By Karli Stichter
On April 20, 1999 was the Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colorado. Two students went on a rampage that would continue to terrify the country years later. Although this is not the first school shooting, it is a significant one in the sense of the way we view school shootings today. As students witnessed the events and teachers reported the incident to news reporters, the story was altered and changed several times. Every time the country was left with the lingering question; what is the cause of school shootings?
Dave Cullen, the author of the book, Columbine, spent ten years researching the event and trying to figure out the real story. With twelve kids and one teacher dead, there is also the question of who were these kids and what was their motivation. Through his investigation he found their dark thoughts of suicide and destroying everything in their path terrifying. The stories of the two students being outcasts and neglected from society were untrue. They were boys with a mindset most people are unable to understand. Morbid thoughts circled their minds as Cullen read in their journals and personal plans for the shooting.
Now, exactly 17 years later, our nation is moving more towards a national movement of school security. There are police and hired security guards throughout most public and private schools. Millions of dollars have been spent on metal detectors and anti-bullying programs. Our schools have become more aware of the signs of school shootings and consistently practice lock downs and drills in preparation.
In a video on the New York Times website, a student who was shot in the back and paralyzed during the shooting proclaimed that we can’t live in fear because of our knowledge of events such as Columbine. Over 300 shootings occur everyday and rarely are they school shootings. If we live in fear, we wouldn’t be living.
On this day we remember the students and teacher killed in the shooting and make a commitment to preventing school shootings in our nation and the rest of the world. It is important to keep in mind events such as Columbine that alter our society and help us learn how to make our schools a better and safer place for students.