Monday, April 20, 2009


Ordinarily, I'd start today's Monday blog with a weekend recap, especially since Vee and I were INCREDIBLY busy with home reno.

But my cursory scan of the news websites this morning reminded me of something that knocked on my teenage heart.

It's been 10 years since Columbine.

Just reading the name "Columbine" made my eyes start smarting and my throat choke up. It's almost impossible to tell you about the impact that Columbine had on me. I felt the shooting so intensely that it might as well have happened in my high school; every detail I read about it, I could see it in MY hallways, the west entrance to MY high school where they entered, MY cafeteria where the students clustered, the tables in MY library. The entire thing was so utterly shocking that I couldn't go to school for days afterward without picturing exactly how it would unfold in my school; that pervasive feeling that, really, there was no reason it DIDN'T happen at my school, wouldn't happen at my school.

My ANGER at the shooters for killing themselves and the first time I realized that, sometimes, you wouldn't GET to mete out justice. The pit-of-stomach fear I felt the next fall when, randomly, the lights all went out during second-period government class and we nervously chattered (and I think someone even joked, almost unbelievably, about Columbine) until the intercom came on and said the janitor had accidentally flipped the power switch and power would be back in a couple of minutes. My inability to comprehend how any of us could ever go back to school again, no matter how many security cops they stationed throughout the school, the following ban on carrying backpacks to class, the ensuing locking of the entrances after 8:30am so if you wanted to enter, you had to go through the front of the school.

I started having horrible fantasies about how no place, ANYWHERE, was ever REALLY safe from something like that happening. A church? Wal-Mart? Track practice? How can you look at every person bearing a duffle bag as anything other than a potential killer?

My freshman-year roommate at college was from Littleton. She went to the other high school, although whenever she told people where she was from, all anyone asked was "Did you know anyone at Columbine? That must have been awful." She said she didn't actually know anyone there, and nothing changed at her high school. She was a writer, and wrote short stories about how boring Littleton was when she was in high school, how she and her best friend called it "Little-fun."

I can't ever stop crying when I read about Columbine, or any of the other school shootings that followed. Virginia Tech brought me to my knees, my ultimate fear of shootings following me to college being recognized. The mall shooting in Omaha was more horrifying than I can speak.

My trust in humanity changed, ten years ago today. My heart goes out to everyone else who was changed that day, but especially to the students, faculty, and families of Columbine. God protect us.

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