Remembering Columbine 20 years later


Lenore Ferguson

April 20th, 2019 marks an important day for America. Exactly 20 years ago on this day, America suffered the largest school shooting (at the time).
America had suffered school shootings before Columbine, but nothing to this scale. Columbine was so significant because the law enforcement at the time on the scene were not properly trained to take down an armed gunmen in a school full of teenagers.
Columbine resulted in 15 deaths, including the two shooters, a teacher and 12 students. 21 additional people were injured in the massacre.
In the morning of April 20th, 1999, two armed gunmen entered Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado. The two students were both seniors attending the school, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. They targeted students and faculty in the school, specifically jocks.
The two students, however, planned on the massacre to be much more severe. Harris and Klebold had planted homemade bombs in the school cafeteria that were set to detonate at 11:17 a.m., during the first school lunch and as the students who survived fled the scene, the two predators planned on shooting and stabbing the students exiting the building.
Luckily, this did not happen. The shooters, after realizing the bombs had not gone off, began entering the school at 11:19 a.m. Rachel Scott and her friend, Richard Castaldo, whom were having lunch at the front field were Harris’ and Klebold’s first encounters and subsequently, their first targets.
Police were contacted at 11:23 a.m. after the school’s assigned resource officer heard on his radio that a female was down and there was an active shooter in the school. However, SWAT was stationed outside of the school by noon after the two students had murdered 13 people and proceeded to commit suicide. SWAT did not enter the school until 1:09 p.m.
April 20th, 1999 is a tremendously important day because it marked the day the law enforcement realized times were changing, and they had to change too. Since the Columbine High School massacre, police response to active shooters has significantly improved. Gun laws have also changed, although not as fast as many Americans had hoped for.
Years later, a memorial has been built. Throughout the year, thousands of people come to pay respects to the victims of the massacre, especially in the month of April.
Although in the month of April America remembers the lives of the 13 students: Rachel Scott, Daniel Rohrbough, Dave Sanders, Kyle Velasquez, Steven Curnow, Cassie Bernall, Isaiah Shoels, Matthew Kechter, Lauren Townsend, John Tomlin, Kelly Fleming, Daniel Mauser and Corey DePooter, we also remember all the other mass school shootings and plan on ways in order to prevent future school shootings.