Shooting Straight: Columbine Who?

columbine school sign
(Photo credit:

On April 20, 2024 we hit a grim milestone of sorts: 25 years since Columbine. Somehow that massacre that was carried out by mentally ill kids has become a marker of sorts for school shootings.

It wasn’t the first school shooting—not by a long shot—but it was the most widely publicized and politicized at that time. In the quarter century since Columbine there’ve been all sorts of publicized murders and horrors, because let’s face it, politicians and the anti-gunners can’t let a good death go by without capitalizing on it.

a protest in colorado
Anti-gun protest in Colorado where people fail to understand guns also protect kids. (Photo credit: The Colorado Sun)

Why rehash this now? A few reasons. The headlines over the so-called anniversary weekend were perfectly predictable as was the fact that the names of the killers were mentioned endlessly (why not list the names of the dead to honor their memory instead?). One journalist referred to Columbine as a “blueprint for other shooters” while USA Today prclaimed it “the first school shooting of the internet era.”

The first recorded school shooting in American history took place back in 1853. And in today’s modern age, many of the mass shootings that are reported as such by the media…aren’t. Murders carried out with firearms are being glorified by the mainstream media for the purpose of ratings, propping up political platforms, and enhancing viewer engagement.

If you thought this was going to be a rant about allowing firearms in schools, you’re going to be disappointed. No, schools shouldn’t be gun-free zones. Yes, teachers and parents should be allowed to carry in schools. And yes, I’ve chosen my kids’ schools partly based on academics and partly because the staff is armed. (#Texas)

If you have a serious distaste for the mainstream media, this screed’s for you.

Columbine high school
Courtesy CNN

When it comes to guns, the mainstream media behaves like a bunch of rabid howler monkeys. There’s poop flinging and screeching and all manner of wild behavior, mostly to get attention, not to help anyone. Without the assistance of the mainstream media and the way the internet has made “information” so readily accessible, we might not have the same types of violence taking place. If nothing else, it wouldn’t be nearly so well publicized, and that would do a fair amount to squash dreams of infamy festering in the minds of mentally unstable teens.

The media not only perpetuate but encourage a constant stream of violence. Nothing gets ratings going like some good, old-fashioned bloodshed, even better when it’s at a school at the hands of a murderous student. Columbine didn’t give kids the blueprint for violence, the media did. Columbine didn’t show kids they could be remembered be infamous, the media did.

How do you sleep at night as a “journalist” knowing you’re playing a part in making more violence happen? They seem to sleep just fine.

columbine headlines
Not only was there a ton of print and web coverage of Columbine in 1999 but it continues today. (Photo credit: The Washington Post)

Does the general public need freedom of information? Yes. However, the political machinations of the media have evolved in dangerous ways over the years. When I was a kid there was a more balanced perspective in reporting. It certainly wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t as blatantly slanted and agenda-driven as it is today. And if you think I’m about to espouse the awesomeness of Fox News, you’re wrong. Fox News is no paragon of virtue or clean reporting, either.

What can be done? Should we try to suppress the mainstream media, clean out the garbage, and establish true fair and balanced reporting? Actually…no.

James Madison nailed it in 1800 when he wrote,

Some degree of abuse is inseparable from the proper use of everything and in no instance is this more true, than in that of the press. It has accordingly been decided by the practice of the states, that it is better to leave a few of its noxious branches, to their luxuriant growth, than by pruning them away, to injure the vigor of those yielding the proper fruits. And can the wisdom of this policy be doubted by any who reflect, that to the press alone, chequered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity, over error and oppression…

It wouldn’t be A Good Thing to attempt to burn out the bias, because it would ultimately damage free speech. A big part of what makes America great is the First Amendment—we can say what we want without fear of oppression…unless we’re on Facebook, of course.

We don’t have social credit scores (yet), we aren’t jailed for stating an opinion, and our news outlets can basically say what they want. Do people in positions and influence affect what we see and read? They do. But despite biases, the government doesn’t actually own the news and control everything that’s disseminated.

If you want to cut down on shooters in schools, doing away with the media won’t fix things. It’d be nice if they quit reporting on murderers like they’re people to emulate, but that’s not gonna happen. That ship sailed a long time ago.

Instead, quit screaming at the media and start considering just how far American morals and standards have crumbled at home. Bring back corporal punishment. Tear down the gun free-zone signs (and the laws that compel them). Reinstate rules, chores, and responsibilities for kids. Quit pandering to kids’ sensitivities and start shaping them. Heck, bring back paddles in the principal’s office.

So it’s been 25 years since Columbine. Whooptie-do. It’s all over the news and while some of the coverage remembers victims and honors them, a lot of it is about the two killers I refuse to name here. Let their names die out. Make it known that they won’t make a mark on history, they’ll be even more invisible than ever. It’ll be as though they never existed.

Want to murder your fellow students? You’re just another blip in the news cycle that washes away in a matter of hours. A sad, pathetic person worthy of nothing more than some fleeting pity.

We will forget you. We will remember and honor the victims and heroes of the day.

victims of columbine
The faces and names you should be remembering. (Photo credit: CBS News)

These are the names to remember: Steven Curnow, 14; Daniel Mauser, 15; Daniel Lee Rohrbough, 15; Kelly Ann Fleming, 16; Matthew Kechter, 16; John Tomlin, 16; Kyle Albert Velasquez, 16; Cassie René Bernall, 17; Corey DePooter, 17; Rachel Joy Scott, 17; Isaiah Emon Shoels, 18; Lauren Townsend, 18; and William ‘Dave’ Sanders, 47.

2 Responses

  1. “We don’t have social credit scores (yet)”
    Sure we do. That’s what cancel culture is based on.

    “we aren’t jailed for stating an opinion”
    Omali Yeshitela would disagree. Donald Trump would disagree. I could list other recent enemies of the Regime, but we’d be here for awhile.

    “our news outlets can basically say what they want”
    InfoWars can say what they want?

    “But despite biases, the government doesn’t actually own the news and control everything that’s disseminated.”
    They don’t have to own the news. They’re the government. Do you want to make enemies with the entities that can regulate your business? Or do you obey? We know the answer because it just happened in 2020, after the gov also colluded with the media in 2016 to interfere in that election! See below.

    Testimony Reveals FBI Employees Who Warned Social Media Companies about Hack and Leak Operation Knew Hunter Biden Laptop Wasn’t Russian Disinformation

    “Bring back corporal punishment.”
    How is that a deterrent for a suicidal mass shooter?

    “start considering just how far American morals and standards have crumbled at home.”
    This is the answer. Normal, decent people want to be remembered as a good person. These shooters, and wannabe shooters, want to be known as murderers. Murder is evil. Do they want to be remembered as evil people? Or are they so lost, that it isn’t evil in their mind because they feel like it’s justified?

  2. “How do you sleep at night as a “journalist” knowing you’re playing a part in making more violence happen?”

    Because ‘journalism’ is secondary to their most important task, political advocacy.

    They sleep just fine… 🙁

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