My daughter Katy posted on Facebook this morning, an excellent and heart-felt recollection of a day of unspeakable horror and loss:
Seventeen years have passed since this horrible day. Most of the victims hadn't even been alive for 17 years and now somehow they've been gone from this Earth longer than they were on it. 17 years ago, this was an unfathomable situation.
But we will never forget them. We will never forget how it changed our community, changed family friends who were there, changed the way we look at the world and each other. I was 15 and a freshman at a high school not far from there, we sat in math class in utter silence. My teacher was good friends with the principal at Columbine and all he could do was sit at his desk with his head down getting periodic updates from the office.
My extended law enforcement family was there helping those scared wounded teenagers who fought for their lives inside their own school. An innocence died that day in everyone, an innocence that was never regained. School shootings have become a "when" it happens again not "if."
But we will never forget these precious Souls whose lives were taken far too soon. Today, we pray for them, their families, and the entire Columbine Community who lives with this every single day.A courageous man told me, in the aftermath of the shooting, that he had gone home that night and wiped blood and tissue off of his gas mask pouch. He had been part of Patrick Ireland's rescue, caught on film and broadcast all over the world. He wondered what would become of the young man who was so grievously injured in the school's library.
Sadly, the tactics and techniques law enforcement developed in the cruel shadow of Four Twenty have found too-often use. After each such incident officers review what happened, how we responded and what can be learned. Recently, in the midst of a training session designed to teach officers when and how to engage an active killer, one of the scenario facilitators asked tartly, as "gunshots" rang out and the participants hesitated - "What is the correct number of victims we need before we go in and stop that?"
The only acceptable answer, in the aftermath of Columbine and other active killer situations, is zero.