Many other massacre sites have faced this unfortunate question in the past, with responses ranging from minor changes to destroying the building where tragedy struck. Look below for photos and information about ten attacks and the choices made.
On January 8, 2011, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was holding a public meeting at a Safeway grocery store when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire, killing six people and severely injuring many others, including Giffords, who ultimately had to step down from her House seat in order to focus on her recuperation.
Today, the Safeway remains in business. But earlier this year, the company unveiled a memorial featuring the plaque seen here, as well as six small boulders honoring those who lost their lives.
On October 16, 1991, George Hennard drove a truck into a Luby's cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, then began shooting at the patrons inside, estimated at more than eighty at the time of the incident. In the end, he killed 23 people and hurt twenty more before killing himself.
The restaurant eventually reopened, but business is said to have suffered and it wound up closing permanently in 2000. The space is now occupied by Yank Sing, described by Wikipedia as a Chinese-American buffet.
Continue reading about ten sites that were changed (or not) after massacres. San Ysidro McDonald's attack
On July 18, 1984, James Huberty began randomly shooting patrons at a San Ysidro, California McDonald's. The casualty count: 21 dead, five of them children, and twenty injured.
McDonald's wound up giving the property where the tragedy took place to the City of San Ysidro, which built an education center there in conjunction with Southwestern Community College. The refurbished area features a memorial to the massacre victims that includes white marble pillars bearing the names of the victims
Northern Illinois University shooting
On February 14, 2008, Steven Kazmierczak began shooting people at Northern Illinois University, located in the community of DeKalb. He took five lives and injured nineteen others before committing suicide.
Two years later, NIU announced that Cole Hall, where the majority of the violence took place, would be remodeled, with an anthropology museum and collaborative computing center part of the plan. It opened in January.
Continue reading about ten sites that were changed (or not) after massacres. Virginia Tech massacre
On April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho murdered 32 people and injured seventeen more at the Virginia Tech campus.
Many of the deaths took place in Norris Hall, which was reopened. However, the second floor of the building was devoted to the Center for Peace Studies & Violence Prevention, described as "a student-centered cross-disciplinary undertaking that builds on the academic, cultural, and security initiatives that evolved within the Virginia Tech community after the tragedy...."
Westside Middle School massacre
On March 24, 1998, Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden, a pair of students at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas, killed four students and a teacher and injured ten others before being taken into custody.
The school was eventually reopened, but changes have happened since then, as noted in this vivid passage from a Philadelphia Inquirer article: "For years after the shooting in Jonesboro, workers would patch the bullet holes in the brick walls of the gym, and every winter, the fillings would fail. Eventually crews tore down part of the wall and installed a new facade. When the bloodstains on the sidewalk proved indelible, workers pulled up the slabs and put down a new pathway."
Continue reading about ten sites that were changed (or not) after massacres. Heath High School massacre
On December 1, 1997, Michael Carneal, age fourteen, began shooting a group of students at Heath, a high school in West Paducah, Kentucky. They were praying at the time; three died, and five were injured.
Heath High School reopened the day after the shooting. Today, a memorial is in place to honor the victims.
Lane Bryant shooting
On February 2, 2008, a still-unknown assailant entered a Lane Bryant store in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park and began shooting. Five people died, with one person injured.
Continue reading about ten sites that were changed (or not) after massacres. Amish school shooting
On October 2, 2006, Charles Carl Roberts IV shot ten girls at West Nickel Mines School, an Amish educational facility that occupied a single room. The victims were all between the ages of six and thirteen. Five of them died.
The school was demolished just one week after the attack. To this day, the site of the deadly assault remains an open field.
Columbine High School massacre
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On April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed twelve students and a teacher before taking their own lives at the Jefferson County high school.
In the wake of these slayings, officials decided to extensively renovate the cafeteria and library areas where much of the violence happened. AColumbineSite.com provides photos and more of the resulting changes. In addition, a large memorial to the victims was constructed near the school.
More from our Aurora Theater Shooting archive: "Aurora theater shooting judge: Unsealing CU info worse than trying to unring a bell."