Friday, April 20, 2012

E is for Easing the Painful Memories

Today is April 20th. For most people, it's just another day.  For Deadheads, it's a day of "celebrating" the joys of cannabis (420, man!) Unfortunately, for me and many other Coloradans the day holds a darker connotation, an anniversary that hovers over the day like the threat of storm clouds on a trip to the beach. I'm referring to the Columbine High School killings of April 20, 1999.

I won't sit here and complain that I have PTSD to garner sympathy or attention, nor will I allude that I was there that day, because I wasn't. I was miles away, safe on my couch recovering from spinal surgery, watching the horror unfold live on my local CBS affiliate news station. I didn't know anyone there personally, I knew people who knew people who were there. I was not even a student at Columbine. The school was in the "sister"county adjacent to my own. Yet, sitting on the couch watching the tragedy happen before my scared freshman eyes, crying and shaking as more details became available, I felt like I was there.
Watching the field reporters  on live TV break down into crying fits as they reportedly the grisly details, I'm sure they thought about their own children at home and in school. I watched as the professionals' hearts broke for the unknown number of dead inside the school.  I cried too, when I witnessed hordes of teenagers finally sprinted from the building to the safety of the nearby neighborhood to be frisked by the cops and reunited with their loved ones. I cried when the cameras surrounded one of the first escapees as she rattled off her story hysterically to all who would listen.  She wailed as tears soaked her face, she spat out the words as if screaming them out loud would make them not real.  Oh how badly we all wanted it to not be real. Her voice and the images that are undoubtedly playing on every Colorado news station all day-as they are every year-haunt me on this day.

I weep for the kids who had to live through that day.  I weep for the ones who didn't live and for their families.  I weep because I can't help them.  I can't comfort them.  I don't know how. I weep about how angry the 2 boys who were responsible for this day make me.  I weep for how sorry I feel for them too.  I know what it's like to feel like an outcast.  I weep because I think Michael Moore makes gratuitous propaganda movies, and has shady film-making practices but I have mixed feelings about Bowling For Columbine-a movie I own, but never plan to watch again. I don't want to sit here and write this blog post about this today, but it's the only thing I can think about that will make the words flow.

I always feel conflicted on this day. I'm glad that CNN (it's always on in my office, the remote is under lock and key-I'm not even joking) is playing the George Zimmerman hearing all day instead of replaying images from the horrible day.  But then I'm mad that they aren't even acknowledging it. I'm angry that no one made me turn off the news 13 years ago so I wouldn't be haunted by witnessing the events as they happened.  I'm mad at myself for not having the strength to turn it off and just watch cartoons. I'm angry at the fear-mongering media for making adults afraid of trench coats and video games. I'm mad at my school administration for over-reacting and making us do "lock-down" drills every week for years afterwards, perpetuating our fear and probably allowing our young minds to be more susceptible to PTSD (our therpists' wallets thank you, Colorado school districts.) I'm mad that everyone around me is oblivious to the pain that this day brings to so many people. I'm mad that I can't find the humor today, that it somehow feels wrong. I want so badly to bring humor to this day, but I don't know how.

There is hope. I read an article this morning about a former Columbine student who is now a filmmaker and is currently making a documentary to benefit former Columbine students. Now I feel like I can help a little bit by spreading the word to help him tell their story and hopefully help change the battle for mental illness assistance for the better. I only wish I could do more.
(You can donate to Samuel's film fund here.)


P.S I feel a little cleansed after that depressing-ass post, but I thought maybe I could do some netterwebs research for something lighthearted and happy that also happened today and talk about that.  Hmmm...anniversaries of natural disasters, Hitler's birthday...So nothing good.

Oh wait, Alan Reed, the voice of Fred Flintstone was born today.
George Takei's birthday is today too! Happy day of birth, Mr. Sulu! (Oh my!)
According to History Orb, no one famous was born on April 20th after 1987 apparently...
And "sex robots" are trending on Yahoo! right now.
I promise to be funny again funnier less depressing tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. This was a great post (even with it being a little depressing) I remember Columbine as well, although I was too young to be going there at the time I remember it.

    Can't wait to read your next, less depressing post! lol I found you on 20sb.



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