A SOMBER ANNIVERSARY

April 19, 2019 at 4:45 am

It’s been 20 years since the massacre at  Columbine, yet the school shootings continue. A look for answers and possible solutions.

Aired on April 18, 2019.

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>>> 1999, ON THAT DAY, TWO
HEAVILY ARMED STUDENTS, ERIC
HARRIS AND DYLAN KLEBOLD WALKED
INTO THEIR HIGH SCHOOL AND
KILLED 13 PEOPLE BEFORE TURNING
THEIR GUNS ON THEMSELVES.
IT IS NOW FOREVER SEARED INTO
THE NATION'S PSYCHE AS IS THE
NAME OF THE SCHOOL BY WHICH THE
MASSACRE WILL ALWAYS BE KNOWN.
COLUMBINE.
IT WAS AT THE TIME THE DEADLIEST
SCHOOL SHOOTING IN AMERICA'S
HISTORY BUT SINCE THEN, THERE
HAS BEEN A PROLIFERATION OF MASS
SLAUGHTERS, SOME OF THEM
COMMITTED BY THE COLUMBINE
KILLERS.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED SINCE
COLUMBINE IS THIS WHY DO MASS
SHOOTINGS CONTINUE IN THIS
COUNTRY?
WHAT HAPPENS TO COMMUNITIES THAT
HAVE BEEN VICTIMS OF THESE
EVENTS WHEN THE TV CAMERAS GO
AWAY?
COULD THINGS REALLY CHANGE AFTER
PARKLAND?
JOINING US TO TALK ABOUT ALL
THIS, THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK,
COLUMBINE, WIDELY CONSIDERED THE
DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF THE
COLUMBINE SHOOTING.
DAVE, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.
>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.
>> NOW, DAVE, WHAT ARE THE CHIEF
LESSONS THAT WE SHOULD HAVE
LEARNED FROM COLUMBINE AND HAVE
WE BY AND LARGE LEARNED THEM?
>> WELL, THERE ARE LESSONS AND
WE'VE GOTTEN EITHER AN "A" OR AN
"F."
THE COPS HAVE COMPLETELY CHANGED
THEIR TACTICS.
SCHOOLS HAVE CREATED LOCKDOWN
DRILLS AND TRAINED TEACHERS AND
STUDENTS FOR ALL SORTS OF
THINGS, ADDED ALL SORTS OF
SECURITY MEASURES.
I WOULD GIVE AN "A" ON THAT.
IN TERMS OF GETTING THE TEACHERS
AND ESPECIALLY STUDENTS TO BE
AWARE, IN THE SEE SOMETHING, SAY
SOMETHING IDEA, AND KIDS
REPORTING THEM TO FOIL THINGS
BEFORE THEY HAPPEN, ALSO DOING
FANTASTIC.
MANY MORE ARE FOILED NOW THAN
ACTUALLY GO THROUGH.
BUT THEN A COUPLE OTHER AREAS
WHERE WE'VE FAILED MISERABLY.
AND MOST OF THESE TURN OUT TO
BE, THE VAST MAJORITY TURN OUT
TO BE SUICIDALLY DEPRESSED KIDS.
THEY REALLY START FUNDAMENTALLY
AS A SUICIDE WHICH BECOMES AN
AGGRESSIVE HOMICIDE AS WELL.
SO THE ISSUE IS TEEN DEPRESSION
AND EVEN SCREENING FOR TEEN
DEPRESSION.
WE HAVE DONE ZERO.
SO THAT'S APPALLING.
WE GET AN "F" THERE.
MAYBE WORST OF ALL IS THE GUNS
ISSUE.
WHERE THESE ONLY HAPPEN AFTER
THE MASSIVE NUMBERS BECAUSE OF
GUNS.
NOT ONLY AN "F."
WE'VE ACTUALLY RETREATED.
AT THE TIME OF COLUMBINE, THERE
WAS AN ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN WHICH
HAS EXPIRED.
SO WE'VE MADE ZERO PROGRESS AND
WE'VE GONE BACKWARDS.
>> LET'S TURN TO THE MEDIA.
AS YOU KNOW, SOME CRITICS ARGUE
THAT THE MEDIA IS IN SOME WAY,
COMPLICIT WITH THESE KILLINGS.
BECAUSE AT LEAST PART OF
MOTIVATION IS TO GET WIDE
ATTENTION AND THEY KNOW THEY
WILL, AFTER THE EVENT, FROM 24/7
COVERAGE IN THE MEDIA.
WOULD YOU GO THAT FAR?
>> I THINK THE MEDIA IS TOTALLY
COMPLICIT.
WHEN YOU SEE THESE KILLERS,
THEY'RE LASHING OUT.
IT IS NOT SO MUCH ABOUT SEEKING
FAME OR NOTORIETY.
IT IS MORE A DESIRE TO BE HEARD
AND TO FEEL POWERFUL.
NEARLY ALL OF THEM FEEL HELPLESS
AND HOPELESS.
THEY FEEL EXCLUDED AND KIND OF
PATHETIC.
SO THEY'RE AT THE END OF THEIR
ROPE.
AND THEY'RE JUST LITERALLY DYING
FOR ATTENTION.
TO FEEL POWERFUL AND TO FEEL
HEARD.
SO WE IN THE MEDIA GIVE THEM THE
MICROPHONE.
THE POWER, THE FOUR TO FIVE DAYS
OF GLORY WHERE THEY'RE THE
BIGGEST STAR IN THE WORLD.
SO WE ARE HANDING THAT TO HELP.
PARKLAND REALLY FIT THAT SCRIPT.
EVERYONE KNOWS THEM.
BECAUSE THEY MADE THEMSELVES
MORE INTERESTING THAN THE
KILLER.
MOST PEOPLE DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT
THE KILLER'S NAME IS.
SO PERHAPS THEY'VE CREATED A
TEMPLATE WHERE OTHER SURVIVORS
FOLLOW IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS AND DO
THE SAME THING.
NOW MAYBE THE VICTIMS WILL BE
MORE INTERESTING THAN THE
KILLERS AND WE'VE DIMINISHED THE
KILLERS.
INSTEAD OF THE MEDIA DOING IT,
MAYBE THE SURVIVORS CAN DO IT.
THEY'VE SEEN SO MUCH LESS
TRAUMATIZED.
THE COLUMBINE VICTIMS, IT WAS
SUCH A LEFT HOOK, RIGHT HOOK OUT
OF NOWHERE.
IT WAS ATTE
IT WAS TANTAMOUNT TO ALIENS
ATTACKING.
IT WAS SHOOTERING THE WORLD VIEW
OF WHAT WAS SAFE AND WHAT
DANGERS WERE OUT THERE AND
THINGS THEY HAD NEVER
CONSIDERED.
SO THAT WAS JUST THIS
UNTHINKABLE THING THAT HAPPENED
AND SHATTERED THE WORLD VIEW.
WITH PARKLAND, THEY DIDN'T GO
THROUGH IT THAT WAY.
IT WAS MORE LIKE, A HORRIBLE
FIRE HAD COME TO THE SCHOOL.
I SAY THAT BECAUSE THEY DID FIRE
DRILLS, LOCK DOWN DRILLS.
THESE ARE KNOWN THROUGHOUT THE
BEST PART OF THE WORLD.
A LOCKDOWN DRILL.
THEY KNOW IT WILL HAPPEN TO
SOMEONE AND NOW IT HAPPEN TO US.
SO WHEN IT SWEPT THROUGH, IT
WOULD BE AWFUL.
FRIENDS ARE DEAD BUT FIRES
HAPPEN.
IT DIDN'T SHATTER OUR WORLD VIEW
THAT THERE WAS A FIRE.
NOW, TO TAKE THAT ANALOGY A
LITTLE FURTHER, IF THERE WERE
ONGOING FIRES BECAUSE BUILDINGS
WERE BEING IGNORED, AND WE COULD
DO SOMETHING AND WE WERE NOT,
AND WE WERE LETTING KIDS DIE BY
ALL THESE FIRES, THAT IS WHAT
THIS IS HERE.
THERE IS THIS KNOWN THREAT.
ALL WE DO IS PLAN FOR AFTER
SOMEBODY IS SHOOTING SOMEBODY.
AND WE HAVEN'T DONE ANYTHING TO
STOP THE PROBLEM SO THESE KIDS,
THEY GREW ONE THIS KNOWN THREAT
BUT REALLY PISSED OFF.
WHY IS THERE THIS THREAT AND
YOU'RE LETTING US DIE.
YOU'RE CHOOSING TO LET YOUR KIDS
DIE.
AND IT MAY BE YOUR KIDS NEXT,
WHO KNOWS?
BUT SOME OF US WILL DIE.
>> ALL RIGHT.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US
TODAY.
>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.
AN IMPORTANT TOPIC.
APPRECIATE IT.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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