School daze: Is it really a wonder? In regard to Alan Prendergast's "Back to School," the shockingly tragic, but stunningly true, article on the Columbine massacre published in the October 25 issue, I have but a few things to say.
I may be young, but I hardly consider myself too naive to realize that in this day and age, the most unlikely of things that happen aren't impossible in the least. America's problem is its false sense of security. That could partly explain the looks and feelings of total amazement reverberating throughout our nation every time a tragedy such as Columbine, or the more recent NYC bombings, occurs. The statement "Who'da thought?" seems to be flying from the lips of those who live in a state of utter bliss, denying the thought that America does indeed have a sore spot. I hate to say it, but if we haven't awakened ourselves enough to see it coming, we're doomed.
Columbine was indeed a tragedy, a horrendous one. What else can you expect from a group of wolves dressed in sheep's clothing? The "officials" were far from prepared, and the basic instinct to cover your ass and hide what will eventually prove you heinously guilty is all too strong to ignore. Unfortunately, I feel mistakes are becoming more and more habitual for America's authorities. Take, for instance, the type of evidence that should have directed American intelligence's focus to what would ultimately happen almost two months prior to today, on September 11.
Is it really a wonder that America continues, time and time again, to reel in shock and pain? Prendergast's article is a case synopsis, as far as I'm concerned. How long will it take before the people we trust with our safety can lay down the truth?
Autumn St. Martin
Ghost of a chance: As a former Denver resident, touched like everyone in the area by the Columbine tragedy, I read with interest Alan Prendergast's latest piece on the story. I must say, I was put off by the unnecessary hyperbole of the article, however. It seemed that Alan's main agenda was to shake up a community that has already been through quite enough. To address the discrepancies and distortions I personally noted:
1. The terrible events of April 20, 1999, were not orchestrated by preternatural instruments of evil. They were orchestrated by two sick children in need of help -- children who chose a gruesomely horrible way of expressing their pain, but children anyway. To compare them or their motivations in any serious manner to the terrorists responsible for the September 11 disaster is ludicrous.
2. The small handful of Columbine victims' parents who continue to publicly "demand answers" are not being told to "get over it" because anyone wishes to deny them their grief or their right to understand what happened to their children. Rather, they are being viewed in a decreasingly sympathetic light because of the growing mean-spiritedness and rabidity evident in their pile of lawsuits and nasty accusations, targeting everyone from video-game manufacturers to the gunmen's beleaguered parents to the makers of the antidepressant that Eric Harris happened to be taking at the time of the rampage. No amount of public vengeance and pocket money is going to bring back their children, nor are their tactics going to cause anything besides further pain and suffering.
3. There is a difference between forgetting an event like Columbine and moving on. The more we stoop to half-baked conspiracy theories and smear campaigns, the more we poke and prod at the ashes of a terrible tragedy, and the more we reinflict wounds that are slowly starting to heal.
If Alan Prendergast or anyone else affected by Columbine honestly wants to make a difference and ensure that those children did not die in vain, here are some suggestions: Be more active in your community. Support the Colorado Anti-Bullying Program or start one in your area. Mentor a troubled teen. Be a better educator. Be a better parent. Be a better friend.
Concentrate on bringing about positive change, not stirring up ghosts in the grave through overly dramatic revisitation of an incident that none of us will ever really understand...no matter how much we continue to dwell on it.
William David Erwein
On the home front: Thanks for another great article in your series on the Columbine murders. I have no argument with Prendergast's conclusions, but I do question the lack of critical attention that has been pointed at Harris's and Klebold's parents. Is there a particular reason that this has generally been the case, regardless of the media outlet? This is not intended to be a criticism, but a question.