Bang, bang, the sound echoes throughout the school. Screams coming from every direction, students running trying to escape or even hide. Parents fearing for the worst. Asking themselves and the police is my child okay? Is he/she alive? This essay will argue the Columbine High School massacre of 1999, is just an event is just of many that shows and explains what the impact on hiding parts of hiding one’s identity can be. The first thing that you need to know is the background story of that dreadful day. After learning that information we can identify the pros and cons of that day. I want to explain that even after such an awful event we can still find positives in the end.
On the day of April 20, 1999, one of the biggest school shootings occurred. It was labeled as “The Columbine Massacre”. It took place at Columbine High school in Littleton, Colorado. It started out like any other day until two students by the name of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered the high school armed and shooting. They injured twenty-one students, along with killing twelve other students, a teacher, and then themselves. It is said that the victims and the injured were shot for the fun of it and others for standing up for what they believe(d). In one of the books, I recently read it told the story of a girl, what happened, and what she said in her last few moments. The girl’s name was Cassie Bernall. During her last moments, she was asked the question “Do you believe in God?” She knew that her answer could still kill her. Her final word was “yes”. (Bernall, M. 1999). My brother just recently told me that his Bible teacher had met Cassie Bernall a couple times. When I asked him what he knew about her he said: ” she was a nice girl that I only met a couple times.” (Osten Coaty, 2018). He and I talked about how it was a sad day for everyone and how amazing it is that she stood up for her faith even though she knew it would mean her death. The fact that she stood her ground through those last few moments is amazing. One will do anything or say anything in hopes of a different future. Another story that is told is Rachel Scott’s. It is said that she was the first to die that day. In both stories, Cassie and Rachel’s their siblings survived the attacked and have been able to tell their stories. Her story and some of the other victims, stories have been told. For some, it is too hard to talk about. Very few survivors are willing to tell their story today. This day sparked the rise in school shootings everywhere.
Figure 1. https://www.nationalenquirer.com/photos/columbine-high-school-shootings-bloody-crime-scene-photos-dylan-eric/
After knowing the background of the massacre, it gives us the ability to identify the pros and cons of the massacre. The cons that come from events like this are fear, submission, nightmares, emotional and physical scars left behind can result in PTSD. On that fear was everywhere. Students feared for their lives, whether they would live and be able to say “goodbye I love you.” When you are in fear you can become vulnerable. One can freeze up and not have the ability to try and run. When it comes to submission it means that they have given up and they will say and do whatever is asked of them just to try and live. Nightmares are another con from the massacre. The nightmares come from the fearful memories left behind on that horrific day. For some, they may never go away. In one of the articles I read, it stated even to this day the students, parents, and staff still have reoccurring nightmares from that day.” (cite) it also stated that nearly 20 years later, Columbine survivors say some physical and emotional scars the bear will never disappear.” What happened that day will never leave them both physically and emotionally. My final con is death. On that day twelve students and a teacher were, murdered in cold blood. While reading the book “She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall” by Misty Bernall it tells how Cassie was asked by the shooters “Do you believe in God?” The young girl told the shooters “yes” and she was shot in the head. That girl stood up for what she believed even though it meant she was going to die.
When it comes to a massacre all one thinks and see are the cons from the event. With pain and destruction, there can be some good in the end. Remember there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I was asked multiple times “what pros come from a shooting or a massacre?” my response was yes there are lots of cons and it is difficult to find the positives that come from such a horrific day, but I found three positives. One positive the ability to better identify student(s) who have problems, mental health issues that then can result in becoming shooters. Having the ability to identify the characteristics, symptoms, and behaviors. The first is standing up for what one believes no matter who they are, what they believe, or what people think of them. Having the strength and perseverance inside makes a difference. No matter what someone says don’t let it affect you. Through this life-changing event some of the survivors gained the strength to live, tell their stories, help others and being supportive. Others who have also experienced shootings and tragedies like this. They can show them love and compassion. In Craig Scott’s video, he spoke of something his sister had written. Craig’s sister’s name was Rachel Scott. Rachel wrote, “I have this theory that if one person will go out of their way to show compassion it will start a chain reaction of the same.” the final pro that I have is the memories. It is remembered as a disastrous day, a day of death, to this day everyone has the ability to show that they care and that those students and a teacher that died that day will not be forgotten and neither will their memories.
In the end, one must realize that even in a dark time there are some who will stand up for themselves and what they believe, whether it is religion, family, or race. Craig Scott is just one example. He tells his story and his sister’s story challenging people to “find five people in your life that mean something to them, that they love, and tell them how much they value them, how much they appreciate them, how much they care about them.” he was able to put a positive turn on a dreadful event. Every day I try to find at least one positive even if it is a bad day. Even if it has to be, I woke up today. One positive thing can make a difference. Be encouraging to others. There are two quotes that can be helpful when having a rough day. The first quote is “no matter how good or bad you think life is, wake up each day and be thankful for life. Someone somewhere else is fighting to survive.” -Unknown. The second quote is “Every day may not be good but there is something good in every day.” – Unknown. We have must remember that even when something bad happens we can find something positive.
Figure 2. http://www.acolumbinesite.com/victim/mem/15crosses.jpg