Today is a very important day. And no, I’m not talking about for potheads.
4/20 will forever live as the infamous day when two students walked into a high school in Colorado and killed 13 people before taking their own lives. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Their names don’t carry the same level of recognition that others might…but when you hear them; you remember. Kind of like a weird Trivial Pursuit clue or something.
That was ten years ago today. A full decade has gone by.
People say that our generation, the younger generation who grew up on grunge music and 90s trends, that we all lost our collective innocence on 9/11. Maybe they’re right. Maybe that was the straw that broke the camel’s back as they say. But we certainly saw a little slip away after Columbine.
I was 11 at the time. Just old enough to understand what had happened and why it was terrible; but maybe not experienced enough to know truly what it meant. That’s when everything kind of started. There were more shootings after that (leading to the Virginia Tech incident a few years ago). I’m not sure if there were actually more of them; or if they just got reported on more because of what happened in Colorado.
Suddenly anyone wearing a trench coat was considered a risk or suspicious; kids who appeared to be outcast from the more popular groups in high schools were talked about and watched maybe just a little closer. Video games were now the root of all evil, the source of all this teenage violence.
We all had to grow up a little more than we wanted to after Columbine. We were thrust more into the real world. The responsibility to take notice of our surroundings became more important than it normally would be for someone still getting used to having their age be comprised of two numbers instead of just a single digit.
So as I sit here, now ten years gone I wonder how much the world and all of us have changed. Have we truly made strides to prevent these sorts of things? Have we “learned” from what happened a decade ago? I hope so, I truly do. In the aftermath of tragedies like Columbine, people do say “well we’ll come out of this stronger.” Or “we will use this tragedy to make ourselves better in the future.” We say all of that, but do we ever follow through? Are we in fact now better? Or did we just say all of that at the time to make it hurt a little less. To make it all a little more bearable.
And ten years from now, will I still be asking the same questions?
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