Remembering Columbine

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Last Friday, there were walkouts at schools across the nation to remember the Columbine High School shooting 19 years later, and to continue to bring light to the issue of gun control.

Columbine is often regarded as the instigating factor in the fight for gun control. Despite being such an impactful tragedy many students aren’t aware of its overarching influence and how it brought forth the waves of school shootings we are experiencing with unfortunate regularity today.

When  the Columbine shooting occurred in Littleton, Colo., on April 20, 1999,  it was the worst school shooting in modern American history.

Two senior boys, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, went on a shooting spree killing 13 people and injuring 20 others, before turning the guns on themselves and committing suicide. 

 This mass shooting ultimately resorted in national attention and a newfound fear of the accessibility and power that guns hold in our society. 

The two Columbine students had initially planned to place two large propane bombs that would detonate at approximately 11:17 a.m. in the school cafeteria. If this has been successful, it is estimated that approximately 600 students could have been injured or killed. 

But when the bombs failed to explode, Harris and Klebold began their shooting spree around campus. 

It was later discovered that the shooting was planned a year in advance and was supposed to be modeled after a 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, where a devastating explosion at a nine-story federal building killed 168 people and left 650 injured.

Following the Columbine shooting, a drastic increase occurred in the number of school shootings in the United States. 

A 2014 investigation by ABC News identified “at least 17 attacks and another 36 alleged plots or serious threats against schools since the assault on Columbine High School that can be tied to the 1999 massacre.”

As such there was also a parallel increase in the controversy surrounding the role of gun control in America. 

Nineteen years later, the fight continues without much progress being made. The protests that stemmed from mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., in February are reflective of this pent up frustration. 

For such a tragic event that spurred similar events to follow, many feel that the initiative taken to prevent incidents like Columbine has not been made a priority or even remotely evident to the public.

When attending school, students should be most worried about their next test or homework assignment, rather than possibly being shot on campus. 

Only by recognizing the impact of shootings like Columbine and Parkland can we effectively establish a plan for change.