In the 20 years since the Columbine High School shooting on April 20, 1999, the United States and the world at large has mourned lives lost in that and subsequent school shootings, including Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and Parkland.
Earlier this week, we published an article featuring four Columbine survivors . Sarah Green Bush, who was just 16 years old when she lived through Columbine, is now a wife and mother. She explained in that article that each instance of school violence brings the memories of that day to the surface.
“When Sandy Hook happened, that was just a huge, huge blow to me,” she said. “I remember my son was in kindergarten, and so he was really, really close to the age of those kids. I went to pick him up from school, and I just bawled. I got out of the car, and I normally would’ve waited in the car, but I ran and I grabbed him. . . . I had to hold him.”
On this week’s episode of All In, Will Beck, who was a sophomore at Columbine in April 1999, shared with All In host Morgan Jones his advice for other survivors who may be suffering as a result of experiencing traumatic violence at school.
You can listen to the entire episode by clicking here or by clicking play in the player below.
Morgan Jones: You mentioned that there have been a lot of other incidences of violence in schools and similar situations since Columbine. If you were to talk to . . . one of those kids, let’s say one of the Latter-day Saint kids [who] was there at Parkland, what advice would you give them about how to move on and move forward?
Will Beck: First, I would want to just give them a big hug and just tell them, “I love you. I have been where you’re at, and I know how you feel, and it’s horrible. And nothing can change that, nothing can take it away immediately. Don’t feel bad for feeling bad. But just take it a day at a time and try to make each day a little bit better than the others, and Christ will lift the burden from you if you give it to Him. It’s hard. It’s not an immediate, magical thing, but if you keep going and you’re finding ways to serve other people and make your life about giving to God and giving Him your life, then I really believe He will make yours better and help you find happiness.”
There’s actually one Parkland student that I talk to a little bit here and there, and they just had their one-year anniversary. I was talking to her and just trying to tell her, "Hey, there’s a large group of people who are praying for you and just want you to be okay. Just keep going. Keep living life. Don’t quit." I think it’s easy to feel like, "I should stop doing whatever." But if you keep living, life gets better.
Listen to the full episode by clicking here.