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Mental Health Center

A Conversation With a Columbine Survivor

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

What advice would you give to people who have just gone through a school shooting?

The best advice I can give them is not to isolate themselves. And that is exactly the thing you want to do. You don't want to talk about it to your parents. You don't want to talk about it to your family. And you really don't want to talk about it to your friends because you kind of feel like they have no clue what you're going through. I know there [are] cliques and there always will be, but if they could just be accepting for right now and make sure nobody's alone, even the weird kid that sits in the corner. You know, you have to watch out for everyone right now.

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