5/5 Columbine Reflections

Reading this book was sort of cathartic to me, mainly because I never knew the full story behind Columbine. I knew just as much as the next guy about it (unless of course the next guy was Dave Cullen.) Honestly though, I absolutely love how this was written.

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” You know how some things you read, stick with you? They’re usually just random things that float to the top of your head every once in a while, that’s what this quote did to me. It was introduced in the very first page of the novel, after the acknowledgments, and it followed with me throughout the entirety of the story. It’s just so fitting to this story, in every aspect. Bill Clinton recited that quote at the introduction of a fundraiser for the Columbine memorial and I think it stuck with others as well.

These poor people went through so many trials while grieving their child’s death. It was honestly, one thing after the next. Frankly, the police department didn’t help much either. Their lack of involvement at the initial shooting made me angry already, but the lies about information? I guess I just can’t sympathize that when it involves a child’s life. Some of those kids were my age!! I’d want my parents to fight just as hard. At the same time, most of the problems arose from people who were not even involved with the shooting. It was the public that caused all the trouble. Aside from all the outside conflicts, these families have the weight of the world on their shoulders. Anne Marie spent her time after Columbine trying to walk again, which is already enough for one kid’s life. Then shortly after, her mother killed herself. How does someone move on from all that?

It also breaks my heart for the Klebolds and Harrises because their lives are practically over. They’re “the killers” parents. They can’t even go out without an encounter. They pray that people won’t recognize them in public.

The people involved, were not able to fully move on until almost a decade after the shooting. Things from depression, PTSD, major injuries, and the people missing from their lives held them back. This shooting put a hole in our nation and it took a lot of time for us to heal. The ending of the novel gives me hope though, “Thirteen doves were released. Seconds later, two hundred more fluttered free — an arbitrary number, to signify everyone else. They scattered up in all directions. For a moment, they seemed to fill the entire sky. Then they found one another and coalesced into a single flock, a massive white cloud weaving from left to right and back again, against the clear blue sky.” The author definitely meant for that to leave the reader feeling hopeful, and he more than achieved that. This book was amazing and I’m glad I had the opportunity to read it.

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