Letters to the Editor

Paper Trail
Now that both dailies have their Pulitzers (as Michael Roberts predicted and then recapped in his April 13 Message), maybe they'll quit forcing Columbine onto Page 1 day by day, month by month. And since the local and national media, the jocks-rule administrators, some parents and students and the pious preachers have kept healing from happening, they've given the killers even more than they sought with their sick actions.

Why not just name the memorial park and the library for Harris/Klebold?
Judy Huff

Although we have all felt the aftereffects of the Columbine shootings, most of us do not know the pain of the true victims. As we all know, this was a tragic event, and it should have been prevented. Through all of the newspaper articles and TV stories, not only are we, the public, disillusioned about what actually happened at Columbine, but we feel it is our place to remember the people who are no longer with us.

Although I share the sentiment that it is important to remember our classmates and the students at Columbine, I also feel that the media has imposed itself upon the families of Columbine too much. We are the public, and we have a right to know; however, when we're not reading about specific details and how the case is being dealt with by local officials, the news isn't really news -- it's entering people's personal lives for the enjoyment of the media. Over the past year, we've all rehashed the stories, experiences, pain, hurt and maybe even guilt for not paying attention to our own kids. But what happened at Columbine happened a year ago. And the families of the victims will always remember what happened there, without a front-page article on a survivor's story.

Last week was filled with more Columbine stories than I wanted to read. Perhaps what the papers needed to print last Thursday was nothing. Maybe a completely blank page should have graced our newspapers that morning to signify that we do care, without the same stories we've read over and over. A blank front page would have proved that the media does care, but it would not have interfered with people's lives. A blank page would have meant whatever it needed to, to whomever needed it to mean something. And we would all have taken a minute to reflect on what we've learned, to ensure that this doesn't happen again.
Lelah Simon
via the Internet

I was going out on the afternoon of April 20 when I turned on the TV to catch the noon news. From the moment that I realized it was a live broadcast of something happening in Littleton, where I live, I couldn't continue my day, couldn't turn it off. I will never forget seeing two young girls sitting in the window with a sign saying "Help us." I heard the descriptions of the killers and heard that they were in the library. I saw a sign saying "I'm bleeding to death" inside one window. I saw Patrick Ireland's jump in real time.

And the only thing that kept running through my mind as the hours passed was, "Where are the police? Why are they hiding behind vehicles around the perimeter instead of going in?" I ran to other apartments where people had their TVs on, asking the question again and again. No one had the answer.

The next day I went to the park and spoke with a policeman guarding the drive to the library. The gist of the conversation was that no policeman had been hurt, to which I replied that was nothing to be proud of. That should be a matter of shame in a situation where unarmed people were stuck inside a building for hours waiting for help. If the SWAT squad -- with shields and high-powered rifles -- was afraid to go in, then what good were they? I'm sorry, but I still see it that way. I've read the stories about problems with radio communication, I've heard the argument that a dead officer can't help anyone, I've heard that one SWAT squad was in there quickly but didn't know where the shooters were -- none of it washes. Janitors had more courage and saved people by locking classroom doors; paramedics had more courage and went in to pull people out who were near the entrance; Dave Sanders had more courage. If that is what we can expect from our trained and armed SWAT squads, then a big shakeup is needed -- especially in the leadership area.

I know hindsight is 20/20, but I was watching it all as it happened.
Eleanor Grogg
via the Internet

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