Could I Survive the ‘Quietest Place on Earth’?
When the sound of a gun goes off, when an armed and uniformed SWAT team bursts onto a school campus, the feeling that you’ve just witnessed horror in its purest and most sinister form reaches me. I was there with my friends on the night of January 6, 1992 when the Columbine High School shooting took place in Littleton, Colorado. I remember being there, seeing it, feeling the helplessness of seeing a gunman shoot his way into a school full of innocent kids, and being scared for my friends because of their age and in many ways, my own. I was a sophomore in high school when Columbine happened. I was one of the only kids who had attended Columbine’s Christmas Eve party the previous year. So I had never actually been to the school, what would happen that night when the school locked down, and where, exactly, all of the kids were. I also knew nothing about the shooting except that I was terrified and that my friends were scared too. I knew I was more scared because I had only really been a target once before, in high school, where I had been shot at and told to leave the school by a bully. So I was never quite ready to be ‘done’ with my life. I was more like a ‘wait and see’ person. I was very quiet, and I was really scared. What would happen? What would I do exactly, and where was all of this going to take me? Where was the SWAT team going to take me at Columbine? As I remember, after Columbine, I had a feeling of helplessness, not knowing what would happen and that I would be one of the ‘cans’, the kids who would not survive. I was too scared to be able to leave the school. I had a friend who was a senior that day and he told me he saw some really bad ass dudes. He said a guy had gone to a school to do this, and after he did, he opened the back door and all of the kids went and ran. He said that the police were shooting at them from the rooftops. It was like I had been there. I was afraid and yet didn’t know what was going on. I