Yes, Virginia, you did and there was. Our feeble little minds have let slip a previous "tragic event". That event (I presume) was the shootings at Virginia Tech. But this simply underscores the trivial nature of most of these events. Even the tsunami which slapped Indonesia like a fading pro-wrestler is largely excluded from our memories.
Take a moment and write down the top five recent disasters or tragedies, in terms of loss of life.
Okay, pencil's down - how did you do? Did you include the Frisco quake? What about the heat wave in Europe? If we expand to manmade disasters, did you include Rwanda, Bosnia, or Cambodia? There is, of course, a site which catalogs these events for you.
In fact during 2006 alone almost 40,000 people perished in disasters. They included Transport Accident - 7009; Epidemic - 6248 (almost exclusively Africa); Flood - 6020 (largely Asia); Earthquake - 5890. China leads the world in industrial accidents. With at least 702 reported in 2006. Who knows how many more are actually lost.
The bottom line is that most of the "terrible events" in the United States are trivial when weighed against this toll. Even the awful shooting in Blacksburg, dreadful in any measure, is hard to compare to the loss of 2500 innocents in one Phillipine flood.
We are bombarded with so much information and events so quickly, we can not even recall some of the most simple information about our recent past. People count on this fact. They count on the fact we can not remember.
Some of this inability is a good thing. Otherwise I predict we would be paralyzed by fear and simply curl up in a corner. But the less savory of our populations (and I mean folks like politicians) count on us not recalling when promises are broken or scandals emerge.
I don't know about you, but I'm gonna start writing this stuff down.
Now, where did my pencil go?