I can still remember the day April 20, 1999. I was one month away from my high school graduation and my year seemed only to be getting better, until that day. That was the day that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold destroyed 12 of my peers lives and one teacher.
I attended Chatfield Senior High, the rival school of Columbine High. I remember steady disputes with students from their school and ours; however, this situation brought us all closer together. I remember the day that one of my closest friends, who attended Columbine High, was worried about her little brother. No one had heard from him and the family was beginning to worry. The next morning Danny Rohrbough’s motionless body lay on the concrete still clutching his backpack, while police investigated the scene. This horrific picture was on the front page of the paper and this was how all of us found out what had happened to him.
I remember the day after when all of us were terrified to go to school because there were people on the Trench Coat Mafia’s death list from our school too. I couldn’t understand how this could happen but yet I could. I remember the taunting of people in the halls; people who were wealthier or cooler had an advantage over the little guy or the freak. I was blessed that I had enough confidence to stick up for myself, being the only African-American in my graduating class. I had gained the respect of my peers but I know others who didn’t.
For the rest of the month, I would have to share my school with Columbine students and I soon graduated.
I was completely disturbed this week when I opened up the newspaper and found that someone had made a videogame reenactment of the massacre. “Super Columbine Massacre RPG” is a popular Internet game that reenacts the horrific scenes of the deadly school shooting. Once the story was placed in the newspaper, the game gained extreme popularity, with over 8,000 downloads from the website in one hour and 30,000 total downloads after the story appeared in the Denver Rocky Mountain News.
The game greets players with the statement: “Welcome to Super Columbine Massacre RPG! You play as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold on that fateful day in the Denver suburb of Littleton. How many people they kill is ultimately up to you.” The game goes on so that Harris can decide to use a gun or plant bombs throughout the school. Harris will then meet with Klebold outside of the school and begin killing students outside. When the shooters kill a victim a disturbing dialog box appears and says “Another victory for the Trench Coat Mafia.”
I am very upset that something like this is made public for teens and younger children to have access to and also to gain the assumption that the massacre was ok to happen seven years ago. I get frustrated at how someone has decided to use this as a form of entertainment and are not really thinking about the pain and hurt that it sparks for people who were actually there.
“It’s wrong,” said Joe Kechter, whose son Matthew Kechter was killed in the library of the school. “We live in a culture of death, so it doesn’t surprise me that this stuff has become so commonplace. When people glorify murderers, they make murder acceptable.” Stated Brian Rohrbough, Danny’s and my good friend’s dad.
This makes me upset because this is what Eric and Dylan wanted. They wanted to be remembered and glorified, when the truth is that they should be labeled as pure murderers. I feel that they were wimps. If I could stick up for myself why couldn’t they? They had advantages, they were smart almost brilliant to devise a plan like this, but they chose the wimpy road, to kill others and themselves.
In today’s paper, May 24, 2006, the video game maker had a chance to speak out about why he made the game. Danny Ledonne, of Alamosa, Colorado, justifies his designing of the game because of the extensive bullying that he incurred from kindergarten to high school. He believes that making the game has been a way for him to deal with what he went through during that period of his life. He closes the article with a statement that is very interesting yet contradictory “This is not a game that advocates school shooting or glorifies Eric and Dylan.” I am puzzled at how he can say this; however, I really do not know what is in this guy’s mind.
I hope that children, teens, and adults realize that bullying is real and so is murder. Kids need to learn that dealing with their problems with violence is not the answer, but how many times have we all heard this. History will only repeat itself until we correct the present.