They were everyone's children. They were yours and mine. They were our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces.
We all knew them. They were you and I as we were back in our days of youth. They were our friends and neighbors; we played school football and soccer, and tennis and field hockey with them. They could've been any one of us.
The tragedy that rampaged through the hallways of Colorado's Columbine High School could've happened in our backyard. Two disturbed teens, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, wearing black trench coats, stormed into Columbine high school. They ran through the hallways spraying rounds of bullets and blasting handmade pipe bombs. They killed Steven Curnow and Matthew Kechter because they were jocks, Cassie Bernall and John Tomlin because they believed in God, Isaiah Shoels because he was black, Mr. Sanders because he was directing students to safety, and Daniel Rohrbough because he was holding the exit door for other students.
Then the gunmen entered the library, asking, "Who wants to die? Who here believes in God?" Those who answered were shot. Those who remained silent were shot. Those who were like you and I were shot.
When the final bomb exploded 12 students and one teacher were killed. Then Eric and Dylan, the two gunmen, took their own lives, ending their killing spree they'd planned for over a year.
The dead... you knew them all.
Cassie Bernall, 17. You went to youth group and Bible study with her. Her favorite movie was Mel Gibson's "Braveheart."
Steven Curnow, 14. You played soccer with him. "Star Wars" movies were his favorite. He will miss the May release of the next episode.
Corey DePooter, 17. On summer days you saw him fishing at the pond. He recently had his wisdom teeth removed.
The names are familiar.
Kelly Fleming, 16. You read her poems and were astonished someone so young could provide such insight. She was eager to get her driver's license this spring.
Matthew Kechter, 16. You lifted weights with him in the school gym. He was to start next year for the football team.
Daniel Mauser, 15. You ran on the Cross Country team with him and held lengthy debates about politics, local government, and the market. He earned straight As on his last report card.
We knew them all.
Daniel Rohrbough, 15. He was the friend you had who went away for the summer to help on the family farm. During the school year he helped in the family's electronics business.
Dave Sanders, 47. He was your computer and business teacher and coach of the girl's basketball and softball teams. He left behind a wife, two daughters, and five grandchildren.
Rachel Scott, 17. You watched her play the lead in the school play. She enjoyed photography and was active in a youth group.
Our friends had friends who knew them.
Isaiah Shoels, 18. You pulled for him through his two heart operations. He wrestled and could bench twice his weight. He was scheduled to graduate in May.
John Tomlin, 16. He was your friend who worked hard at odd jobs after school. He purchased his own Chevy truck. A born-again Christian, he was involved with a youth group.
Lauren Townsend, 18. You played volleyball with her on the school team, which she captained. She was a candidate for valedicatorian.
Kyle Velasquez. No information available.
They were our children. Their only sins: believing in God, helping their friends to safety, holding a door open for fleeing teens, being black, running Cross County, and playing football.
Now they are God's children.
Copyright 1999 April 25
Dedicated to the innocent students of Columbine High School in Colorado.