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Apr 20, 2022

April 20 - Not the best of days for humanity

Oddly enough, April 20, or 4/20, is "celebrated" by pot smokers around the country. Across the nation, teenagers and college students, and cannabis loving people everywhere  earnestly get baked, extolling their love of cannabis - one of whose qualities is the erosion of memory.

But sadly  April 20 has supplied everyone with some things they may not want to remember.

April 20, 1978, saw the infamous "interception" of Korean Air Lines flight 902 (on a Paris-Anchorage-Seoul route) by Soviet jets, in a narrowly-avoided aviation disaster. After straying into Soviet airspace over Murmansk, not far from the border with Finland in Russia's far north, the Boeing 707 was fired upon by Soviet Su-15 jets. Two people were killed, but the jet made an emergency landing, saving the rest of the 107 people on board. For many, though, this was a sign that the Soviet Union remained a violent and defensive empire

On April 20, two Colorado teenagers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, entered the grounds of their high school, where they were seniors and started firing, first in the cafeteria and eventually in the library, where most of their killing took place. The Columbine massacre of April 20, 1999, would leave 13 dead and the nation's psyche forever altered with the inaccurate but indelible image of the Trench Coat Mafia.

Deepwater Horizon, the BP oil rig stationed (not all that securely, it would turn out) in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, exploded on April 20, 2010, killing 11 and altering the lives of millions in the region. For months, the world was treated with images of black plumes, dark waters and oil-covered wild life. Just this week, scientists found that Gulf fish still bear traces of contamination.

And in 2016, while reporting from Libya, the photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed by a mortar shell in Misrata. Their deaths struck a particular cord in New York, where they were members of a tightly-knit photo community based mostly in Brooklyn.