On October 5, 1998, I gave birth to an amazing baby boy. Six months later, 17 years ago today, there was a horror in Littleton, CO. The Columbine school shooting. I remember watching the awful events unfold on the news, and I very specifically remember thinking, “Oh my god. What have I done?” And by that, I meant this: I had just brought a baby into a world in which he wasn’t even safe attending school.
Columbine was far from the first school shooting (it was the 256th school shooting in American history), but it was the first that I was aware of. Maybe that’s because I wasn’t a parent before Columbine so I didn’t think of things like that. Or maybe it was because I was only 21 years old and unaware of what a truly horrific place the world can be.
On April 20, 1999, Columbine made me aware.
To this day, any time I see photos or video footage of the Columbine massacre, I get chills. My heart goes out to the victims and families of not only the Littleton shooting but every shooting that has every taken place on educational soil. Schools are where we send our children to learn history and science and math. One thing they should never have to learn about at school is death.
There have been an additional 175 school shootings since Columbine.
81% of school shooters have warning signs that go unnoticed or unreported. Be aware and alert, and report those signs to the proper authorities.
*Note: During an interview regarding Columbine, someone on TV stated that before the Littleton shooting, there was only one school shooting. I urge you to peruse the list of shootings compiled here