I have always had a fascination with forensics and crime. I really have no idea why, there’s no deep dark story that contributes to the reasoning behind my interest in understanding what makes people tick and do the things they do. So, when I stumbled across the book Columbine by David Cullen while browsing the aisles of Barnes & Noble last weekend I didn’t hesitate to pick it up.
I was fourteen when the Columbine massacre took place, old enough to remember and comprehend what happened but too young to really understand the impact that had on our country, that community, and how something so unbelievably tragic becomes spoken about in hushed tones for the rest of time. I imagine that even seeing the title of this post evoked some sort of physical or emotional response in you.
Once I started reading I got sucked into not only the story, but also thinking about how the storm it created in the media both during and after April 20, 1999. It is a difficult story to read, I’m struggling with the emotional response that comes from reading the details of that day and the frustration that comes with learning about all of it 17 years later when really, nothing much has changed. Did we learn anything? Are we kinder to people that we encounter on a day to day basis? I don’t think so.
I knew as soon as I read the first chapter of Columbine that I would write about it, about the tragedy of it all but as I started looking for more information on the internet I became distracted by the amount of people capitalizing on this unspeakable killing of 13 people, the injury of 24 additional people, and the terrorism of hundreds of students and their families. People have sold t-shirts designed after what the killers had on during the massacre, pinterest boards are dedicated to admiration of the two teenage boys that executed the mass killing of their peers. It disgusted me. But, I suppose I contribute to it by reading a book that outlines every detail of that day and the aftermath that it caused.
As I am in the midst of participating in a challenge that forces me to look for the kindness around me, I can’t help but think that we aren’t kind enough to each other. Our automatic response to judge, to be negative, to poke at insecurities, and make people feel bad about themselves in order to boost our own confidence is weighing us all down. The world seems a little heavier when you think about it. Maybe Rachel Scott was right, maybe if we could show some compassion to those around us, it would start a chain reaction and create a more kind world.