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Tue, July 16

Miner Editorial | We can never forget Columbine

The Columbine Memorial in Littleton, Colorado. The Columbine shooting shocked the county April 20, 1999, and to this day carries a heavy weight with survivors and police responders. (Photo by Denverjeffrey [CC BY 3.0])

The Columbine Memorial in Littleton, Colorado. The Columbine shooting shocked the county April 20, 1999, and to this day carries a heavy weight with survivors and police responders. (Photo by Denverjeffrey [CC BY 3.0])

It began at 11:19 a.m. April 20, 1999.

Rachel Scott, 17, was the first victim. She was killed by four shots to the head, torso, and leg alongside the west entrance of the school.

Daniel Rohrbough, Kyle Velasquez, Steven Curnow, Cassie Bernall, Isaiah Shoels, Matthew Kechter, Lauren Townsend, John Tomlin, Kelly Fleming, Daniel Mauser, Corey DePooter and Coach William David Sanders.

These are the names of the victims who were brutally murdered. Twelve students and one teacher.

This Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of one of the most horrific events in modern American history: The school shooting of Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado.

The perpetrators were 12th-graders Eric “Reb” Harris and Dylan “Vodka” Klebold.

The shooting was over at 12:08 p.m.

This is an event that we can never forget. We cannot afford to forget the victims, those who died and those who survived.

We also can’t forget what happened in the aftermath with students and teachers suffering from PTSD, some committed suicide.

The Columbine shootings influenced subsequent school shootings, a number of whose plots mention it, and which in some cases, led to the closing of entire school districts. According to psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey of the Treatment Advocacy Center, a legacy of the Columbine shootings is its “allure to disaffected youth.”

Ralph Larkin examined 12 major school shootings in the U.S. in the following eight years and found that in eight of those, “the shooters made explicit reference to Harris and Klebold.” Larkin wrote that the Columbine massacre established a “script” for shootings. “Numerous post-Columbine rampage shooters referred directly to Columbine as their inspiration; others attempted to supersede the Columbine shootings in body count.”

There are those who worship Harris and Klebold, referring to them as martyrs.

People like the young woman from Miami who shot and killed herself with a shotgun in Denver this week.

It is important that we remember what happened at Columbine. The shooters gave off warning signs that predicted acts of violence, but no one really knew what to look for in 1999 or what it meant.

Today we do.

Talk to students, children, parents, anyone and everyone. Check in with them mentally and emotionally. Support them. These kinds of violent acts are rarely impulsive. They are methodically planned, down to the minute of the first gunshot.

And never let a day go by without your children knowing just how much they are loved.

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