The shooting Tuesday at the STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado was horrific, a statement that may be one thing on which all Coloradans can agree. Two young suspects, echoing the Columbine High School massacre 20 years ago, are alleged to have killed one and injured eight.
“I live close to Columbine. I always knew this would happen,” a student near the scene told the Colorado Independent Tuesday. On Wednesday, students and community members gathered for a vigil at the Highlands Ranch High School. It had been organized by Team Enough, affiliated with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, although the students did not seem to know that.
Some were not happy when they discovered it. They “rebelled against a program that they believed gave too much time to politics and not enough to the students... who wanted to share their thoughts and to remember Kendrick Castillo, their 18-year-old classmate who was killed in the attack,” Colorado Public Radio reported.
“They were just talking about Kendrick like he was a prop and that wasn’t something I could handle,” one student said.
“We are pretty much really mad because they turned us into politics about gun control when we came here to respect our brother,” said another. “We are people, not a statement.”
It is scarcely bearable that we have an ever-lengthening list of children who have been at the scenes of school shootings, who also have been victims. We should not expect them all to be of one mind about the political meaning of crises, even if that may seem crystal clear to some adults, even in Colorado.
There will always be time for politics – later, perhaps, and elsewhere.