Tue, Nov 9, 1999 at 6:32 PM
The terrible event at Columbine High School was a great shock to me, but I had no doubts it could happen at my school.
During my Sophomore year, a series of “prank” bomb threats disrupted our classes for about a month. Someone would call in and report there is a bomb in the school. It would get us out of class for several hours as police, K9s, and the bomb quad combed our building. These were never taken seriously by most students or teachers, but the administrators had to assume every threat is real. We all felt reasonable safe, our school was a pretty calm place. We didn’t even have many fist-fights. An incident during my Senior year gave us some cause for alarm, though.
Sometime during the week of April 12, 1999, a student brought a gun to my school. He somehow managed to get it past the metal detectors and hid it in a locker. He didn’t intend to use it at school, it was intended for use after school to settle a dispute with a student from a neighboring school. The fact remains that he got it into the school, and no one knew about it for most of the day. We did have a “lockdown” but that wasn’t unusual, we’d been practicing lockdowns for months, mostly to allow the security guards to search for illegal substances in the school. We didn’t know this one was to protect us from one of our classmates.
I remember the news vans visiting my school one day that week during soccer practice. Some of my teammates were interviewed. They all assured the press that we felt perfectly safe. The danger was past, the student expelled, all’s well that ends well. We felt it was extremely embarrassing to have our school portrayed in that light.
Less than a week later, my mom picked me up from my Tuesday soccer game with a horrified look on her face. She turned the radio on, and my best friend and I listened in horror as the reporters described the tragedy at Columbine. At that time, 25 people were still inside the school and assumed dead. It suddenly hit me how incredibly lucky my school was.
How easy it would have been for the student to take his gun out of his locker and start killing his classmates. How easy it would have been for someone to shoot all of us during our frequent “bomb threats”. I can only assume God was watching over my school during all those dangerous situations.
But you know what the funny thing is? I shouldn’t say “funny” because it isn’t, it’s scary. The “funny” thing is, from what I hear, the school is still the same. Everyone walks around as if these things never happened. As if nothing will ever happen to them. As if that school is the safest place on earth.
This year, someone set off a bunch of mace in one of the hallways. Several students were taken to a hospital because of breathing problems. Students are still setting fire to trashcans in the bathrooms. And no one thinks there’s anything wrong. Just life as usual. Why does it have to be this way? Some kids, like my little brother, are scared of what’s going on. Some are afraid to go to school at all. And others just wander thorugh life ignoring the things that could one day kill them.