From Orlando to Nice: One month of madness
Has our world come off its wheels?
On Sunday, June 12, we awoke to news of a massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando when a gunman walked into the club's Latin night armed with a semiautomatic and a handgun and began spraying bullets across the dance floor. Forty-nine people would die and more than 50 would be injured.
Dramatic video showed terrified clubgoers huddled inside bathroom stalls hiding from the gunman, who would periodically text and post on Facebook during the three-hour reign of terror.
Orlando became the worst mass shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history, something so horrific that we knew it would take weeks and months to process and heal.
But tremors from Orlando had barely subsided when another scene of carnage raced across screens from one of the world’s busiest airports about two weeks later. Three terrorists armed with bombs and guns killed 41 people and injured more than 100 in an assault at Istanbul Ataturk Airport in Turkey.
Videos from inside the airport were unnerving: People tearing across the terminals in panic; victims staggering and falling on to a blood-soaked floor.
A week later our world was rocked again. This time by a cellphone video of a white police officer raising his gun and firing into the chest of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, La.
One day later, another shocking video was broadcast on Facebook Live: The girlfriend of Philando Castile, a beloved cafeteria worker, calmly explains how her boyfriend was just shot by a police officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minn. Castile lies slumped next to her in a bloodied shirt, moaning, as a cop’s gun glistens outside the window of the car.
The shocking stretch was not done yet. The next night we watched as a sniper in Dallas sent ripples of panic through a crowd peacefully protesting police brutality. Videos showed the gunman sheltering behind a building column at El Centro College, then firing on officers point blank. Five cops were killed; 11 other people were injured.
It would be the deadliest day for law enforcement since 9/11.
And now we have Nice, where a festive celebration of Bastille Day along the banks of the French Riviera turned into a bloodbath when a man in a truck drove through the crowd along a promenade, killing 84 and injuring hundreds.
What can we say about a world in which its atrocities are broadcast up close and personal at rapid-fire speed? We barely have time to register one tragedy when another one dripping in all its horror smacks us head-on.