I’m as old as Columbine

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I’m as old as Columbine

Jordyn Daggs-Olson, Staff Writer

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Apr. 20 marks the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. Even though I may not have been aware of what was going on the day Columbine happened, there is no doubt that I, and everyone else in my generation, have felt the lasting effects of that day.  

From the time I was a kid, I was taught to always be aware of my surroundings. My parents and sister would worry if I strayed too far away from them or if I spent too much time playing under the bleachers during football games. I remember hearing about Columbine when I was younger, as well as the several mass shootings that occurred in the following years. However, it was not until the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting that I really started paying attention. Sandy Hook hit a personal cord that has stayed with me since. Throughout high school I spent my mornings in classrooms instead of the cafeteria, so I was not a sitting duck if a mass shooting situation were to ensue. I had conversations with parents about what to do in a worst-case scenario, where to hide and how to escape.  

It is astonishing to me to think there was a time not too long ago where safety in schools was not a major concern. When parents would let their kids roam around the neighborhood after dark. When students’ biggest worries were high school drama and what score they would get on their history test, and parents were confident that nothing bad could happen to their child when they were at school. It is sad to say that times have drastically changed, and it all started with the mass shooting at Columbine High School.  

School shootings are now common in our society and have been for the last twenty years. The after effects are still felt from Columbine: even in the past week there have been threats of a repeat in Denver-area schools. After Columbine, Parkland, Sandy Hook, and San Bernardino, there are grade school students who are afraid to go to school. Seven-year-olds who do not feel safe and are not sure if they are going to go home at the end of a school day. Hundreds upon thousands of students who are put in life-or-death situations in a learning environment. I hope that everyone takes this day as a time to remember the victims not only from Columbine, but from the countless school shooting victims throughout the last twenty years. We should not sensationalize the acts committed or the people that committed them, but we should recognize both the survivors and those that have fallen to this deadly trend.  

School shootings started in my lifetime, and I would love nothing more than for them to end during my lifetime. Kids should not have to fear going to school, an environment that is supposed to be a safe space.