The Perpetual Catastrophe of Columbine

On April 20th, 1999, Columbine High School students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdered 12 classmates and one teacher in a mass shooting. They injured 21 additional people, and three more were injured while attempting to escape the school. After exchanging gunfire with responding police officers, the pair subsequently committed suicide.

In addition to the shootings, the complex and highly planned attack involved a fire bomb to divert firefighters, propane tanks converted to bombs placed in the cafeteria, 99 explosive devices, and car bombs. Although their precise motives remain unclear, the personal journals of the perpetrators document that they wished their actions to rival the Oklahoma City bombing and other deadly incidents in the United States in the 1990’s. The attack has been referred to by USA Today as a “suicidal attack (that was) planned as a grand–if badly implemented–terrorist bombing.”

Those victims of the initial shooting near and in the cafeteria are listed as follows:
1. Rachel Scott, age 17. Killed by shots to the head, torso, and leg alongside the west entrance of the school.
2. Richard Castaldo, age 17. Shot in the arm, chest, back, and abdomen alongside the west entrance to the school.
3. Daniel Rohrbough, age 15. Fatally injured by shots to the abdomen and leg on the west staircase, shot through the upper chest at the base of the same staircase.
4. Sean Graves, age 15. Shot in the back, foot, and abdomen on the west staircase.
5. Lance Kirklin, age 16. Critically injured by shots to the leg, neck, and jaw on the west staircase.
6. Michael Johnson, age 15. Shot in the face, arm, and leg to the west of the staircase.
7. Mark Taylor, age 16. Shot in the chest, arms, and leg to the west of the staircase.
8. Anne-Marie Hochhalter, age 17. Shot in the chest, arm, abdomen, back, and left leg near the cafeteria’s entrance.
9. Brian Anderson, age 17. Injured near the west entrance by flying glass.
10. Patti Nielson, age 35. Hit in the shoulder by shrapnel near the west entrance.
11. Stephanie Munson, age 17. Shot in the ankle inside the North Hallway.
12. William David Sanders, age 47. Died of blood loss after being shot in the neck and back inside the South Hallway.

Victims of the library shooting are listed as follows:
13. Evan Todd, age 15. Sustained minor injuries from the splintering of a desk he was hiding under.
14. Kyle Velasquez, age 16. Killed by gunshot wounds to the head and back.
15. Patrick Ireland, age 17. Shot in the head and foot.
16. Daniel Steepleton, age 17. Shot in the thigh.
17. Makai Hall, age 18. Shot in the knee.
18. Steven Curnow, age 14. Killed by a shot to the neck.
19. Kacey Ruegsegger, age 17. Shot in the shoulder, hand and neck.
20. Cassie Bernall, age 17. Killed by a shotgun wound to the head.
21. Isaiah Shoels, age 18. Killed by a shot to the chest.
22. Matthew Kechter, age 16. Killed by a shot to the chest.
23. Lisa Kreutz, age 18. Shot in the shoulder, hand, arms and thigh.
24. Valeen Schnurr, age 18. Injured with wounds to the chest, arms and abdomen.
25. Mark Kintgen, age 17. Shot in the head and shoulder.
26. Lauren Townsend, age 18. Killed by multiple gunshot wounds to the head, chest and lower body.
27. Nicole Nowlen, age 16. Shot in the abdomen.
28. John Tomlin, age 16. Killed by multiple shots to the head and neck.
29. Kelly Fleming, age 16. Killed by a shotgun wound to the back.
30. Jeanna Park, age 18. Shot in the knee, shoulder and foot.
31. Daniel Mauser, age 15. Killed by a single shot to the face.
32. Jennifer Doyle, age 17. Shot in the hand, leg and shoulder.
33. Austin Eubanks, age 17. Shot in the hand and knee.
34. Corey DePooter, age 17. Killed by shots to the chest and neck.

Since Columbine, there have been not less than 240 school shootings, with approximately 233,000 students exposed to gun violence during classroom hours. Mass shootings, those which involve four or more victims, occur once per day on average. Included in these numbers are 20 students from Sandy Hook Elementary School, all under the age of eight.

Author: Bill Urich

A tail-end baby-boomer, Bill Urich was born in Cleveland to a grade school teacher and her Navy vet husband, and reared in Greater Detroit. Working his way through school primarily at night, Mr. Urich holds a Bachelor’s in Journalism, Phi Beta Kappa, and a Juris Doctorate from Wayne State University. In his legal career he has acted as an assistant state prosecutor, city attorney, special prosecutor, mediator, magistrate, private practitioner and mayor of Royal Oak, a large home-rule city in Michigan. Mr. Urich continues in private practice and municipal prosecution, is on faculty to DePaul University, pens regular contributions to political publications, and remains active in selected campaigns and causes related to labor, social and criminal justice. A father of three mostly-grown sons, he spends his precious free time on family, friends, the pursuit of happiness, beauty and truth, three rescue cats, and fronting the rock band Calcutta Rugs from behind the drum kit.

What say you, the people?