This Monday marks 10 years since the Columbine shootings. There has been a lot of activity on NPR news- interviews with teachers that were there that day, as well as parents who lost a child or had a child that was shot and is now in a wheelchair. Touching stories I had never heard.
I was a senior at Conifer High School, and at the time was dating a junior who attended Columbine. In the middle of symphonic band rehearsal I received a phone call in the office from my mom. She told me there were shootings happening at Columbine High School- like, right now, shootings going on. She didn't have any more info for me. Immediately, I left school and flew down the mountain back to Littleton where I lived with my mom and step dad. I paged my boyfriend (no cell phones yet). I paged him again and again. No call. I paged a friend of his that went to school there. No call back. All I could do was wait. Wait and watch the news as bits and pieces of the story were revealed. Two boys, two students at Columbine, came to school carrying semi-automatic weapons and began shooting people. It was chaos. No one knew what the hell happened really, or why. We just had to wait. Eventually the SWAT teams got in and were able to help some students leave the school. Footage of children running in single-file to safety. Kids crying into cameras as they explained what they witnessed.
Finally my boyfriend called. I raced over to his house. His story was frightening. He had barricaded himself, along with a bunch of other students, into a closet in the cafeteria's kitchen. He heard gunshots, he heard the two shooters voices. He held the door as one of the shooters tried to get in, but luckily was unable to. Trapped in a closet for hours. He was lucky to be alive.
The the death tolls started coming in. A teacher was dead. Kids were dead. People my bf knew, close friends were dead or barely hanging on to life. We watched the news all day and into the night. There was nothing else to do. My bf sat in shock, unable to grasp the day's horrors. I didn't know how to help him, except to sit with him, listen when he wanted to talk, watch TV in silence when he didn't. We were all in shock, but we had not seen what he had seen. We had not jumped over the dead bodies of our friends while running out of the school. We had not seen a child begging for his life, only to be shock point blank in the head.
We were just 17 years old. It's hard to believe 10 years have gone by since that tragic day. Listening to the stories on NPR, I still tear up, thinking about how people's lives were stolen from them. And the parents...Darrell Scott's father had to deal with the loss of his daughter, as well as the emotional scarring of his son who was also at school that day. What these families have been through is unimaginable.