Columbine: 20 years

It never gets easier. It’s difficult to realize these beautiful children might now have children of their own. Maybe one of them would have run for office or become the scientist who solved climate change.

It was awful when it happened, so close to home. What I didn’t realize was it was going to keep happening….


25 replies
  1. 1
    martha says:

    I’m with you…driving by there regularly just makes me hurt. This week was a hard one for everyone in my neighborhood. Lots of hard conversations for parents to have with their kids.

  2. 2
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Meanwhile, at NRA headquarters, the champagne corks are flying.

  3. 3

    @martha: It was an awful week. I’m still trying to figure out how an 18 yr old who COULDN’T buy a gun in Florida of all places, could fly here and buy one without a problem.

  4. 4
    martha says:

    @TaMara (HFG): And the gun shop was, oh, a half a mile from the school??? The mind reels. I read they couldn’t arrest her until she did something, potentially terrible.

    The yoga class I attend on Wednesday mornings was different—three mothers brought their kids for some calm and serenity, and to get them out of the house (it’s usually folks of a certain age). There were times I just wanted to cry. But the kids were great and the moms better afterwards.

  5. 5
    trollhattan says:

    @TaMara (HFG):
    Heard this morning that she evidently committed suicide before authorities put out the APB and closed schools. So, what was her motivation? Go to Colorado simply to commit suicide? Go to kill others but get cold feet?

    A teen being fixated on something is pretty common, why Columbine? She now seems less like a wannabe monster and more like a sad tale of someone not receiving badly needed help.

    Heard an interview with a Columbine girl who is now a mom, and the difficulty of taking her little girl to the first day of school. Now a teen, the daughter spoke of the first time mom told her of Columbine and finally going to the memorial at the school. Yep, a new generation faces the same old problems.

  6. 6
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TaMara (HFG): The local FFL is going to loose his license. It is the FFL’s requirement to stay current on all other states’ laws that effect sales of firearms in his or her own state. Florida changed their law last year. This FFL clearly didn’t pay attention. And none of the background checks would flag this – they’re not designed to flag this type of thing.

  7. 7
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Everything that was learned as a result of Columbine, as to how to properly respond to these types of threats, turns out to be wrong. And they cannot be empirically validated as effective.

    No evidence ‘hardened’ schools are safe from gun violence
    April 16, 2019
    by Marc Ransford, Ball State University

    Hardening of schools seems to be a questionable endeavor, given the dearth of evidence regarding effectiveness, says a Ball State University researcher.

    “School Firearm Violence Prevention Practices and Policies: Functional or Folly?,” a comprehensive review of the literature from 2000 to 2018 regarding school firearm violence prevention, found no programs or practices with evidence that they reduced such gun violence.

    “It could be the rarity of school shootings that makes it extremely difficult to prove that any combination of interventions in schools would be effective,” said Jagdish Khubchandani, a Ball State health science professor who partnered with University of Toledo professor James Price on the research project.

    The paper was published a recent edition of the journal Violence and Gender.

    “School firearm violence and school shootings have received increasing attention from school personnel, policymakers, and in the mass media,” Khubchandani said. “However, little is known about prevention and reduction of school firearm violence. The purpose of this narrative review is to describe the current practices regarding school firearm violence prevention and use of the disease prevention and health promotion framework to describe current practices and policies on school firearm violence prevention measures.”

    Khubchandani said American schools use a variety of strategies, including monitored or locked doors to the building, security cameras, metal detectors, hiring resource officers, and random checks of lockers.

    “To the extent that schools adopt ineffective firearm violence prevention measures, they are creating a false sense of security,” Khubchandani said. “School systems need to engage in collaborative research for evidence-based practices and policy advocacy through coalition building to address state firearm laws. Schools also need to expand their mental health services and cost-effective educational interventions for reducing violence.”

    School officials should not give in to political pressures to “do something” when that “something” is likely to be ineffective, deceptive, and wasteful of limited school resources, he warns.

    The researchers also noted that more research funding is needed to pursue definitive answers regarding what is effective in substantially reducing school firearm violence and preventing youth from carrying or using guns.

    More information: James H. Price et al. School Firearm Violence Prevention Practices and Policies: Functional or Folly?, Violence and Gender (2019). DOI: 10.1089/vio.2018.0044

    Journal information: Violence and Gender

    Provided by Ball State University

  8. 8
    NotMax says:

    Not to in any way minimize the topic, just FYI.

    The earliest known United States shooting to happen on school property was the Pontiac’s Rebellion school massacre on July 26, 1764, where four Lenape American Indian entered the schoolhouse near present-day Greencastle, Pennsylvania, shot and killed schoolmaster Enoch Brown, and killed nine or ten children (reports vary). Only two children survived.
    An April 30, 1866 editorial in the New York Times argued against students carrying pistols, citing “…pistols being dropped on the floor at balls or being exploded in very inconvenient ways. A boy of 12 has his pantaloons made with a pistol pocket; and this at a boarding-school filled with boys, who, we suppose, do or wish to do the same thing. We would advise parents to look into it, and learn whether shooting is to be a part of the scholastic course which may be practiced on their boys; or else we advise them to see that their own boys are properly armed with the most approved and deadly-pistol, and that there may be an equal chance at least of their shooting as of being shot.” Source

  9. 9
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    While I appreciate the seriousness of the topic I just wanted to post some good news for a change. The BBC reported that all of the bee hives that live on top of Notra Dame have survived as well as the bees. The experts reckon that the bees just went to sleep as a result of the smoke and rode it out.

  10. 10
    trollhattan says:

    Have learned more about Notre Dame in the last few days than over my entire life. As horrifying as the fire was, true heroism saved it from far worse.

  11. 11
    debbie says:


    That was some interview.

  12. 12
    Phylllis says:

    @Adam L Silverman: This has become a multi-million dollar industry and school districts are being stampeded by vendors who are hawking every product under the sun. Including the guy known as ‘Joe the plumber’. Meanwhile the data shows that schools overall are very safe. And when they’re not, many times it comes down to human error, not a breakdown or lack of ‘security technology’.

  13. 13
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Phylllis: Yep.

  14. 14
  15. 15
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Raises hand…

  16. 16
    martha says:

    @Adam L Silverman: so we’re avoiding the difficult problem by focusing on a seemingly more palatable solution. Figures.

  17. 17
    Zelma says:

    I am on the local school board. I live in a resort town with million dollar houses and almost no kids. For most of the year it’s a ghost town. We are in the process of spending tens of thousands of dollars to “harden” the security in our two schools. This was undertaken at the insistence of the parents after Parkland. It’s taking longer than expected because the demand for bullet proof glass is so high.

    We had a very interesting presentation by the local police departments who are surprisingly up on the whole problem of shooters, school or otherwise. I was impressed by their professionalism. But the message was clear if unstated. There is no way to make any school or building really “safe.” A determined shooter can wreak untold havoc in a very short time.

    The only “solution” is to get automatic and semi-automatic weapons off the street. Since this is unlikely to happen in the good old U.S. of A., we will all live with the insecurity and fear because a shooting can happen anywhere. Fun times.!

  18. 18
    Harbison says:

    Adam is right. The “hardened schools” approach is nothing but a way to put money into the pockets into the purveyors of fear and dread which purchases at least a momentary feeling of “well at least we are doing SOMETHING”

    In fact, the hardened schools approach along with the frequent “active shooter” drills does far more psychological damage to children than any benefit it confers.

    The reality is that school shootings – like all mass shootings – are fantastically rare:

    See also:

    The bottom line is that there a few hundred people killed this way each year in the US. Yes, I said “only”. Because that is the way you have to evaluate it if you want to decide what to do about the problem. The simple fact is that there are more people killed in accidental shootings. But hur de hurr, got to ban assault weapons. When was the last time there was a mass protest demanding trigger locks as safety training? Anyone, got any marches about that? The answer is none. That is because the people marching for assault weapon bans and large capacity magazine bans do not give a flying fuck about making the public safer or lowering deaths. No, they have a stick up their ass about guns and that’s their cause.

    But back to hardened schools. Your 5 year old has a much better chance of being in a serious car accident as you drive her to school. How many times have you had “active car wreck” drills with your 5 year old where you explain to them what to do if you are incapacitated in a wreck. Have you showed them how to use your On Star system if it doesn’t activate automatically. How about the cell phone. The answer, if you are sane, is Zero. And that is how many “active shooter drills” there should be.

  19. 19
    raven says:

    @Harbison: Sounds like you have a stick up your ass pal.

  20. 20
    Another Scott says:

    @Harbison: Meh.

    The USA does not need such easy availability of guns. We all know this.

    Schools are supposed to be safe places for learning. They’re not supposed to be captive audiences for “training” that involves shooting teachers with plastic pellets, or terrorizing students.

    Yes, mass school shootings are extremely rare. So is successfully fighting off a home invader with an AR-15 or a MAC-10.

    (My favorite uncle is a life member of the NRA and has a far too large gun collection, including a 3-pounder cannon. He doesn’t “need” any of it, certainly not for “personal protection”.)


  21. 21
    NotMax says:

    From 2018, FYI.

    “In less than 18 years, we have already seen more deaths related to school shootings than in the whole 20th century,” said Antonis Katsiyannis, lead author of the study, of Clemson University. “One alarming trend is that the overwhelming majority of 21st-century shooters were adolescents, suggesting that it is now easier for them to access guns, and that they more frequently suffer from mental health issues or limited conflict resolution skills.”

    Fifty-five people were killed in mass school shootings in the 20th century, over the course of 100 years. Another 260 were wounded. Most of the attacks occurred in the West, and the pace picked up in the 1990s…,

    In the 21st century, 66 people have been killed and 81 wounded in 13 mass-shooting incidents in schools involving lone shooters. Increasingly, they were committed by teens themselves—and they were more deadly than ever before, culminating in the two deadliest yet: the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in December 2012 that left 26 dead; and the attack in Parkland, Fla., in February that claimed 17 lives.

    The definition is narrowly confined to mass school shootings involving four victims besides the shooter, however. For instance, the deadly Virginia Tech University massacre in 2007 claimed 33 lives and left another 23 injured—but was not included because it was a college. Source


    More crammed up there than just a stick.

  22. 22
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    I had a student in OK who was from CO; a good friend of hers died in the shooting.

    It was weird how part of the Evangelicals developed a story of a girl martyr who supposedly was shot because she did not deny Christ. The story is quite garbled; it is unclear if it actually happened the way the story became codified. It is also unclear who may have actually ‘refused to deny Christ.’ I mention this because it’s a very strong story within Evangelical circles.

  23. 23
    Jay Noble says:

    My 20th High School Graduation Reunion from a Nebraska panhandle high school happened just a few months after Columbine, not that far from home. We were watching our “As Others See Them” slide show, giggling, ribbing each other over the hair and the fashions when the slide for the Trap Team came up. 3 or four guys with their shotguns standing right outside one of the front doors. They weren’t goofing off. Just a yearbook club picture.

    The room immediately went stone cold silent. Some of those guns had probably been in lockers during the year or in pickup back windows because the guys had been hunting earlier or would later or they had a trap practice or meet and wouldn’t have time to go home to get them. There were at least a dozen ways to enter the building. No ids. no resource officers. The junior high was just as open and just a few yards away. The new high school has 2 entrances that require ids and I believe the ids have RFID so they pretty much know where the everyone is or at least if they are missing. That new high scool was designed and built by a company that designs and builds schools and . . . prisons.

  24. 24
    Starfish says:

    @Ladyraxterinok: I thought that some of the students who were physically present in the library said that Darrell Scott’s story about Rachel Scott was made up.

    I can’t believe that we love the insecurity of men and the profits of gun manufacturers more than we love our own children and their emotional wellbeing.

  25. 25
    Mike G says:


    According to one of the survivors, one of the shooters asked Rachel Scott (or it may have been another student altogether) if she believed in God. She said yes. The shooter replied, “Why?”, then moved on.

    I can’t blame the dad for telling himself whatever he needs to believe to cope with it, but the public exploitation of it by evangelicals to focus blame on atheism and paint themselves as the primary persecuted victims was pretty sickening.

    Evangelicals seem to have a strong need for self-justifying fairy tales and victimhood. Accuracy isn’t exactly their strong suit.

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