Today marks 25 years since the Port Arthur massacre. It was one of the darkest days in the state's history. Thirty-five people lost their lives, 23 more were injured, and countless impacted by the devastating events that unfolded at the historic site on April 28 in 1996.
The shootings not only devastated the tight-knit community on the Tasman Peninsula, but the entire world.
It was the first mass shooting of its kind in Australia, and at the time, was the world's worst killing spree by a lone, civilian gunman. And despite 25 years passing, the pain lingers for many.
Sadly, reporting of the incident can often be overshadowed by conspiracy theories, and criticism of the first responders.
But the story that needs to be told is the story of the people at the scene on that horrific day. The police, the paramedics, the civilians - the people impacted both directly and indirectly by the actions of an evil killer.
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It is those stories that need to be told, and the memories of those who did not survive need to be honoured.
However, there needs to be a balance between reflecting on what occurred and respecting survivors still suffering from the experience.
The shooter's name does not need to be spoken, and as part of The Examiner's coverage of the anniversary, his name will not be included.
This is not only out of respect for the survivors, with some refusing to even share their stories if his name was mentioned, but to ensure the focus remains on the victims.
The story is not about the shooter, it is about how Tasmania changed because of one person's actions.
While it was an unimaginable tragedy, many lessons were learned. The country's gun laws changed, for the better, and to this day, there has not been another incident like Port Arthur in Australia, which is the envy of many countries battling mass shootings.
Let's not hide the fact it happened, but continue to learn from it. Let's allow those impacted to feel they can speak out, and seek support for the pain they are still enduring after all these years.
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