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A Conversation With a Columbine Survivor

Marjorie Lindholm on Life After Columbine and Advice in the Wake of School Shootings

Are there things that you do on a day when a school shooting happens or an anniversary day -- things you do to take care of yourself?

Absolutely. I really think on those days, you do need to find comfort in something. My thing is ice cream, of course, like most females (laughs).

Any flavor in particular?

Oh, cookies and cream, for sure. (laughs) I love it. But I just treat myself. Even after the shootings, for, like, six months solid, all I ate were Peppermint Patties and Mountain Dew. And although it's unhealthy, to an average person, it mentally got me through it, and that's what mattered. Because so many of my friends at that time got into drug use or alcohol use or even killed themselves. And it's easy to do that when you go through something so traumatic at such a young age when you're just not prepared. Anything you can do to keep yourself still on track I think is so good. So during my harder days or the anniversaries or even when another shooting happens ... you know, my thing's food. (laughs) So I just do that, the ice cream, and maybe take myself to a movie or call a friend. But definitely, I don't push myself those days.

Do you think that this has marked your generation, including people in another part of the country that never had to go through a school shooting?

Unfortunately, yeah, it's affected the generation just dramatically. Because if you notice the pattern of the school shootings, they were high schools and now it's moving into colleges, which kind of means it's following the age group. Even the younger shooters that are doing these crimes were old enough during Columbine to see the "cool factor" in it. ... I think there's a 10-year age period where this is a fascination and it's absolutely horrible and I do hope that it stops. But unfortunately I don't know that it's going to.

What do you mean by the "cool factor"? That people are fascinated by it?

Absolutely. I think that the way that the way media portrayed Columbine right when it happened kind of set [shooters] Eric [Harris] and Dylan [Klebold] as these icons to so many people who were bullied and abused and with mental illness. And unfortunately that hasn't gone away. I think a lot of people want to do copycat shootings, and I think a lot of people want to prove a point by showing that they can also do it. And unfortunately, out of a school of thousands of people, it only takes one person ... to do this to everyone. So even those few people -- and they are just a few people -- can just devastate millions of people because as you see, it affects the nation.

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