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 Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?

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evadjams



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PostSubject: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:43 pm

"Students down! UNDER THE TABLES, KIDS!"

Was this really the best command for an active shooter situation, even one heading in their direction, rather than running for the North library exit?

Is this not some of the absolute worst advice that could've been given? Even considering the precedent for such situations was hostage-taking, etc.

Those kids became sitting ducks because of Mrs. Nielson. I hope she has at least some awareness that she didn't save lives or protect students that day.

So much of this story is a narrative of authority figures failing kids. Mostly systematic - not respecting warning signs. But Nielson's idiotic command is in contrast to Coach Sanders' quick thinking, and strikes me as another aspect of this narrative. "Those kids [that did] saved themselves."
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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:56 pm

She probably asks herself the same thing every day. However, she had just been shot and probably panicked.
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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:10 pm

She was in a panicked state, she did what she thought would be best.

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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:57 pm

Also, it's not like there were only a handful of students, there were about 50 (or thereabouts). Not exactly knowing where E&D were, I think she did what she felt was best at that moment.

There was a male teacher who wanted to get the kids out of the library, but I don't know who he was or what happened to him.

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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:59 pm

I'm not saying she wasn't panicked, or had anything but the best intentions, just saying it was a staggeringly poor judgement in the moment.
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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:22 pm

She did what she thought was right during a time she was panicked. Was it a bad idea? Yeah, probably. Did it get more kids killed? Most likely. But I don't really blame her for what she did. Schools didn't really have active shooter protocols. There was no set plan to follow during an event like Columbine when it occurred. It was a spur of the moment thing, and she made a rash judgement she thought was best for everyone involved.

Now, what really kills me is that open library door leading to the outside. All those officers sitting outside while that slaughter went on in the library... and that open door just right there.
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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:28 pm

I honestly think there was really nothing she could do besides close the doors, but I can definitely understand being too afraid to close them with the shooters right outside.

The library was pretty much cornered. Eric and Dylan were shooting at the intersection of the main hallway and library hallway, so if the students were to leave the main exit of
the library, they would be seen by Eric and Dylan at the corner of the main hallway. If the students were to leave through the emergency exit door, they would be seen by
Eric and Dylan from the west entrance door windows.
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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:01 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
There was a male teacher who wanted to get the kids out of the library, but I don't know who he was or what happened to him.

This was Rich Long. He was in the library fixing a computer. He pushed Carol Weld and Peggy Dodd and (I think) 2 others into the magazine room and closed the door. He did initially tell the students to get down under the desks but as the gunshots got closer he started directing people to run. He was initially going to tell them to go to the commons but when he saw a wave of people fleeing the commons he then started directing people down the south hall. He told police he "tucked" kids into the science hallway.

I'd bet that Patti Nielson has suffered tremendous regret for her decision to tell the kids to get under the tables. In hindsight it was a deadly decision but she was doing the best she knew how to protect them. And, in fairness, a couple minutes into her 911 call the dispatcher did tell her to "keep everyone low to the floor". She'd already directed them there but this probably solidified in her mind that she was giving the best possible instructions.
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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Fri Sep 21, 2018 7:57 am

Technically she DID doom them, by shouting at them to stay under the tables and basically wait for death.

Couldn't she have told the students to exit the library via the West door before E&D entered?[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

It's important to keep in mind however that school shootings weren't really a thing back then. The teachers were basically caught with their pants down. You've got fire alarms blaring, gunfire, E&D clearly having the time of their lives... Patti must've been scared to death.

Anyone know what the protocol is these days for responding to a school shooting? I'm guessing it's to get all the students outside as quickly as possible, since keeping them in rooms hiding underneath tables is basically a death trap.
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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Fri Sep 21, 2018 11:49 am

In the span of probably 90 seconds, Patti Nielson heard "popping noises" went to the doors to investigate, got shot at and was hit by flying glass and wood, then proceeded to run to the library. The only information she had was that the shooters were heading towards the west entrance. The only ways out of the library were through the main doors which would lead to were she most recently saw Eric & Dylan, and the emergency exit of the library which I believe came out of near the bottom of the staircase where Daniel Rohrbough was killed. The top of that staircase is the West entrance. She probably didn't want to send kids running out into the open in such close proximity to where E & D had been just a minute or two earlier.
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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Sat Sep 22, 2018 9:16 pm

She had no idea where to send them if she did tell them to leave. There is every possibility telling them to get up and run would have gone terribly wrong. Even if they had tried to get out the north door, Eric and Dylan could have doubled back and shot at them. If that had happened, we would now be asking ourselves and eachother why Nielson didn't tell them to get down and hide, wouldn't that be safer than randomly running into a direction without knowing if it's safe?

The truth is we'll never know and, while I know none of you were truly criticizing her, she has gotten a lot of undeserved criticism from the parents of the victims, who would have no more known what to do in that situation than she did. Panic and simply not knowing what to do caused her to make the wrong decision, but hindsight is always 20/20.

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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:58 am

Hindsight is always 20/20. I believe she did the best she could under the circumstances. No one knows what they would have done if they were in her shoes. I also believe she is probably haunted by the choices she made that day. Survivor's guilt can be very hard to overcome. No

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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:05 pm

I have no doubt she has had to have a lot of therapy over the years.

I have no idea how she is doing now. I hope she's healing.

There is no way anyone could have known they would have wandered around shooting kids under desks.

I always think of the story John Savage told in Zero Hour. When he heard Eric and Dylan say everybody get up and then one of them yelled something about blowing up the school and he was debating on listening to them, since he was like "oh ok, you just want to blow up the school. You don't want to hurt anyone" I think since he knew them he could process those thoughts a little more.



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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:21 pm

well i think that under the table thing wasn't a bad decision in panic or stuff like that. i think that was just the standard procedure in cases of emergency back in the days

as far as i remember in the cafeteria were also some people under the table, even after dave sanders tried to evacuate the whole commons
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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:36 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
well i think that under the table thing wasn't a bad decision in panic or stuff like that. i think that was just the standard procedure in cases of emergency back in the days

as far as i remember in the cafeteria were also some people under the table, even after dave sanders tried to evacuate the whole commons

True, but the people in the cafeteria were largely left to their own devices. Sanders told them to run but didn't stick around to make sure. Many ran, but some stayed behind.
The students in the library were in a much smaller area, they were far more likely to move in a group. Not everybody in the library knew who Nielson was but they pretty much all identified her as an adult, someone they expected would know what to do. If she had insisted they leave with the same persistence and frequency she told them to stay down under the tables, they would likely have done so.

I don't disagree with you by the way. Hiding under tables isn't necessarily a bad thing. Everyone in the classrooms hunkered down and hid and that worked out perfectly. The library just happened to be the place Eric and Dylan started shooting in. It's only the wrong thing to do in hindsight. And like I mentioned in my earlier post, if they had run, they may well have been shot all the same, just in a different place.

I wanna add that if the library had been empty, Eric and Dylan would likely have started shooting in a different place. Maybe the auditorium, where some people were hiding. Maybe the choir room, which was completely full. People would still have died I'm sure.

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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Wed Oct 10, 2018 2:11 pm

We have to remember they didn't know how many shooters there were or even what exactly was happening. For all she knew at the time it was two students in a dispute shooting at each other or maybe just a particular person. All she knew was there was bullets flying and Windows breaking. The natural instinct is to duck down and make yourself as small of a target as possible. I doubt she even considered two people bent on killing as many people as possible would walk into the library and start slaughtering people

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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:58 pm

She found herself in a life-threatening situation that she wasn't trained or prepared to deal with. Today it would probably be different, given the protocols that have been developed since Columbine. Even people in more dangerous occupations haven't always displayed the best judgement. Senior military commanders have cracked under stress and made poor decisions that cost their men dearly. Today, more sophisticated training means that these situations will probably occur less frequently.

Speaking of military matters and kids hiding under desks, look at those duck and cover drills that schoolkids were put through in the 1950s. Now there was an exercise in futility. If a nuke exploded over the city, it's unlikely that (m)any kids would have survived by climbing under their desks. I suppose it was felt that creating the illusion of having some control was helpful.
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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:25 pm

I refuse to put any blame on her. She couldn't have known.

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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Sun Oct 21, 2018 7:00 pm

Did she doom the library students? Yes. Do I blame her for it? No. She was doing what she thought was right under incredible life and death circumstances that couldn't be predicted by anyone. If this were any other shooting those kids may very well have been safe hidden beneath those tables. Because this was Eric and Dylan, they weren't.

I can't imagine the guilt that she must live through every day. She didn't do anything wrong, she just had a blind gamble and lost.
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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Sun Oct 21, 2018 9:57 pm

I don't agree that she "doomed" the library students. That was Eric and Dylan.
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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:23 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
I don't agree that she "doomed" the library students. That was Eric and Dylan.

True.

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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:27 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
I refuse to put any blame on her.  She couldn't have known.


From the lips of a survivor. How could anyone outside place blame when Amanda (who lived through it) doesn't?

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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:49 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
I refuse to put any blame on her.  She couldn't have known.


From the lips of a survivor. How could anyone outside place blame when Amanda (who lived through it) doesn't?

I second that

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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:23 pm

I think a lot of people forget how easy it is to sit in your warm house, safe and sound, and judge someone for what they did in a terrible situation. It's all well and good to say that stuff when you're not in danger, but when I think of what I would feel in a situation like that all I can drum up is terror, absolute mindnumbing terror. Would I even be capable of coherent thought? I don't know but I don't think so.
Equally upsetting was the families of some of the victims insisting Nielson was wrong for hiding herself away while kids got shot. What was she meant to do? Throw her body in front of them like a shield? When she too was terrified? When she too wanted to go home to her family? I hope the people who thought that don't still think it, that time made them see things more clearly.

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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:49 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
I don't agree that she "doomed" the library students. That was Eric and Dylan.

Well, technically yes. They are ultimately the ones responsible.
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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Tue Oct 23, 2018 11:16 pm

If she told them to run out the exit they would be running right where Eric and Dylan shot at her and were standing.
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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Tue Oct 23, 2018 11:17 pm

She didn't know they came into the school
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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Sat Oct 27, 2018 10:42 pm

Supposedly, Dave Sanders also motioned for them to stay in the library.
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PostSubject: Re: Did Patty Nielson doom the library students?   Sat Oct 27, 2018 10:53 pm

I think she did the best she could without knowing what do to. She was terrified but in the end I think more would have escaped running for the back door. I can't blame her at all, she did what she thought was right without getting herself killed
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