'I Survived Columbine And It Feels Like Nothing Has Changed'

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steross

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'I Survived Columbine And It Feels Like Nothing Has Changed'
"We haven't addressed mass shootings at all."

By Jessie Van Amburg


COURTESY OF ANNE MARIE HOCHHALTER
Anne Marie Hochhalter was a high school junior when she was shot in the back at Columbine High School in 1999. No one expected her to survive.
The first bullet paralyzed her, and the second ripped through her lungs and diaphragm. She laid on the ground for 45 minutes before help arrived.
"When I started to pull through," she says, "the doctors called me the miracle girl." She is still paralyzed from the waist down, and says she struggles every day with nerve pain.
But nearly 20 years after the tragic Columbine shooting, Anne Marie has had to live through reports of countless other mass shootings. Orlando. San Bernardino. Newtown. Parkland, Florida.
The survivor spoke with Women's Health about what it's like to see so many mass shootings—and the only hope she sees for change:
Women's Health: When you see news of a new mass shooting, especially one at a school, what goes through your mind? What does it feel like?
Anne Marie: Well, of course it’s devastating. It brings me right back to almost 20 years ago. It makes me so so sad that now we have more members of a club that no one wants to join. I know what they’re going through, and I’m just devastated for them. I just can’t believe that it keeps happening.
In the immediate aftermath [of Columbine], I was basically in and out [of consciousness] in the hospital. But when I came out of it, I had shock and anger and sadness, confusion, all of those emotions. Columbine had never really happened before, it was such a shock to everyone. And unfortunately now it seems to be more commonplace and no one really bats an eye anymore. They'll be sad for two weeks and then move on, while the people directly affected by the shootings are left behind to pick up the pieces.

WH: The events at Columbine took place almost 19 years ago. What do you think is different? What is the same?
AM: I think we haven’t addressed [mass shootings] at all. This country has certain things that are so ingrained that it’s very hard to change. Twenty years ago, social media didn’t exist. So after Columbine, the blame game started. They blamed rap music. They blamed violent movies, they blamed the parents of the shooters. They found anything they could blame. Twenty years later now, we have social media, whenever these mass shootings happen, people are outraged, they want change, they get into Facebook arguments and debates and people unfriend each other, and then they forget all about it. And then the next shooting happens and the cycle starts up again. Nothing ever changes.
"Looking back, I wish I had been in counseling that whole time. It has a greater effect on you than you think."​
That’s why I’m really passionate about NoNotoriety [an organization that advocates not reporting on the individuals who commit acts of mass violence]—because that's something tangible we can do as civilians that we can do to help prevent the next shooting.
Our laws aren’t going to change any time soon. I hope they do, but I don’t see that happening. They haven't over the past two decades. A common thread with these mass shootings is that these people are in pain, they want to make other people feel their pain, and they want to be famous. It’s in the media’s hands to not show the shooter's face, to not say the shooter’s name, and to not focus on the shooter. They give these people exactly what they want. These people want to live on in infamy, they want notoriety. And the media hands it to them on a silver platter...So I think that the NoNotoriety is huge with changing that.
I’m also partnering with some people at a high school for a "See Something, Say Something" [campaign]. Because a lot of kids see on social media these classmates posting all of this horrific stuff but they don’t want to snitch, so they don’t say something. And so we're trying to start a movement now—if you see something, say something. And it'll be completely anonymous. ... Those students are our eyes and ears. It's a matter of life and death.

WH: What do you think it will take to prevent another tragedy like this?
AM: I thought Sandy Hook would be the turning point, to be honest. All of us did. That was so, so awful. And President Obama wanted change. And he was blocked at every turn.
I don’t want to turn it into a gun debate, but I feel like I have to say something. You hear all of these Facebook warriors say, Enough is enough! and We've got to have change. And they post something to make themselves feel better but they don't call their congressperson. They don't call their senator. They don't do anything except make a post on Facebook. That's why it's so important to make those calls, to demand action, to belong to NoNotoriety, to Everytown for Gun Safety, to all these Facebook groups that try to enact real change.
"Our laws aren’t going to change any time soon. I hope they do, but I don’t see that happening."​
I’m hopeful, but I’m also trying to be realistic that this problem is so deep and so ingrained in our culture.

WH: What helps you cope with news like this? What are your strategies?
AM: For me personally, I avoid images. I avoid watching the images on TV, clicking the links online about the circumstances surrounding the shooting. I’ve even had to not click on the names of the victims and the survivors because I’m devastated just seeing their faces. I can’t look at it too much because it just brings me back too far.

WH: What is your advice to the victims and their families? What is something that has helped you move forward and heal?
AM: Hindsight is always 20/20. We’re 20 years past the point of Columbine, and I can see where I went wrong [in coping], and that was in delaying counseling. I cannot stress that enough. Students and teachers that were there at Columbine, the people that didn’t lose a loved one or who weren't injured, that they weren't "that bad," they might have thought that they didn't need it. That’s a lie, and it’s come back to bite a lot of us in the butt 20 years later because we put it off.
I had counseling in the very beginning, but I was still in such a fog and a daze so I thought that I was okay. But I recently started it up again this year. I figured, Better late than never! But now, looking back, I wish I had been in counseling that whole time. It has a greater effect on you than you think, and it's a delayed reaction. So many of my classmates have said the same exact thing.
Having a support system around you of your friends and family is so important. Having people just to sit there when you're feeling down—not to offer advice, just to sit beside you. Or take you out of the house, find you something that you like to do. Because if you just sit ay home and don’t go out, it just destroys you. It can destroy you. So counseling and having that support system are the two most important things I can think of.
Also worth noting: The Rebels Project Facebook group was started by two Columbine students aimed at helping those impacted by mass shootings. They have us [the Columbine survivors] at their disposal in dealing with the aftermath. If they want to message me on Facebook, I am here for them. All of us had to navigate this; we all had to lean on one another because no other school was going through what we were. If I can offer any kind of advice 20 years later, then it’s worth it.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
https://www.womenshealthmag.com/lif...m_term=1352726973&utm_campaign=Women's Health
 
Oct 30, 2007
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I guess my thought on that is that we are then talking about skilled labor ie closer to secret service than mall cop (exaggerated).
This articlethat I thought about posting elsewhere talks about how hard it is for employers to find qualified workers in the current economy. Adding to the cash-strapped school system a need to hire a bunch of qualified people is too much to ask.
I know my opinion is disagreed with around here, but, if we are needing essentially combat-qualified school guards because we also want the right to have high-powered firearms, it should be the people that make/buy/deal in those firearms that fund this addition to our needs.
I'm going to respond to this post here, because I don't want to hijack the other thread.

I think this is something of a misconception. The Virginia Tech shooting was the deadliest school shooting our country's history and it was done with 2 common handguns. Even if all of the scary looking "assault rifles" get banned, there will still be a need for armed security at schools.

You can't single out gun owners and force them to pay for added security to ensure a right that's granted to them by the constitution. That's a burden that needs to be funded by society as a whole.
 

steross

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I'm going to respond to this post here, because I don't want to hijack the other thread.

I think this is something of a misconception. The Virginia Tech shooting was the deadliest school shooting our country's history and it was done with 2 common handguns. Even if all of the scary looking "assault rifles" get banned, there will still be a need for armed security at schools.

You can't single out gun owners and force them to pay for added security to ensure a right that's granted to them by the constitution. That's a burden that needs to be funded by society as a whole.
Not a misconception at all. The flu shot does not and virtually cannot cover all the possible strains of the virus. It is still recommended. Pointing out an exception does not invalidate a concept from having some protection. Not to mention, I did not say anything about banning any type of weapon. And, I used the generic term high power, which does not limit it to a type of firearm. There are pistols that are considered "high power" and even named hi-power.

Sure you can single out gun owners. Although, I didn't say gun owners I said manufacturers/dealers/owners. The 2nd amendment does not have any limitation on taxation of the sale of firearms. We are guaranteed freedom of speech. We are not guaranteed freedom to have phones for that speech without fees from the FCC. We are guaranteed freedom of movement. But we still have to pay airport and gasoline taxes. There are countless examples of user fees from the government to pay for the items being used. Look at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Alcohol and tobacco both have user taxes based on the cost to society.

'Scary looking' and "assault rifles" is a poor attempt to strawman my point to look bad when I did not mention the appearance or that designation of any weapon at all.
 

steross

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And columbine was done shotguns and pistols during the assault rifle ban. Interesting.......

Sent from my LG-H811 using Tapatalk
She is advocating media silence about the details of the perpetrators. She specifically said she did not want this to be a gun debate. What is interesting?
 

steross

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The media circus around these things needs to stop. This last guy wanted nothing more than to be famous, a famous mass murderer. He got just that.
Yep. That is what I wanted this thread to be about.

Gun control is just too controversial right now for any real progress to occur. Battle lines have been drawn. Data backing one side or the other is tossed out there. No consensus appears to even be close.

But media silence on these bastards seems achievable and has been shown in other areas to be helpful. I wish it got more airplay than banning this or that or arming teachers or all of those things.
 
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The media circus around these things needs to stop. This last guy wanted nothing more than to be famous, a famous mass murderer. He got just that.
Back when I was young you never heard of mass shootings. Now they seem to be a common occurrence. You have to ask yourself what changed? Guns were even easier to get your hands on back then. Mental illness was just as prevalent and probably went untreated more often than today.

The thing that's changed is the internet and social media. Within 24 hours of a mass shooting, the entire country and most of the world know the shooter's name, age, face, and the amount of casualties. These people become famous almost instantly. I don't want to see the first or second amendment oppressed. But I think it would do wonders towards reducing this type of event if the media would choose to suppress the identity and casualty numbers of mass shootings.

When you look at the Parkland shooter, all of the warning signs were there. It makes you sick to think that actions weren't taken to prevent him from doing this. The Virginia Tech shooter was declared mentally ill, but he was able to buy a gun because he wasn't institutionalized.

It's clear to me that we need to stop making these people famous and that we need to find a way to keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill. Making new stricter gun laws does little to address the root cause of the problem.
 
Oct 30, 2007
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Not a misconception at all. The flu shot does not and virtually cannot cover all the possible strains of the virus. It is still recommended. Pointing out an exception does not invalidate a concept from having some protection. Not to mention, I did not say anything about banning any type of weapon. And, I used the generic term high power, which does not limit it to a type of firearm. There are pistols that are considered "high power" and even named hi-power.

Sure you can single out gun owners. Although, I didn't say gun owners I said manufacturers/dealers/owners. The 2nd amendment does not have any limitation on taxation of the sale of firearms. We are guaranteed freedom of speech. We are not guaranteed freedom to have phones for that speech without fees from the FCC. We are guaranteed freedom of movement. But we still have to pay airport and gasoline taxes. There are countless examples of user fees from the government to pay for the items being used. Look at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Alcohol and tobacco both have user taxes based on the cost to society.

'Scary looking' and "assault rifles" is a poor attempt to strawman my point to look bad when I did not mention the appearance or that designation of any weapon at all.
The constitution guarantees freedom of speech, but it doesn't guarantee the right to use a phone network. It guarantees freedom of movement, but it doesn't guarantee the right to fly on a plane or purchase fuel. It doesn't guarantee the right to purchase alcohol or tobacco either.

You mentioned taxing gun manufacturers, dealers, and owners to pay for school security, but why stop there. Social media and the mainstream media are probably more at fault for the rise we've seen in mass shootings. Why don't we tax anyone has a social media account?

Any firearm should be considered "high powered." The Virginia tech shooter used a glock and a 22 pistol. That may not be the typical weapon of choice for these psychopaths, but it proves that a common handgun can be just as deadly as an AR-15.

I think you're going down a really dangerous path when you start considering taxing someone for simply exercising their rights granted to them by the constitution. I would hate to see that happen.
 

CocoCincinnati

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Sure you can single out gun owners. Although, I didn't say gun owners I said manufacturers/dealers/owners. The 2nd amendment does not have any limitation on taxation of the sale of firearms. We are guaranteed freedom of speech. We are not guaranteed freedom to have phones for that speech without fees from the FCC. We are guaranteed freedom of movement. But we still have to pay airport and gasoline taxes. There are countless examples of user fees from the government to pay for the items being used. Look at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Alcohol and tobacco both have user taxes based on the cost to society.
A person absolutely does not need to have a cell phone to exercise their freedom of speech. Alcohol, tobacco, cars and planes are not rights guaranteed by the constitution. Putting a special tax just on firearms is the equivalent of charging people a tax every time they refuse a search of their vehicle or charging a fee every time someone takes the 5th.
 

CocoCincinnati

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She's wrong, something has changed. There are literally millions more AR-15 type weapons in the hands of gun owners in this country than there were when Columbine happened. And still those types of weapons are used in fewer homicides than hammers are.
 

steross

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I think you're going down a really dangerous path when you start considering taxing someone for simply exercising their rights granted to them by the constitution. I would hate to see that happen.
It happens every single day.
The constitutional right is to bear arms. The constitution is silent on manufacture, cost, or other aspects.
So, just like the constitution does not guarantee the right to a phone network, it does not guarantee the right to purchase a gun. It certainly does not have any mention of cost of a gun or taxation.
I'm not sure what is making you think a gun is different than those other things.
Maybe a better example, that I did already mention, is alcohol. The 21st amendment allows the use of alcohol. Alcohol is taxed. You can't use alcohol without alcohol. State and local governments can create laws regarding alcohol just like state and local governments can have gun control laws. Alcohol is regulated by the same agency as firearms.
No analogy is perfect, but c'mon where was your concern for this dangerous path for alcohol taxes and the exercise of the 21st amendment to the constitution?
 

steross

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A person absolutely does not need to have a cell phone to exercise their freedom of speech. Alcohol, tobacco, cars and planes are not rights guaranteed by the constitution. Putting a special tax just on firearms is the equivalent of charging people a tax every time they refuse a search of their vehicle or charging a fee every time someone takes the 5th.
Alcohol, 21st, see above.
No, those examples are not the same. The tax for the purchase has nothing to do with the right to bear. The only firearm I have ever born in a civilian capacity was given to me by my grandfather. If he would have paid a tax at purchase it would have had no more impact on my right to bear arms than the tax paid by my friend when he bought me my first drink at 21 had on my right to drink. You examples are taxing the right. A firearms tax is taxing the purchase, not the right.

You already do pay sales tax on a firearm, corrrect? The outrage!!!!!!!

I understand you guys not liking this. But, the holes in your logic are huge.
 

CocoCincinnati

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Alcohol, 21st, see above.
No, those examples are not the same. The tax for the purchase has nothing to do with the right to bear. The only firearm I have ever born in a civilian capacity was given to me by my grandfather. If he would have paid a tax at purchase it would have had no more impact on my right to bear arms than the tax paid by my friend when he bought me my first drink at 21 had on my right to drink. You examples are taxing the right. A firearms tax is taxing the purchase, not the right.

You already do pay sales tax on a firearm, corrrect? The outrage!!!!!!!

I understand you guys not liking this. But, the holes in your logic are huge.
So in your opinion, if the government decided to tax firearms at 5000%, that would not be at attempt to stop people from exercising their constitutional rights? And you think it would be perfectly acceptable even if it made buying firearms practically impossible for most Americans.
 
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steross

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So in your opinion, if the government decided to tax firearms at 5000%, that would not be at attempt to stop people from exercising their constitutional rights? And you think it would be perfectly acceptable even if it made owing firearms practically impossible for most Americans.
Where did I mention a tax rate of 5000%? Are we hiring Jean Claude Van Damme to guard the schools?

Why would a government that is perfectly able to change amendments to the constitution (as they did with alcohol) choose to place a massive prohibitive tax like has never been done before instead of just changing the amendment in the first place? Why place a huge tax instead of just enacting gun control? Sure, could be done, just seems a bit outlandish and pointless.
 

OSUCowboy787

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Where did I mention a tax rate of 5000%? Are we hiring Jean Claude Van Damme to guard the schools?

Why would a government that is perfectly able to change amendments to the constitution (as they did with alcohol) choose to place a massive prohibitive tax like has never been done before instead of just changing the amendment in the first place? Why place a huge tax instead of just enacting gun control? Sure, could be done, just seems a bit outlandish and pointless.
While we're modifying gun rights we should also consider modifying voting rights. Maybe require voter ID in every state? I would think electing someone based off an illegal vote is more dangerous than our gun laws currently.
 

CocoCincinnati

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Where did I mention a tax rate of 5000%? Are we hiring Jean Claude Van Damme to guard the schools?

Why would a government that is perfectly able to change amendments to the constitution (as they did with alcohol) choose to place a massive prohibitive tax like has never been done before instead of just changing the amendment in the first place? Why place a huge tax instead of just enacting gun control? Sure, could be done, just seems a bit outlandish and pointless.
You said putting a tax on a firearm did not violate the 2nd amendment. I am simply trying to determine the limit of that. Forget 5000, How about 100%? 50%? At what point would you consider a fee/tax on something as nothing more than an attempt to prohibit it's use? And at that point, would you consider that fee in violation of the constitution?

Let's look at a different example.....Do you agree with the Democrats that requiring a $10 voter ID infringes on some peoples ability to vote? What if that $10 went towards hiring security guards at polling places? Would that make the cost for the ID OK?
 

Boomer.....

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The media circus around these things needs to stop. This last guy wanted nothing more than to be famous, a famous mass murderer. He got just that.
Unfortunately, that will never stop. News organizations are far too eager to get the breaking stories that if they didn't air the story, they would lose advertising dollars and viewers to other channels which decided to air it. You'd never be able to get all of the news outlets to agree to not to cover these tragic events or even mention the suspects name and if you could, there would be many other online sources that would run the story. With news at the tips of our fingers, there's no way to avoid it.
 
Oct 30, 2007
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Where did I mention a tax rate of 5000%? Are we hiring Jean Claude Van Damme to guard the schools?

Why would a government that is perfectly able to change amendments to the constitution (as they did with alcohol) choose to place a massive prohibitive tax like has never been done before instead of just changing the amendment in the first place? Why place a huge tax instead of just enacting gun control? Sure, could be done, just seems a bit outlandish and pointless.
I understand the basic argument you're making, but I'm not sure you understand the scope of what you're saying. There are approximately 98K public schools in the US. If you hired only one armed security guards per school and paid them $50K per year, it would cost $4.9 billion annually. The overall cost would be higher though, because some schools are so large they would need more than one guard.

The most recent numbers I can find show that the federal government collects right around $123 million per year in tax from firearm sales. So if you crunch the numbers, they would have to raise sales tax by approximately 4000% to put one armed security guard in every school.

Obviously a tax increase like that would never fly. They wouldn't be able to fund school security through sales tax. They would have to tax citizens for simply owning a gun, and that should never happen.