At the end of the school year, many parents and students make summer vacation plans; some students are preparing to leave for college, and others might be ready to do absolutely nothing. The last couple of months of school is so energized with excitement that many have let their guard down. But what happened in Uvalde, Texas, proved that students may never be safe in school.


It was a typical day for most students, many were beginning to reach the cafeteria for lunchtime, and others were already sitting at the lunch tables with their meals as “A” lunch was underway. The cafeteria was usually loud with conversation amongst students, and cameras were installed to catch students leaving their trash behind. But the security cameras caught something much more sinister that day. At about 11:19 am, several witnesses heard Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris say, “GO! GO!” the two-gunman proceeded to pull out their shotguns from their black duffle bags and began firing at other students. Rachel Scott and Richard Castaldo became the first casualties; both were shot on the grass while eating lunch near the west doors. The shooters would continue to shoot at students throughout the school cafeteria. At 11:23 am, a 911 caller from Columbine High School reported an injured student in the parking lot. Deputy Gardner arrives on the scene and is met with gunfire shortly after reaching the parking lot. After barely being missed by two bullets that hit surrounding cars, he entered the west side of the building. School surveillance cameras capture a massive crowd of students rushing up the stairs from the cafeteria to exit the building. Minutes later, another 911 call, this time from the school library.

The panicked caller begged for help as the sound of bullets echoed in the background. She provided the operator with her name (Patti Neilson); as Patti hurried to give details, you could hear shots getting closer and closer. Her loud, panicked voice turned into a petrified whisper, then the call dropped. It is now 11:27 am. After shooting a teacher, the assailants continued to fire aimlessly outside the library hallway and threw two pipe bombs. Students and teachers trapped in the school are hiding. One administrator hid in the ceiling; others were in locked classrooms or small cabinets.

At 11:28 am, police were still being dispatched to Columbine High School. In the last 10 minutes, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris have utterly terrorized and brutally murdered their classmates, but the sickening event was not over. 11:29 am The boys entered their school library, shot across the front desk, walked towards the windows, and continued shooting at students and police below. They then turned around and began shooting throughout the library, hitting cabinets and causing debris to injure students. There were over 50 students frantically avoiding gunfire. Many of them were hiding under desks. Witnesses described the gunman as excited and were seen smiling. Ten more students were killed in less than 10 minutes, and another 12 were wounded. By this time, police had yet to engage the shooter further, and SWAT was not on route until 11:35 am; the 13th and the final victim were killed by that time. Dylan and Eric began shooting with less enthusiasm into empty classrooms and didn’t try to enter the locked classrooms where students and teachers were hiding. They made their way back towards the cafeteria, throwing more pipe bombs. There were bombs placed throughout the school, including a car bomb in the school parking lot. A witness hiding in the cafeteria where the shooters were still trying to detonate more bombs hears one of the gunmen say, “Today, the world’s going to end. Today’s the day we die.” Dylan and Eric begin to make their way back up towards the library, but their behavior has become even more random. Finally, at 12:06 pm, a team of five officers entered the high school. A few minutes later, gunshots were heard again, but Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris had killed themselves this time, officially ending the nightmare.

Columbine High Massacre Victims

Still to this day, their motive is unknown. Many falsely believe Dylan and Eric were bullied, but there was zero evidence of bullying. These boys had decent home lives; one of them even drove a BMW to school.

By the time the Columbine massacre was over, 12 students and one teacher had lost their lives. Twenty-seven others were injured; one student was paralyzed. For 47 minutes, unsuspecting students were left to fend for themselves without meaningful intervention by police. Students who escaped, parents, and neighbors stood outside of Columbine High in horror as the never-ending gunshots echoed around the school grounds.

The aftermath of Columbine left law enforcement and the FBI responsible for answering the difficult question- why didn’t police engage the shooter sooner? The answer was frustrating. There was no active shooter protocol for local police agencies or SWAT to follow. In 1999 law enforcement wasn’t as familiar with active shooter threats. In 2002 the US Justice Department-funded the active shooter program Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, or ALERRT. Since 2002 over 100,000 police agencies have been trained to engage an active shooter. During the Columbine Massacre, SWAT and police waited outside the school to assess the threat before engaging the shooter, giving the shooters more time to kill students. After Columbine and the implementation of the ALERRT program, law enforcement now knows to engage the shooter and take down the threat immediately. But, there were not many changes to gun laws. The 10-year ban on AR-15 has long ended.

Photo Credit: Facebook Robb Elementary Date: August 9, 2021  

Robb Elementary preparing for students to return for 2021-2022

On May 24, 2022, a shooter walked into Robb elementary school and killed 19 students and teachers. The Robb Elementary shooter timeline isn’t as precise as Columbines yet. The FBI is currently investigating why they did not follow the ALERRT procedure by engaging the shooter immediately and stopping the threat. Why did the police stand in the hallway outside the classroom while a monster brutally murdered those children? The police station was just five minutes away. They had immediate access to the school, but instead of stopping the shooter, they stopped parents from saving their kids. One mom was handcuffed before she ran in to save her son and daughter. In an interview with CNN, Retired FBI agent Greg Shaffer said he believed the Uvalde police and state officials made mistakes that may have led to more casualties in the attack.

 Surviving students have described a horrifying scene that is not fit for real life. The shooter first killed 4th grader Amerie Jo Garza, she had just received an award for the A-B Honor roll. She was murdered while trying to dial 911. Videos quickly circulated the Internet of parents being tackled and cuffed as they were trying to save their children. Police pepper-sprayed one parent. Witnesses also reported police going into the school to rescue their children while leaving the rest of the students behind.

What went wrong here? What continues to go wrong? A tiny percentage of mass shootings are done with illegally obtained guns.

 Before I finished writing this article, two more mass shootings occurred. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, four people were killed with an A.R. 15 rifle purchased just hours before the attack. As of June 2, 2022, there have been 224 mass shootings. This isn’t happening at the same rate in other countries. Where does the solution lie? Lawmakers and voters alike demand gun reform, but the NRA’s control over Republican and Democrat lawmakers makes change difficult.

But what do Americans want? Do they want to be free from the constant threat of gun violence, or do they want to be free to own guns?

Victims of Robb Elementary Massacre

This article is dedicated the the victims of, Robb Elementary and Columbine High School


FBI RECORDS:Columbine High School, Littleton Colorado 4/20/99 “Armed and Dangerous”

The Columbine Shootings: Timeline. Jefferson County Sheriff Office

US Department of Justice & FBI “Active Shooter Incidents in 2021”

Shooter at Texas Elementary School By Eric Levenson, Andy Rose and Steve Almasy, CNN

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