We have all lived through tragic moments in history that have impacted our lives, consciously or subconsciously. My mother was the one who explained this concept to me, saying she never forgot exactly what she was doing when she learned that JFK had been shot. It was an instance of tragedy and shock that stays frozen in time for her, and makes even the smallest occurrences of the day seem monumental. There have been collective tragedies like that in my life as well, but perhaps none more poignant than the barrage of school shootings we’ve seen in recent years.
For me, the 1999 Columbine school shooting stands out in what has become a grotesque epidemic of gun violence within educational institutions. Of course, this was not the first school shooting to occur and was unfortunately not the last, but the Columbine incident held its own significance in that it underscored the need to identify and address the fundamental causes of these mass killings within schools to prevent more of them.