Brief asides


POSTED: Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Time passes, but painful memories remain

For many who remember the news events as they happened, this time of April marks a trio of national tragedies.

April 20 marks the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, in which two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, went on a shooting spree in 1999. They killed 12 students and one teacher, and injured 21 other students, before committing suicide. The incident sparked debate on U.S. gun control laws, youth violence, high school cliques and bullying, as well as school security. A memorial is shown at left.

Yesterday, April 19, commemorated two other dramatic tragedies:

» The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City in 1995, a blast that killed 168 and injured more than 680 people. Domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh was later executed by lethal injection and co-conspirator Terry Nichols was sentenced to life in prison.

» The end of the Waco siege in Texas in 1993. After a 51-day standoff between federal agents and David Koresh's Branch Davidian followers, a final assault ignited a church building and the Texas compound exploded in flames; 76 people died.


Happy birthday, Justice Stevens

One of the longest-serving and oldest Supreme Court justices, Justice John Paul Stevens celebrates his 90th birthday today, months before his retirement from the bench. The nominee of President Gerald Ford in 1975 evolved into the leader of the court's liberals. Only Oliver Wendell Holmes was older—two months short of being 91—when he stepped down and only William O. Douglas, whom Steven replaced, served on the court longer—36 years.


Free carry-on policy keeps skies friendly

Carry on, fliers, some major airlines aren't biting. After the small Florida carrier Spirit Airlines announced that it would start charging passengers $45 per carry-on bag, some industry analysts expected other airlines to follow suit—which would drive up travel costs during the busy summer season. But American, Delta, United, US Airways and JetBlue all said otherwise, refusing to risk alienating customers who have already seen “;ancillary”; fees added for a host of once-standard services. Meal service we can live without. But no free space in the overhead bin? The five airlines were wise not to cross that line. Spirit, meanwhile, can expect its passengers—male and female alike—to start toting extra-large “;purses.”;