When I was attending school as a little girl, not one time did I ever have to think about my safety. It was an unspoken rule that the school officials and our teachers had our back should anything ever go down. That is not the case today. Children and parents all over the world live in a constant state of panic over whether or not they will indeed return to the safety and comfort of home and loved ones. The shooting at Columbine changed all of that…forever.
Nearly 20 years after one of the most horrific and deadliest shooting sprees in American History, Director Laura Farber (who was a freshman at Columbine in 1999), goes down memory lane with students, teachers and the principal, all recalling the event, the aftermath and how it ultimately affects their lives today.
Like one of the students said, “…everyone wants to move forward. Moving forward, to some, looks like memorial runs and banners. But, moving forward on the inside takes its sweet ass time.” For many of the survivors feeling safe took on a whole new meaning. Simple things like balloons popping, sirens, wondering where an exit door is and not sitting with a door behind became real concerns and PTSD triggers.
Watching the town get wrangled into a media circus with tour buses passing by like it was Disneyland was disconcerting.
In 2002, at least 400 students rebelled against school officials banning a harmless senior food fight resulting in one getting arrested for throwing a pie. When you are in high school, all you want to do is fit in and for the survivors of Columbine fitting in was something that made everyone involved stand out. Columbine had to re-define what normal is.
Instead Gus, who like Laura was a freshman, constantly relives cowering in the corner with the sound of gunshots ringing in the distance. Watching a teacher covered in blood enter and leave the classroom. Trying to hatch a plan to make a break for it without getting shot and/or killed. Jaimi recalls the angst of not knowing if her sister was still alive. Amy recalls being given a planner, being very active with cheerleading and track and being very concerned about life moving forward. Zach became a teacher at the very school that almost cut his life short. All victims. All Survivors. All a perfect example of how to move forward with purpose not rooted in fear.
We Are Columbine will remind you of what the best part of being American is all about. We are resilient. We are still here. We Are All Columbine.
Thank you Laura Farber for your courage, tenacity and for sharing your story and the story of Columbine survivors. Moving forward, I hope that America never again has to offer “thoughts and prayers” to another family, a mother, school or another community. We Are Columbine will be released VOD by Virgil Films on April 9th.