I was in class the other day as we were preparing for the almighty state mandated history test and an interesting conversation took place as we talked about the 2nd Amendment (Right to bear arms).
Unknown student trying to get me off task: "Coach, so, if we didn't have guns, would that thing at Columbine happened?"
Me: "I think that some people are prone to violence, and so yeah, it probably still would've happened. Harris and Klebold would've gotten the guns somehow no matter if they were legal or not."
Same Student: "Coach, is that like the worst thing that ever happened in our country?"
Me: "Um, no."
SS: "What is the worst thing?"
Me: "Moving on, the 3rd Amendment...."
But, this student unwittingly gave me this week's First 5 list...even if it's really one that I'm not enjoying overly much.
FIRST 5 DARKEST MOMENTS of US HISTORY:
5. Columbine School Shooting, April 20, 1999. This moment in time changed the culture of the schools from a place of safety to just another part of society. When those kids starting shooting at their classmates, an era of fear began in the schools. Even now when I read accounts some ten years later I think, "Man, what a waste." Now, there are little kids with an inferiority complex and a need to 'be somebody' who choose to copy cat Harris and Klebold. It's simply disgusting.
4. Pearl Harbor, December 7th, 1941. "A date which will live in infamy." It was cowardly, it was pure murder...not an act of war. However, it was also a moment where the evil of the Japanese Empire's actions still didn't overshadow our own naivety. We should've been more aware, but we chose blissful existence to proactive vigilance. The one bright spot is this got us full board into perhaps the most necessary war in the last 150 years.
3. The Trail of Tears, beginning 1831. This is racism at it's finest. An area inhabited by Indians is wanted by the white man, so President Andrew Jackson bends down to the will of his constituency and his own prejudices and moves them forcefully. Some tribes fight with conventional weapons...the Cherokee fight the White Man's way...the sue and win. Jackson then ignores the ruling and thousands of Cherokee Indians are forced from their homes (yep..not tee pees) and are moved from the eastern states to an Indian area west of the Mississippi River. To break it down, we stole land, we broke our own rules of law, and then we made a people travel in horrid conditions a thousand miles and more. Sick.
2. The Institution of Slavery, From 1610?-1865. Since the first slave was brought to Jamestown in the early 1600's slavery was the perfect example of man's inhumanity to man. Africans were worked mercilessly, whipped, and sold from their families. The slave owners used cruelty, fear, and even the Bible to keep their charges in submission. "Doesn't it say obey your Master?" It took the deadliest war in American history to end this plague...and feelings still haven't died totally even 150 years later.
1. 9/11, September 11, 2001. Maybe the defining moment of this generation were an enemy chose to attack in a shocking and cowardly way. (Maybe it's just me, but any time you choose to kill women and children it's cowardly) The best part and worst part of America was on display as the nation's shock was evident. I'm not going to say all of the things that occurred during this time, but I will mention the Aggie and OSU game that year three weeks or so showcased a red white and blue stadium in memory of the event.
These five times show us at our worst...but, sometimes, it's when you hit bottom when the heroes come out. Hope the list this time makes you think a little bit about where we've come and maybe where we are going.