of year can drive people with certain mental illnesses to manic behavior, some said.

“‘People in depressed affect, when they are at the bottom of their mood, they can’t function well enough to do anything, even plan a suicide,’ said Randy Nelson, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Ohio State University.

“Spring, like medication, can bring them out of the winter’s depression.

“‘They’ve had bad thoughts for a long time and being affected by the seasonal change could make them do something,’ he said.

“For college students, final exams and deadlines can push stress levels to dangerous levels in April. For those in high school, the approaching end of the school year can be the catalyst for a student to act on festering emotions.”

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Al Tompkins is one of America's most requested broadcast journalism and multimedia teachers and coaches. After nearly 30 years working as a reporter, photojournalist, producer,…
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