15 Years Ago Today: Columbine


The Denver Post's Allison Noon:

Sunday marks the 15th year since the shooting at Columbine High School in which 12 students and a teacher were killed.

Indigo columbine flowers were in bloom around the bases of 13 stone markers at the permanent Columbine Memorial in Littleton's Clement Park on Saturday, when about 50 people honored the victims with a remembrance program.

Colorado Ceasefire Capitol Fund organized the program at the park amphitheater ahead of the anniversary that falls this year on Easter Sunday. The program included speeches from family members of two Columbine shooting victims and two victims of the Aurora theater shooting.


“We are part of an unwanted family. None of us asked to be part of this family, family of survivors of mass tragedy,” said [Coni] Sanders.

Unfortunately, that family is growing.

Tom Sullivan lost his son in the Aurora theater shootings.

“Thank you for the courage you have all had since that day. It has certainly strengthened me in my private moments,” said Sullivan.

Sandy Phillips lost her daughter.

“Their lives meant something. Not just to their families, but to the communities that they lived in,” said Phillips.

3 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    I have some thoughts about the legacies of Columbine.

    As horrific as Columbine was, it necessitated the birth of the anti-bullying movement in schools today. We know that Harris and Klebold were called "faggot" and shoved into lockers many times. Doesn't excuse, but is background and context, for their actions.

    I've subbed at Columbine…it is now one of the safest schools in Jeffco. Adults and security cams at every major intersection. Most high schools, a stranger can walk around without ID, without being challenged or questioned. Not at Columbine.

    And every school, even backward D60 here down in Pueblo, now has strict anti-bullying and harassment policies.  Kids who are being harassed now know to report it to an adult. Sometimes it's nothing, just silly kid stuff, but it doesn't feel that way to an 11-year-old, and adults do listen to a kid's bullying stories now.

    Schools now also have much greater tolerance for their "misfits", those who don't fit into any clique. The gay kids and their allies now even have their own rainbow-haired, multi-pierced clique.  It's become a part of the high school culture.

    My son, when he graduated in 2000 from the CIS program within West HS in Denver, had some insight about why West kids wouldn't turn on each other, a la Columbine. He said that everyone knows that they are all in the same boat, have the same challenges, face the same dangers on the street, from gangs, from random violence, from violence at home.  They wouldn't bring that danger into school, because school is the only safe place in their lives.

    I also learned the futility of trying to address social problems through "dress code rules". When Columbine happened, my son had bought an expensive full-length black leather coat. It was the fashion, after the "Matrix" movies came out.  The immediate response of adults was to make a dress code rule" no full length coats. Then, no bulky parkas. And on and on. That's what adults do, when confronted with inexplicable, out of control, adolescent behaviors. Adults try to control what they can, i.e., the dress code.

    And, of course, Columbine brought into vivid focus the notion that someone paranoid, with mental health challenges and a real or imagined feeling of persecution, now has easy access to guns and the means to express their rage in the world.  We've made very little progress in solving that cluster of problems since April 20, 1999.

    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      Indeed, mama. Little, if any. It breaks my heart.

      The fear and hatred that drives some to lash out, isn't essentially different from the fear and hatred that creates humans like Dudley Brown…

  2. Gray in Mountains says:

    CO did eliminate the gun show loophole. But, like most states, we do little to provide for mental health needs. It is atrocious and abominable

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