Generation Terror or Stupor?

Posted: February 17, 2018 in Uncategorized

Delaney Tarr, a high school senior, cannot remember a time when she did not know about school shootings.

So when a fire alarm went off inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and teachers began screaming “Code red!” as confused students ran in and out of classrooms, Ms. Tarr, 17, knew what to do. Run to the safest place in the classroom — in this case, a closet packed with 19 students and their teacher.

“I’ve been told these protocols for years,” she said. “My sister is in middle school — she’s 12 — and in elementary school, she had to do code red drills.”

This is life for the children of the mass shooting generation. They were born into a world reshaped by the 1999 attack at Columbine High School in Colorado, and grew up practicing active shooter drills and huddling through lockdowns. They talked about threats and safety steps with their parents and teachers. With friends, they wondered darkly whether it could happen at their own school, and who might do it.

Now, this generation is almost grown up. And when a gunman killed 17 people this week at Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., the first response of many of their classmates was not to grieve in silence, but to speak out. Their urgent voices — in television interviews, on social media, even from inside a locked school office as they hid from the gunman — are now rising in the national debate over gun violence in the aftermath of yet another school shooting.

  1. Andrew Mangold says:

    I went to Chatfield Senior High which is Columbine High School’s rival, I have countless friends, friends relatives, former teachers and other affiliations with the horrific scenes of 1999. My sister was in a theater when the Batman theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado occurred; my middle school had a shooting that was only stopped thanks to a brave teacher. Unfortunately, I know a lot more than most about mass shootings but I will share one aspect that isn’t mentioned in these articles. Columbine students get the day of the anniversary of the shooting off from school. My school has a 50% attendance rate on that day and many teachers have subs that day. Every year there are copy cat threats to Chatfield on that day. Needless to say, a lot of “work days” or “reading days” occur but no one thinks about anything but those victims from nearly 20 years ago. 20 years later and theres so many more communities and schools like mine. That day is scary quiet and everyone is so thankful to get through it. The day that everything changed will haunt those kids and those communities forever, but I couldn’t be more supportive of a community trying to make a positive change out of such horrific trauma.

    • It’s hard to imagine the fear and pain of the dead in incidents such as you describe. The excellent point you make, though, is the dead are not the only victims. I look at the news and see students marching on the capitol. Clearly, their actions are a practical response to needed change. But they seem also to have a therapeutic purpose. It would be impossible to think that these young persons are not traumatized. Such persons need to work through their shock, a process that make take the rest of their lives, as now subsequent events – even incidental ones – will trigger memories. But their recovery needs to begin with a single step. I glad, amidst all the horrendous cries of “CRISIS ACTOR”, that so many people are rallying behind these kids, are themselves courageously taking the lead.

  2. Grace Lebrecht says:

    I often wonder how many times this needs to happen before somebody actually does something. It scares me that we have reached this point and no serious changes have been made. I understand that this is difficult and not everyone is going to agree but honestly at this point something needs to be done.

    • This upcoming election will be a moment of truth. We’ve had calls for change since I was in junior high school. Even then, gun control was already consider as very stale topic for student essays. Which is to say, we’ve come nowhere. Indeed, the problem has gotten a lot worse. But I’ve never seen students activated and outspoke like this before. In the midst of my despair over the future, these kids give me unexpected hope.

  3. Carl Colby says:

    The first-person recollection of this event offers a unique and poignant scope not always offered by major media outlets. I would go as far as to say that both of these articles are somewhat insightful and offer op-ed-esque (à la ‘educated’ Facebook rant) points of view, yet I would personally prefer if the media focused more on the blunt facts surrounding these school shootings. How in the world does a student actually enter a school carrying multiple automatic rifles? My high school wouldn’t even let girls into the building without a bra on.

    • I haven’t been to a high school in a very long time, so I don’t know what security measure might or might not be in place. We never had metal detectors and police officers back in the day. We had a one security guy, who was not very threatening. And that was about it. According to what I’m read, the shooter was not even attending the school. He had been expelled the year prior and came back for revenge. I assume he stalked into the building without asking for permission.

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