I was a senior at Lake Washington High School. Life was simple, everything was fun for me. Even the pre-college writing class that I was heading into. But as I walked into that class room, something very unusal was happening. The TV was on and everyone was watching as Columbine High School was experiencing the worst thing that could ever happen, two gunmen assaulted the school and were holding students and faculty hostage.
As we watched this event unfold we saw helicopter footage of students escaping through windows, swat teams surrounding the building, students in the parking lot crying because they saw their friends get shot. We were all glued to the screens and asking the same thing. How could this possibly happen?
This was not the first school shooting that I had heard about on the news. Columbine was different though. The magnitude of the violence, the methodical planning of Harris and Klebold, and the fact that all of this was playing out on live TV seared this memory into my mind.
The stories that would come out of this tragedy were heartbreaking. The accounts of students standing up for their faith were inspiring. And the personal torment of Harris and Klebold were devestating; so much hurt and rage in such young guys.
Having kids now, I’m cautious of who is around my kids. I’m even more aware of the fact that my kids need to know how much I love them, and I need to be sure that our house is a house of healing and safety. I can’t control what happens outside of the house, but I can ensure that my house is a safe place for my kids.
Columbine taught me a lot. And I’m sure that there will be many voices talking about this event today, but the most important lesson I learned is that I need to keep my eyes, ears and heart open to hurting people. I need to speak life and not death to those in pain, and while I can’t fix everyone’s problems, I can be a voice of love in a world consumed with hate. These anniversaries are good reminders of that.