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Columbine massacre turns 25; remember the case

On April 20, 1999, two students from Columbine High School in Colorado, just three weeks before graduation, stormed a suburban school armed with shotguns and semiautomatic weapons, killing 12 students and a teacher before committing suicide.

Twenty-five years ago, the event came as a shock to the nation. Today, mass shootings at schools and elsewhere have become commonplace and part of the fabric of American life.

There have been previous mass shootings in the US: 1 dead at the University of Texas at Austin in 1966, 21 dead at a McDonald's in San Ysidro, California, in 1984, 23 dead at Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, in 1991.

But the event at Columbine penetrated deeply into the consciousness of Americans.

The term “school shooting” has become a category of mass murder: 32 killed at Virginia Tech University in 2007, 26 killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012, 17 killed at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018, 21 dead at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas in 2022. And many others.

School districts and local authorities now routinely conduct active strike drills and instruct students, teachers and staff on how to respond in the event of a threat.

In 2023, there were 656 mass shootings in the U.S., according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit group that keeps daily totals. In 2022, there were 646 mass shooting attacks, and in 2021, there were 689.

The group defines a mass shooting as any gun violence event in which four or more people are injured or killed, not including the shooter.

But on that morning 25 years ago, live television images were broadcast of helicopters circling overhead as students hurriedly leaving school with their hands above their heads.

Bloodied and emotionally shattered students hugged each other in tears as rescuers tended to the injured. Distraught parents rushed to the school seeking news about their children.

In the decades since the shooting, the high school has been heavily renovated. Few of the teachers and staff present during the attack still work there, and current students enrolled at Columbine High weren't even born when the tragedy occurred.

Source: CNN Brasil

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