Earlier generations of Americans had their Auroras too

— On Aug. 13, 1903, a 30-year-old veteran of the Spanish-American War named Gilbert Twigg opened fire with a .12-gauge shotgun on a crowd at an outdoor concern in the county of his birth. Twigg killed nine people in Winfield, Kan., and wounded many more before turning a revolver on himself. This bloodbath earned only five paragraphs in the New York Times.

— In 1948, 10 months before Howard Unruh lost it, an ex-con named Melvin Collins got in a squabble with bookmaker in front of a Chester, Pa. boardinghouse, shot the man dead and then barricaded himself in his second-floor room, shooting people at random with hollow-point bullets fired from a .22 rifle. He wounded four people, and killed eight, including himself.

— On Aug. 1, 1966, only two weeks after Richard Speck raped, tortured and murdered eight student nurses in Chicago, University of Texas student Charles Joseph Whitman killed his wife and mother, then carted a footlocker full of weapons and ammo to the university tower in Austin and began shooting. By the time the former Eagle Scout and U.S. Marine was killed by policemen, 15 other people were dead and another 30 wounded.