By Jori O'Grady
The United States prides itself as the greatest nation in the world, yet no other first world country fears their kids getting shot up at school.
In Colorado, the month of April is final countdown month, as well as the month of prom, SAT and ACT, play performances, art shows, music galas, soccer, and lacrosse games, and also the anniversary of Columbine.
April 20th marks the 20th anniversary of the harrowing Columbine shooting. In 1999, it was the deadliest school shooting, murdering 12 students, one teacher, and injuring, scarring, and impairing countless others both physically and emotionally.
20 years later, it's not even in the top ten deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history
Since Columbine, there have been more than 245 recorded mass school shootings. A year ago, it was reported that over 226,000 students, in the last 19 years, have experienced gun violence in their schools. And legislation has done nothing, well, except for sending countless thoughts and prayers.
The infamous shooting forever shook America citizens to their core, and unfortunately inspired its’ fatal predecessors.
After Columbine, an online fanbase formed: the true crime community, a fanbase in which young people, allured by violence and suicide, post about harming others and themselves. The fanbase idolizes school shooters, their investigation records, school blueprints, writings and art from the past shooters, and even some glorify Nazis and Hitler. After the Parkland shooting, the fanbase grew rapidly, residing on social media blogs and forums like Tumblr, Discord, and Reddit.
In November, Tumblr initiated a ban on pornography--of which was about one-fifth of Tumblr's content--yet Tumblr has no ban on this sick true crime fandom.
On Tuesday, April 16th, a Columbine infatuated 18-year-old woman triggered secure perimeter lockouts and after school activity and athletic cancellation in Denver metro school districts. On Wednesday, her concerning presence and nonspecific threats caused more than sixteen school districts across not only just Denver, but some northern and southern parts of Colorado to be closed.
At Grandview, this included canceling the art show, stifling all preparations and severely delaying the already behind Odd Couple performances.
America has sunk so low that we have reached the point of canceling an entire region’s day of school, all because of our right to bear arms.
And with her right to bear arms, a mentally-ill high school senior and Columbine obsessed fangirl, purchased a pump-action shotgun--similar fashion to the Columbine shooters-- and ammunition--immediately after her arrival in Colorado.
This teenager was able to fly from Florida, walk into a local gun shop, pass FBI background checks, and walk out. All in one day, despite her concerning online presence on her blog and on gun forums--of which she sought advice on how to obtain a gun in Colorado.
Oh, and this was absolutely 100% legal for her to do so. Just like it was legal for the 19 year old Parkland shooter to purchase an AR-15, with no fingerprints, no special permit and training, and no waiting period. All they needed was a couple hundred bucks.
Because “it’s their 2nd amendment right” says the fat men of the NRA with their cumbersome fingers in the deep pockets of countless lawmakers and congressman. Says the men who pour millions of dollars into our elections, handpicking a congress to turn a blind eye to gun violence. Violence that occurs on a broad spectrum of backgrounds everywhere in our country.
They turn a blind eye to the pleas of fearful teenagers, of the broken hearts of the families who have been affected by gun violence that all want to simply enact gun control legislation, so an 18-year-old with clear mental health issues from another state can't buy a plane ticket, a shotgun, and hold an entire city hostage.
It’s time to drop our partisan biases. It’s a fact that people kill people, and these people, guided by their mental illnesses, are too easily able to purchase assault weapons that enable mass homicides. An application process, a gun permit, then a gun license, and extensive background checks should be required. And after obtained, mental health checkups should be legally required for gun owners in order to renew their licenses.
As a student who has grown up post-Columbine, Tuesday's threat was normal. In the year after Parkland, there was nearly one mass shooting a day. Grandview receiving gun related and bomb-related threats is normal; Grandview enacting a secure perimeter is normal. Kids unsure if they are going to be safe, while taking a biology test is normal. School shootings are normal.
When did “never again” become desensitization?
Wednesday, the city was shut down like a snow day, despite the spring weather. Parents explained to their kids, as young as three years old, why they couldn't go to school on Wednesday, and if our legislation continues to ignore this epidemic, those preschoolers will grow up preparing for their school to be next.