Sunday, April 20, 2008

Columbine Massacre

On April 20th, 1999 Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold attacked Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. They shot and killed 12 students and one of their teachers. They were messed-up individuals who made a horrible choice. And lives were lost. Stolen. Robbed.

I was 14 - I'd just had my birthday 3 days before. I had just begun to feel as though I had friends, like I was stable, I was enjoying my life. And my parents (in the midst of this) sold their house. And we were moving to Vermont. I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. And then there was Columbine.

I don't know if it was that I was already in a fragile emotional state. Or if something spiritual happend. But from the moment I heard about it, I became obsessed. I clipped the articles, I watched the news. I talked about the massacre, about the people - their names (first and last), their ages, their interests. I became scared of everything. And death became forefront in my mind.

I went into a downward spiral of depression. Granted, it was 14 year old depression and it was mild - but to me it was horrible. I was sure I would die (for one reason or another) before January 1, 2000.

I moved to Vermont and felt even more than before that I'd had the rug ripped out from under me. We moved to a small farmtown and I had no friends. But we were travelling every week, and one week we went to Lima, NY. I visited a youth group. I knew one of the guys in the group - but we were at odds (as in, not speaking, but his mom made him take me). So we got split into groups of four and told to pray with each other - for anything we were going through.

I had stopped crying. I refused to cry. Refused to talk. Was very angry. Shut down. And for some strange reason, I opened up to these three girls and told them what I was feeling. About how I hated my life and how I thought about death a lot.

And they prayed for me.

I'm still alive aren't I?

I walked out that night, feeling like I different person. Life was different from that moment. Yeah, it's been rough, but I was released from that - whatever you want to call it - depression, anxiety, fear, oppression. Whatever.

I was set free.

And I was thinking about Columbine today, about how young people and how when they die it's such a robbery.

Last week, in New Zealand, six high school students and their teacher died on a school camp. They were walking in a river (with a guide) when the river had a flash flood. Four students and the guide lived. The others didn't get to the riverbank before they reached the dam. They were from Howick Elim Christian College. The church we've decided to go to is Tauranga Elim (same denomination, different city). Our pastor just came from that church - those kids were in his youth group. In his tight knit mentorship group. He's met with two of those boys every week for the past two years. The head boy (class president) from their class came to our church on Sunday.

And it got me thinking about our death of young people, children, and babies is a robbery of life. About how a family feels robbed. About how we feel our sons, our daughters were stolen from us.

Another girl was found in a river over the weekend. A baby was beaten to death. All in New Zealand.


I find it easy to hear about someone else losing their child (if I don't know them personally). But it's getting harder and harder - now that I know what it feels like.

Yes, good things may come from our children's deaths - but they still died. They were still stolen.
We still have to live without them.
Comfort is only so comforting.
Our children are still dead.

Our wedding photo
9 July 2005
Posted by Picasa


  1. Your wedding photo is just sweet and in love :)

  2. Wow...talking about Columbine brought back a lot of bad memories...but I'm certain that these things NEED to be remembered. BTW, You LOOK GORGEOUS! I don't think you've changed much though! :) Yay for April birthdays, mine is the 7th!

  3. Beautifully written, Susie.

    Tell me, what goes through your mind when you look at your wedding photos now?

  4. Beautifully written, Susie.

    Tell me, what goes through your mind when you look at your wedding photos now?

  5. I live in Littleton, Colorado and remember the Columbine massacre like it was yesterday, and there's word in the news this morning about another kid in the Carolinas who tried to blow up his school, boasting that he "admired" the Columbine killers. Terrible. Many people I work with had students at Columbine, my sister, an ER MD, treated many off those wounded in the stampede, and her hospital finally had to go on divert cuz they just had too many patients to handle. Touched many lives and the memory still hurts. The problem there was oblivious parents, kids with few boundaries, and peer pressure and bullying. The problem persists, and as long as it does, there will be kids who think and act this way. =(

  6. I remember the day of Columbine...I, like you, was obsessed with it. I watched the news, read every article, and even years later, searched the internet to find everything I could. I remember this day like it was yesterday.

    With all the death of young people today, I sometimes wonder how I made it...I never went through school shootings, mall shooting, a tragic car And this is the one answer I am sure of...because the Lord has a plan...a plan for my life and He, and He alone, has numbered my days. He will take me up when He is good and ready to...and on that day, I will Priase His name!

  7. I find it kinda funny...everytime I see your wedding date, because ya'll got married just a few weeks before we did:) 07/22/05)....and when we somehow found out you were pregnant:) Gosh! I thought we'd never get back in touch:) lol...
    Hope you indeed have a safe trip:)
    and yes....I agree....children are precious and it is horrid sad, when bad things happen to them....
    That is why I work where I do...for now...and why I am going into the field that I have looked into....

  8. You're in a very reflective mood today. Can you believe all you've been through in life already?

    Have a great time off!

  9. I was hoping you would post a wedding photo...and you did! What a lovely sweet picture of two people very much in love. toodles, Sheila

  10. That wedding picture is one of my favorite of you two. What a precious moment captured. Hope you have a lovely time away. Love you lots!

  11. You amaze me with your wisdom and insight for such a young woman! You teach so very much with your vibrant, resilant personality.
    I too had some soul searching rememberance here in OK. We passed the 13th anniversary of the OKC Bombing. I wrote about it too. If just to get it out and ask others to not forget the senselessness of it.
    I so hope and pray your time away will be cherished and renewing.

  12. I, too, remember the Columbine attacks. I went through college and trained as a teacher. My world changed at that instant. I had a 2 year old son and a new infant daughter at the time. It was then that the ideas about their education came into my mind. We place so much trust in schools to raise our children the way we would, but somewhere we fail some children miserably. We are blessed to have our children attending a christian school (which does not necessarily make them safer) where they are prayed for and with by staff who love them as their own children. God's word is spoken daily there which is a comfort to me.
    I loved your wedding picture! Very beautiful.

  13. Hoping you are enjoying your time away! You deserve it!