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The LIRR massacre at 20

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I was a a pre-teen growing up in New York City in 1993, but for me the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) massacre was my first exposure to the targeting of innocent civilians in a mass shooting.  From that point onward this incident helped to galvanize a nascent gun control movement in New York.

Carolyn McCarthy the wife of one of the victims of the LIRR shooting, became a fierce advocate for gun control and won election to the U.S. House in 1996.

During that era in the 90′s the fight was also taken up by then congressman Charles Schumer and later both Schumer and McCarthy would work together in Congress on the issue. I should also mention that there was also a federal ban on assault weapons that was passed in 1994 (Bush let it expire in 2004) and I’m sure an incident like the LIRR shooting influenced this legislation’s creation.

Every year the victims commemorate this horrible incident in Long Island:

In a poignant annual ritual, the women, who lost their husbands during the Long Island Rail Road mass shooting 20 years ago Saturday, hung the ornaments and bouquet of flowers on the sign on the station’s eastbound side.

“We want to remind people what happened here,” said McCarthy, who became a congresswoman after her husband, Dennis McCarthy, was killed and her son Kevin McCarthy was severely injured in the shooting.

We’re also closing in on the one year anniversary of the shooting in Newtown, CT which occurred on December 14th. This year we also commemorated shootings that happened in Tucson, AZ (2 year anniversary) and the one year anniversary of the Aurora, CO shooting. I guess what I’m getting at is the reality, that even after 20 years, fighting the gun lobby and its handmaiden the National Rifle Association remains an uphill battle.

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