By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
The question is not why, but when
Denise Etheridge
Denise Etheridge, a University of Georgia graduate, has been named editor of the Coastal courier.

I was going to write a column introducing readers to our dedicated, hardworking staff, our journalists, sales team, circulation folks and our other administrative professionals who keep your community newspaper running smoothly. I will write that column soon, just not today. Today, we mourn. And I question.

When will it happen again? Where will the next mass shooting take place? Another school educating our precious young? A church filled with loving worshipers? A nightclub where people go for a fun night out? Any one of us can be next. Will it happen here?

Thursday it was five people at a community newspaper, the Capital Gazette, in Annapolis, Md. People like me and my colleagues, doing a job they love in service to their town. Rest in peace Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Wendi Winters and Rebecca Smith.

We should remember also, all those who died in mass shootings before these latest good people. Rather than name every man, woman and child whose life was cut short by senseless violence, I will list “the where” of the deadliest single-day mass shootings in modern history, according to a list compiled by (These are the 10 deadliest — there are more not listed.) 

This list of places reminds me of Holocaust memorials in Europe, stones engraved with the names of entire villages wiped out because of hate.  

• The Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nev. — 58 killed on Oct. 1, 2017

• Pulse night club in Orlando, Fla. — 49 killed on June 12, 2016 

• Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. — 32 killed on April 16, 2007

• Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. — 27 killed on Dec. 14, 2012

• First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas — 26 killed on Nov. 5, 2017 

• Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas — 23 killed on Oct. 16, 1991

• McDonald’s in San Ysidro, Calif. — 21 killed on July 18, 1984

• University of Texas, Austin, Texas — 18 killed on Aug. 1, 1966

• Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Fla. — 17 killed on Feb. 14, 2018

• The Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif. — 14 killed on Dec. 2, 2015

• Postal workers in Edmond, Oklahoma — 14 killed on Aug. 20, 1986

• Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. — 13 killed on April 20, 1999

I don’t pretend to have a cure for this creeping sickness that appears to be spreading into every crevice of our fractured society. I only know that our community, too, should have serious discussion that leads to action. I doubt that we, at the Coastal Courier, would respond to this latest tragedy by erecting bullet proof glass at the front desk or hiring an armed guard to stand watch outside. We must remain open and accessible to our public. No one should live in fear.

Etheridge is editor of the Coastal Courier. She lives in Ludowici with her husband, a sweet teddy bear of a rescue dog, and a grumpy cat that guards the house.

Sign up for our e-newsletters