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 Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting?

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Sabratha
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PostSubject: Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting?   Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting? Icon_minitimeThu Jul 09, 2015 2:44 am

Hey all,

New member here. I was looking up some information/documentaries about Columbine for a project and started recalling some memories I have.

My family and I moved to Littleton in 1998, when I was 8 years old. Although I'm American we had been living abroad for the past few years, so most of my life was conducted outside of the states. As an 8 year old not only attending a new school but also living in an entirely "new" country, I was experiencing quite the culture shock, but enjoyed life nonetheless (Pokemon certainly helped.)

I lived in a neighborhood called Grant Ranch, which (IIRC) was only about a mile or two from Columbine. Many of the teenagers I knew in my community went to Columbine. I attended an elementary school a few miles farther away, along with my siblings, who are both younger.

April 20th, 1999 was a typical school day for the most part. I think school got out around 4 or 4:30. Since it was a Tuesday there was nothing particularly special planned, so it was weird when an adminstrator somberly came into our class and told us we'd be having P.E. for the rest of the day (probably an hour or two left in the school day at that point). It was even stranger when we noticed that our other 2 classes (each grade level was divided into 3 classes, from 1st - 3rd grade. 4th-8th grade was at a different campus) were having P.E. as well. We ran relay races until the school day ended, and one by one, students' parents arrived to take us home early. The P.E. teacher and other teachers would exchange words to each other from time to time, and at least one noticeably had tears in her eyes, though she tried to hide it. My mom came around the time half the class had left, looking absolutely disgusted. She collected my brother and I (my brother was in 2nd grade - not in the gymnasium, but elsewhere I don't recall), and took us through the hallway to the parking lot. We didn't really ask why we were leaving early. As we walked down the hall, we passed a 1st grade teacher, who said: "It's absolutely horrible, isn't it?" My mom replied: "I'm just totally shocked."

Hearing that my interest was totally piqued and I asked her what was going on. She turned and basically spat, "Some kids with guns went into the high school [Columbine, due to its proximity, was "the" high school] and shot a lot of other people."

Now, there was probably a better way to break the news to a 9 and 7 year old, but I distinctly remember my reaction to hearing that. It wasn't shock or horror really, but curiosity. I tried to imagine what it looked like. I had an image of teenagers bursting through the main doors, grinning, waving oversized guns. I'd never seen a gun up close before, so my image of what a gun looked like was exaggerated and probably based on Goldeneye 64 and Turok.

We drove home. I remember a bevy of police cars parked in surprising places and speeding all over the place. More than one fire truck. By this time, as I said, it was the afternoon, but there was still a lot of activity. I'm not sure if we passed Columbine TBH. I doubt it. But the images of the scene are burned into my memory now, probably from television exposure.

At home the TV was on in the kitchen and my mom watched it with her hand to her mouth, wide-eyed. I went to the basement where a larger, older TV was hooked up to our beloved N64. I turned the TV on, and the news was playing footage of students fleeing from the school, stumbling across hills and grass while news anchors narrated over the footage. I watched for a while, then turned it off and started playing some game.

I think part of the reason it didn't really hit me as such a grotesque event was because I was still new. I'd been in the US for less than a year. A big part of me assumed this was kind of how the US was - that people got shot up from time to time. It didn't feel real at all.

Later my dad came home and angrily demanded I hand over my copy of Goldeneye and MK3 for SNES. Violent video games, apparently, had become a popular target of blame within 8 hours of the shooting. I didn't like that - Goldeneye was, like, the best multiplayer game we had, and was super popular at my school. But what was I gonna do?

The coming weeks played out as you'd expect. We had a memorial for the victims at school. People cried, I still didn't really get it. The crosses went up. Church services discussed the shooting ad nauseum. A song called "Columbine a friend of mine" played every day on the radio, and there were columbines on every car, ever house, nearly everywhere you looked. The teenagers I knew (some of whom baby sat me) talked a bit about what that day was like. Little of it amounted to more than "I just ran through the front door when the shooting started," but knowing people who were actually there was even more surreal. Looking back on it, I'm sure some of them had other experiences that they just didn't want to share.

An older neighbor attended the 4th-8th grade campus of my school. She said that, during recess, one of the teachers ( a frumpy old lady who I'd have the displeasure of learning from in 2000) came running out of the buildling waving her arms. "EVERYBODY COME INSIDE!" I think this would've been around 12; they apparently didn't know what exactly was going on, and the possiblity of a shooter prowling not just the campus but the city itself was possible. All the students had to run inside and stay under lock down for a while. THAT would've been alarming. I think my school handled it fairly well, compared to the upper campus which seemed in more of a state of panic.

A few days later,On the playground, we ragged on this unpopular kid who talked about how awesome his birthday was going to be, because he had just gotten an N64 and Goldeneye with it. How insensitive of him to play such a violent game after that horrible event, said my friends. I nodded in agreement, even though we all loved it before the shooting.

Of course, news and politics are items of interest to adults, not children, and eventually it kind of faded from our memory. At one point my dad took us kids to his closet and showed us 2 guns he owned - both antiques, never fired. He explained how we should never touch a gun and how dangerous they were. I don't think I realized this had anything to do with Columbine until well after.

And then life kind of went on.

I know this story is very banal and uninteresting. My experience of that day is probably not much different from anyone who was living in New York or LA or London or Paris. Looking back on it, though, I think it really did have an impact on my outlook and my understanding of the world. It's probably as formative an impact on my life as my day of high school or my first kiss. Like I said, being relatively young and new to the US probably had an impact on it. What were the odds that something so horrible would happen in the exact town we were living in? The thought that it was incredibly rare never struck young me.

I'm mostly posting this to see if anyone else on this forum was living in Columbine at the time and has any memories of that day or the days and months after. Maybe if you remember something you could jog my memory. Or if you just want to shoot the shit about Littleton, I'm down for that too. I moved to Texas at 16 and only went back to the city twice thereafter. The last time I was there was 2012 - it looked a bit rundown, but more or less the same as when I left it.

tl;dr I was 8 and living in Littleton at the time of the shooting. Anyone else?





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tfsa47090
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PostSubject: Re: Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting?   Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting? Icon_minitimeThu Jul 09, 2015 5:59 am

Welcome to the forum, FormerLittleton.

Personally, I don't feel that what you have shared here is uninteresting in the slightest; quite the contrary. And I thank you for doing so.

As far as I'm aware at this time, the only person here who lived in the area at the time is our member Yumeko-chan. She has openly shared the fact that she is Amanda Stair, sister of Joe Stair. She was present in the library where the bulk of the massacre occurred. She hasn't been participating much as of late, but that doesn't mean she won't be back in the future.

We have another member here under the name Fatheroftwo, who has shared that he is a newer resident of the area.
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Sabratha

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PostSubject: Re: Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting?   Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting? Icon_minitimeThu Jul 09, 2015 7:32 am

Thanks for sharing.
I was older than you at the time, but I can relate in some way as I am an European and at that time in 1999 it didn't make a big impact on me. the news reports here were very sketchy at best and it overall had a "people in the US shoot one another with guns all the time" vibe.

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PostSubject: Re: Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting?   Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting? Icon_minitimeThu Jul 09, 2015 2:22 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience FL, as much information that is available on the internet, nothing compares to personal thoughts or memories.

Interesting how the different campuses handled things as well as the parents & community students. I would imagine I would have responded much like yourself & things would have taken a while to settle in.

A new friend here in the Denver area shared with me last week that he lived in Littleton during the event (he currently lives minutes from the Klebolds in the foothills just west of Littleton/Columbine proper).

As with other Littleton residents at the time, he commented on the shock & effects it had on the community that he described as almost a bad dream like haze for months. Probably the most interesting part was the effect it had on real estate.. the area was previously coveted for it's location & school system, but post 4/20 the market crashed & it was difficult if not impossible to sell a house without taking a loss.

Those effects are long gone.. the area is thriving.

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Juicy Jazzy

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PostSubject: Re: Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting?   Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting? Icon_minitimeThu Jul 09, 2015 10:53 pm

I don't live in the US, but people here always refer to school shootings in the US as 'Columbines'.
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PostSubject: Re: Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting?   Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting? Icon_minitimeThu Jul 09, 2015 10:56 pm

Interesting to hear about what it's like nowadays FatherofTwo. I lived in Denver for about 6 months in 2012 and loved it. Even then the metro area was growing rapidly; I hear it's expanding even more now. Littleton is probably filling with families and young professionals as a result.

In 2011 I visited a Colorado-native friend who was living in LA. Another friend of his, born and raised in Littleton, came to visit at the same time. He languidly reported that nearly all of his friends who stayed in the city became pill addicts and the whole city was plagued by addiction. Kind of depressing, though I kept in mind that this was just one young guy's anecdote.

One thing I neglected to mention in my first post was that the school I attended was Catholic. Not the nuns&rulers kind, but uniforms, A daily Religion class, and weekly Church service at the upper campus. As you can probably imagine, the "She Said Yes" story became a common topic of lessons and conversation, as well as church services. I don't want to disparage anyone's belief, but even at a young age I was skeptical about the story, espeically the way my teachers reported it. They used it as a method to introduce the topic of martyrdom and... ugh, it just felt kind of gross, even back then. I'm glad it's been mostly debunked now, AFAIK.

Obviously child-me knew little about housing prices and all that, but it definitely makes sense that Colubmien would have had detrimental effects. It wasn't until I was in 6th or 7th grade - '02 or '03 - that I really noticed the neighborhood start expanding again. They started building schools within Grant Ranch itself, which I found almost comical. This was "home" area - not "school" area! It was definitely an idyllic place to have a childhood though. Shame it had to endure all that, but it goes without saying...
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PostSubject: Re: Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting?   Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting? Icon_minitimeTue Jul 14, 2015 11:33 am

Great post and very interesting to me.
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PostSubject: Re: Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting?   Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting? Icon_minitimeSun Sep 25, 2022 5:14 am

I don't live in Littleton, but I need my post count to be as high as possible.

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PostSubject: Re: Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting?   Was Anyone Else Living in Littleton At The Time of The Shooting? Icon_minitime

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