Special 10th Anniversary Edition


Aftermath: The Ripple Effect and
Call To Conscience

by Erin McNamara



"Policy changes all the time. It is, indeed, people who need to initiate change. Not with the
red tape of Washington, D.C., but the far more complex task of looking in the mirror everyday."

The class of 2002...the last class of Columbine students to witness the events of April 20th, 1999, the 46 minutes that changed the world, graduated. They were freshmen then. During that time, the suicide deaths of star basketball player and Columbine student Greg Barnes and Carla Hochhalter, mother of Anne Marie Hochhalter, another shooting victim of that fateful day, still reverberated through the community.

"Survivor's Guilt", "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" and other psycho-babble become mainstays in conversation as the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the APA (American Psychiatric Association) battle out the effects of Luvox and Ritalin on suicidal/emotionally disturbed teens.
Michael Moore comes to town, climbs on his soapbox of sand pimping his own brand of self-righteousness and lining his own pockets with the movie, "Bowling For Columbine".

The media feeding frenzy begins to wane as they move on to another disturbing itinirary of school violence: Demming, New Mexico; Mt. Morris, Michigan; Savannah, Georgia; Lake Worth, Florida; Santee, California; Gary, Indiana; New Orleans, Louisiana; Red Lion, Pennsylvania; Cold Spring, Minnesota; Washington, D.C, Red Lake, Minnesota; Jacksonboro, Tennessee; and regretably and most recently in Colorado, Platte Canyon High School.

Each incident always referencing Columbine, like some sickening standard, posing the burning question: "What will the world remember"?

Columbine was not the first school shooting, and painfully will not be the last. George Santayana echoes this sentiment in his quote, "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

The decay in society's social fabric continues to spread, and with it, dire consequences. An observation of how things have changed over time was recently making it's rounds on the internet:

High School: 1957 vs. 2007

Scenario 1:
Jack goes quail hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck's gun rack.

1957 - Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.

2007 - School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Scenario 2:
Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school.

1957 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies.

2007 - Police called and SWAT team arrives—they arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged with assault and both expelled even though Johnny started it and Mark was just defending himself.

Scenario 3:
Jeffrey will not be still in class, he disrupts other students.

1957 - Jeffrey sent to the Principal's office and given a good paddling by the Principal. He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.

2007 - Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The school gets extra money from the state because Jeffrey has a disability.

Scenario 4:
Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school.

1957 - Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock.

2007 - The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. His car is then searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario 5:
Pedro fails high school English.

1957 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college.

2007 - Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English is then banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

This was, at one time, perhaps meant to be darkly humorous, but has somehow devolved into a vatic observation laden with irony. The foundation for such devolvement can perhaps be retraced to the passage of Roe vs. Wade in 1973, the government sanctioning of the devaluing of human life.

In 1996, Charles Derber wrote an almost prophetic book called, "The Wilding of America" in which he observed cultural deterioration and the actions of people like Susan Smith, OJ Simpson, Rob Marshall and the Menendez Brothers. Had Mr. Derber waited 3 more years his novel would have been significantly thicker by the tragedy of Columbine.

Though printed in 1996, Derber perhaps nailed the cause of such deviant behavior by citing that it is, "..a manifestation of degraded American individualism". Noting further, "Wilding is individualism run amok,' and that "Individualistic culture promotes the freedom of the individual and in it's healthy form nurtures human development and individual rights. In it's degraded form, it becomes license for unrestrained and sociopathic self interest.".

The sting of Columbine is still felt 10 years later, in many shapes and forms. The backlash of "zero tolerance" and the reformation of school policies affects people who don't even remember or barely remember Columbine. The Thunder Ridge student expelled for calling a female student who struck him first a "beaner" or the Overland student expelled for having a knife in the bottom of his backpack after going on a camping trip and forgetting to remove it.

Yet, with all such policies in place, even all over the world, it did nothing to stop the slaughter of High school students and innocent bystanders in Waiblingen, Germany as recent as last month. The Winnenden shootings now join the ranks of Red Lake, Pearl, Thurston, Platte Canyon, Nickel Mines, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, Erfurt and countless others which school violence have shattered their community.

Such events invoke the questions, "What will be the last bastion of civil society?" Policy changes all the time. It is, indeed, people who need to initiate change. Not with the red tape of Washington, D.C., but the far more complex task of looking in the mirror everyday.


| Editor's Message | News | Feature Story
Archive | About Us | Write to Us | Main LFC Site
Columbine Links | Related Links
LFCNews Store

We depend in part on word of mouth to spread the news about LFCNews.com. If you enjoyed reading this newsletter, please forward it to a friend or two. If you wish to receive LFCNews automatically or unsubscribe, click here.

Copyright © 2000 - 2009 The Lullaby for Columbine Project.
All Rights Reserved.