I would like to light a candle for Cassie Bernall, Steve Curnow, Corey DePooter, Kelly Fleming, Eric Harris, Matt Kechter, Dylan Klebold, Daniel Mauser, Daniel Rohrbough, Rachel Scott, Isaiah Shoels, John Tomlin, Lauren Townsend, Kyle Velasquez and Dave Sanders. May you all have found peace wherever you are. You are not forgotten.
The next day, Brian Rohrbough was still without news of his son. He waits anxiously at home for the police to call. At nine in the morning, still no news. He opens the newspaper and sees this photograph.
“There was a picture of my son lying dead on the sidewalk. That was our notification. The sheriff John Stone and the district attorney Dave Thomas - they never contacted us. The coroner never contacted us. We’d learned from a picture in the paper”, Brian says.
Columbine High School Graduation day: Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, Lauren Townsend and Isaiah Shoels would have graduated. Survivors (left to right) Jeanna Park, Lisa Kreutz, and Valeen Schnurr received their diplomas.
“Steve was next. He saw Rachel’s body and collapsed on the floor in tears. Here was his former girlfriend, who still meant the world to him, and his body just failed him. Doug and I had to pick him back up and help him out of there.Of course, when I saw Steve lose it, I was right behind him. All the tears I hadn’t cried up to that point came gushing out, just like everybody else, as I saw Rachel lying there in that coffin”
-Brooks Brown’s account of seeing the body of his former friend and columbine victim, Rachel Joy Scott. (From his book: ‘No Easy Answers’)
I believe today is a very happy and hard day for your parents. Happy because you were their perfect son and sad because they cannot celebrate your birthday with you anymore. Have a wonderful day wherever you are!
Isaiah Eamon Shoels (August 4, 1980 - April 20, 1999)
I can’t even imagine what it must have sounded like –
the alarms, the gunshots, the screams, the begging,
the praying, the laughter, the cheering, the crying.
I know the sound of Eric’s laugh. I know the sound
of Dylan’s voice. I’ve heard a fragment of a recording.
And I still can’t piece it together enough to hear the horror.
I can’t even imagine what it must have looked like –
the muzzle of a Tec-9 in your face,
the black boots walking past you as you hide under a table,
the boy in a trench-coat, in the hallway, with a shotgun.
Blood on the floor and blood exploding out of someone’s head,
and blood pouring out of a hole in someone’s back.
I can’t even imagine what it must have smelt like –
metallic blood, the stench of open wounds,
smoke from pipe bombs, shit and piss and sweat,
your own body odour, cafeteria lunch food,
linoleum floors, body spray, the inside of a toilet cubicle,
the inside of a storage cupboard, the smells of school and death.
I can’t even imagine what it must have felt like –
begging for your life at gunpoint while the killer laughs,
watching children being murdered
right in front of you, seeing TV violence in real life.
Closing your eyes and listening to people dying and begging
and crying and praying and whooping and whispering.
Realising that you might actually really die right here,
on the floor of a library, in an unlocked science room,
in a toilet stall, under the table of a cafeteria. Trying to pray
to any god listening that you want to live, please, please, please.
But what good did it do the other children? What good did it do
the kids you heard getting killed?
Running out of the library and past a dead body and past
another dead body, with your hands above your head,
so the police don’t shoot you, of course.
Standing by a cop car with the images still playing in your head,
and the sounds of gunfire still ringing in your ears,
not knowing if your friends are dead or alive.
Being faced with cameras and reporters and microphones,
and an unending barrage of questions:
What did you see? What did you hear? How did you feel?
What happened? Do you know who the killers were? Why?
Where were you? What did you do? Did you talk to the killers?
Were you friends with the killers? Do you know the Trench Coat Mafia?
I can’t even imagine what it must have been like
to actually be a student or a teacher or a reporter or a photographer
or a cameraman or a journalist or a copy editor or an editor in chief
or a police officer or a SWAT team member or a paramedic or a nurse
or a doctor or the parent of a victim or the parent of someone injured
or a friend of a student or a bomb squad member or a family member.
We’ve all seen the chaos unfolding, live on the news.
We’ve seen the police standing behind cars and we’ve seen
students running for their lives, students bleeding on sidewalks,
parents hunting for children, parents hugging their kids,
people standing around and crying and holding one another,
ambulances racing and sirens blaring and cameras rolling,
but imagine living it.
Dear Columbiners, not everything is about Eric and Dylan, s.b.w.
Escaping students nearly trip over Rachel Scott’s body.
Prior to the evacuation: Members of the SWAT Team decided to drag Rachel’s body away from the area where she was shot and killed, to the left side of the fire truck. And instead of them moving it out and away from the directed escape path for the already traumatized survivors, it was left to lay there for almost 3 hours.
Because of that, some of Rachel’s friends and classmates were aware of her fate - long before they even had the chance to really know what just happened at their school.