Today marks the tenth anniversary of the now-infamous massacre at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado — which resulted in the deaths of thirteen people, the wounding of over twenty people, and the double suicide of the teens responsible for an atrocity that continues to not only horrify the world, but also defy any rational explanations. But the shootings in Columbine also taught the world a lesson that probably existed for a long time — namely, the fact that even our educational institutions are no longer immune to the insanity and ugliness that defined the Columbine shootings and other violent tragedies that occured before and after it.
My generation (as well as my brothers’) were fortunate enough to get through both public school and college without dealing with the violence that has come to define the modern age — but then, things were very different for us thirty to forty years ago. While today’s generation is far luckier than mine in many ways, they’re also burdened with the same problems faced by everybody else — some of them a direct assault of the Columbine shootings. With those problems comes a fear that has become an unfortunate reality many times over, and which shouldn’t be taken for granted: a violent tragedy like that at Columbine can not only occur at any time and at any place in the world, but also affect everybody, and not just its victims. It was true long before Columbine — and it may remain that way, unless the proper steps are taken that will someday help make such tragedies a thing of the past, a hope shared by a world already saddled with more problems than they can handle.
April 20, 2009