Parkland Press

Wednesday, May 23, 2018


Thursday, June 1, 2017 by The Press in Opinion

A black day for music fans and their parents

Dear reader:

Here we are again.

Eleven months ago, headlines blared the horrific news of dozens killed in the Pulse nightclub while enjoying a night out, and the senseless murder of singer and reality show contestant Christina Grimmie, shot while signing autographs and chatting with fans after a performance, crimes happening within days of each other in Florida.

In an editorial around that time (The Future of the Future was Now, June 15, 2016), I tried to call attention to the future of so many young people cut short.

Christina Grimmie was 22. Many of those killed in Pulse were under 40. The youngest just 19.

On May 22, a bomb went off after a concert by pop music singer Ariana Grande in Manchester, England. Fifty-nine people were wounded, 22 died, including Saffie Rose Roussos. She was 8 years old.

In an online news article in the British newspaper The Daily Mirror, a relative described Saffie as “a bubbly little girl ... really pretty, absolutely adorable.” One of her teachers described her as “quiet and unassuming, with a creative flair.”

Many of those killed in the bombing were not much older than Saffie, ’tween and teen fans at a music concert, perhaps the first such show in their brief lives.

Here we are again, dear reader.

I don’t know about you, but as a ’tween and teen, popular music filled much of my free time; listening to the radio while doing homework, watching music videos, arguing the merits of one lead guitarist over another with a classmate during lunch at school, dreaming of attending music shows to see my favorite singers and musicians.

Saffie and many others in that audience dreamed of seeing their pop music idol, Miss Grande, and likely other music performers popular now.

Plus, many of those young people attending the show in Manchester were with their families.

Saffie was with her mom and older sister, both of whom were among the 59 wounded in the attack.

According to news reports, four parents waiting for their children to exit the arena where the concert was presented are among the dead. Two mothers killed were friends and were waiting for their 15-year-old daughters who were at the show.

Here we are again.

Terror group ISIS soon claimed responsibility for the attack. Four arrests had been made in connection with the attack at the time this piece was written. A motive remained unclear and the investigation is ongoing.

Vigils for victims of the attack were held in Manchester. Queen Elizabeth II led a moment of silence in mourning. National Public Radio reported lights at The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and city hall in Rome; the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Empire State Building were turned off Tuesday.

More young lives lost.

On May 17, musician Chris Cornell of the Seattle rock band Soundgarden was found dead. A musician and songwriter, he was open about his own struggles with depression in his interviews as well as his song lyrics.

Among his more famous tunes is the song “Fell on Black Days,” a song he described as pointing to a particularly lengthy episode of depression he endured as a teen.

May 22 was a black day for many of us. It is unlikely, however, it will be the last such day in these volatile times.

April Peterson

editorial assistant

East Penn Press

Salisbury Press