On April 20, 1999, two high school students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, walked into Columbine High School, located in Jefferson County, Colo., and killed 12 fellow students and one teacher, injuring more than 20 others.
After finishing their dastardly deed, Harris and Klebold committed suicide.
The shooting deaths at Columbine High School had such an impact on our society that the mere word “Columbine” has become a part of everyday vernacular.
Just mention “Columbine,” and most any adult – race, creed, church-goer or gangbanger – will immediately recognize the event to which you’re referring.
I neither will bore nor insult you by going into great detail regarding the recent “Sandy Hook Massacre,” for the collective media have done an apt job covering it 24/7. However, to ensure all are up to date, I will attempt to provide an adequate summary:
Between 9:30-10 a.m., Dec. 14, Adam Peter Lanza, 20, shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School, located in Newtown, Conn., and proceeded to shoot to death 20 students (kindergarten thru fourth grade) and six adults.
The total death count attributed to Lanza is 27, because he had shot to death his mother prior to going on his killing spree at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Lanza, too, committed suicide after the shootings.
President Obama was quoted as saying that addressing, and coping with, the Sandy Hook incident was his “most difficult” since taking office as Commander-and-Chief.
Regarding both Columbine and Sandy Hook, the theories behind the why are exponential:
• Teachers failed to intervene while Harris and Klebold were being bullied at Columbine, and Harris and Klebold went off the deep end in the name of vengeance.
• Lanza had exhibited “red flag” behavior that was ignored.
• A lack of positive parental guidance at home, due to both parents having to work, given the woeful economic times in which we live.
• Bored and too much time spent playing and watching ultra-violent games and material on the Internet and television.
• Too many recreational-street drugs and not enough properly prescribed medication.
• Weapons are too easily purchased by adolescents.
I imagine a valid argument can be made for any or all of the above, any combination thereof, plus a great deal more.
I will say that the weaponry used at Columbine and Sandy Hook reads much like a Special Ops arsenal: used at Sandy Hook were a Bushmaster XM-15 rifle, 10 mm Glock SF handgun, 9 mm SIG Sauer handgun; at Columbine a Hi-Point 995 Carbine, Savage 67H pump-action shotgun, TEC 9 machine gun.
NOTE: It has been reported that Lanza’s mother owned several weapons and had taken her son to shooting ranges.
And, yes, the National Rifle Association is already involved with the Sandy Hook tragedy, saying that it is “prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.”
Still, expect to see celebrity psychologists and psychiatrists on television, for quite some time, attempting to address what, precisely, caused Adam Lanza to do what he did.
This much we know with certainty: Not only will things never be the same for Sandy Hook Elementary and the residents of Newtown, Conn., things never will be the same for Americans – period.
Laws will be legislated, enacted, and security will ratcheted up several notches at schools across America.
Will these measures really help?
Well, they can’t hurt.
Concerning this needless violence that threatens to unravel the very fabric of America – “Land of the Free,” “Land of Opportunity” – I’m going to refer back to a column I wrote for the Nov. 27, 2011, edition of The Post, and urge all to heed the words of Graham Nash, of the rock group, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:
“Teach your children well.”
It might be our only hope.