Ten years after Columbine
Do you remember where you were 10 years ago today? The Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, was a moment in history I'll never forget.
I was a college student at the time, spending the semester abroad in Salamanca, Spain. My host mother, an elderly woman, burst into my room and started yelling in Spanish about how crazy Americans are, killing each other in their schools. She struggled with the word "Colorado," thinking it might have been my home state, Connecticut. I scurried out to an Internet cafe to get the details of what happened.
You'll find no shortage of news accounts about today's anniversary. Here's an A.P. update on the survivors. USA Today reports on the extra security that schools have added since Columbine, as well as the major school shootings since then. Reporter Dave Cullen, who covered the shootings, has published the book Columbine; he's interviewed in this Salon article.
There's also no shortage of public figures issuing statements on the anniversary and experts offering school safety tips. Yes, schools need to build students' social skills, pair them with needed social services and offer high-quality alternative programs for those who are chronically disruptive or violent. (All tips courtesy of the American Federation of Teachers.)
But perhaps the biggest variable is one schools can't control: kids' access to guns. As long as weapons like those used in Littleton 10 years ago are widely available, and as long as parents allow guns in their homes, those with the determination to cause deadly harm will have the means to do so. Here's a timeline from PBS outlining the gun control debate of the past decade.