Columbine Survivors Reach Out to Theater Victims
The images brought it all back for survivors of the 1999 Columbine massacre. The blood. The tears. The confusion and the heartache, the elusive search for a reason why.
Paralyzed in the Columbine shootings, Anne Marie Hochhalter, now 30, says friends still reach out to alert her to prepare for disturbing images on the news. She got a text message Friday morning when she woke up. Warning, it said. There was another one, this time close to home. “Don’t watch news,” it said. “mass shooting in aurora.”
Hochhalter took a deep breath and turned on the TV.
“My heart just fell,” Hochhalter said Sunday. “It brought back a lot — flashbacks from that day. At the time, I was so hurt I wasn’t watching the news, you know, watching it like other people were. But this time, I was right there, seeing it all.”
Columbine students who survived what in 1999 was the worst school massacre in U.S. history are reliving their own experiences. And they’re banding together to try to help. On Facebook and by phone, they are reaching out to people who witnessed Friday’s early-morning slayings of 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora.
Now a retail manager, Hochhalter said she can offer a little hope.
“I would tell them that with time, it does get better. But it never goes away,” she said.