10 Year Anniversary of Columbine Shootings

Ten years ago yesterday, April 20, 1999, a terrible tragedy took place at Columbine High School in Colorado. Two students, Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold, went on a shooting spree in their high school killing 12 students, a teacher, and eventually themselves. Although this took place on the other side of the country, it couldn’t have been more real for me.

I was a junior in high school at the time, and I still remember arriving home from school that afternoon to hear of this great tragedy. As I watched it unfold, I was amazed that this was happening in an American school. This wasn’t the first, or last school shooting, but it just seemed so malicious and hateful. I thought, ‘How could teenagers have so much rage and hatred inside of them?’ This one tragedy played a huge role in my life. I remember the fear that many of us felt that week in school. The anxiousness of what could be around the next corner. This event was formational in my life and it greatly impacted my future involvement in high school Bible Clubs both as a student and later a youth pastor. As a teenager and young adult, it was a reminder that life is short, we need to live it to the full!

Ten years later, the world has continued to change. We are now living in a post-911 world. One of suspicion, uncertainty and violence. We don’t know what terror lies around the next turn. In the midst of all of this, I know I can have the same peace I had 10 years ago sitting in class. Regardless of what’s down the hall or down the street, I know that my God is on the throne. I can experience the peace that passes all understanding, not because of my power, ability, 0r insight, but because I serve a God who is greater and in the end has already conquered sin, death and the grave! Regardless of what terror or uncertainty you are facing today, remember God will see you through.

As a tribute to the shooting 10 short years ago, here’s a short video I found. It really takes you back!

4 thoughts on “10 Year Anniversary of Columbine Shootings

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  1. Research has determined that from the Moment of Commitment (the point when a student pulls their weapon) to the Moment of Completion (when the last round is fired) is only 5 seconds. If it is the intent of a school district to react to this violence, they will do so over the wounded and/or slain bodies of students, teachers and administrators.

    Educational institutions clearly want safe and secure schools. Administrators are perennially queried by parents about the safety of their schools. The commonplace answers, intended to reassure anxious parents, focus on the school resource officers and emergency procedures. While useful, these less than adequate efforts do not begin to provide a definitive answer to preventing school violence, nor do they make a school safe and secure.

    Traditionally school districts have relied upon the mental health community or local police to keep schools safe, yet one of the key shortcomings has been the lack of a system that involves teachers, administrators, parents and students in the identification and communication process. Recently, colleges, universities and community colleges are forming Behavioral Intervention Teams with representatives from all these constituencies. Higher Education has changed their safety/security policies, procedures, or surveillance systems, yet K-12 have yet to incorporate Behavioral Intervention Teams. K-12 schools continue spending excessive amounts of money to put in place many of the physical security options. Sadly, they are reactionary only and do little to prevent aggression because they are designed exclusively to react to existing conflict, threat and violence. These schools reflect a national blindspot, which prefers hardening targets through enhanced security versus preventing violence with efforts directed at aggressors. Security gets all the focus and money, but this only makes us feel safe, rather than to actually make us safer.

    Some law enforcement agencies use profiling as a means to identify an aggressor. According to the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education’s report on Targeted Violence in Schools, there is a significant difference between “profiling” and identifying and measuring emerging aggression; “The use of profiles is not effective either for identifying students who may pose a risk for targeted violence at school or – once a student has been identified – for assessing the risk that a particular student may pose for school-based targeted violence.” It continues; “An inquiry should focus instead on a student’s behaviors and communications to determine if the student appears to be planning or preparing for an attack.” We can and must assess objective, culturally neutral, identifiable criteria of emerging aggression.

    For a comprehensive look at the problem and its solution, http://www.aggressionmanagement.com/White_Paper_K-12/

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