I had already graduated from high school when Columbine became short-hand for school massacre. For a single year, I had attended classes in a fairly rural high school; due to the poor academic offerings, I took college classes for the remainder of the last two years of my high school experience and only went to the high school building to fill out paperwork. Still, I remember very little security in my high school building.
Yet, there was abundant evidence of the potential for violence in my high school. Although we didn’t have gangs—at least none that I ever knew of—and there was relatively little blatant crime, bullying was rampant and went unchecked. Walking through the halls, I heard everything from threats laced with racial slurs to plans to get girls too drunk to realize they were having sex. It was an unpleasant place and I was happy to escape to the more civilized college environment.
When I heard about the Columbine shootings, I found I wasn’t as surprised and shocked as others seemed to be. I could imagine it. I could kind of, sort of understand it. Not that I had ever even entertained such an idea. But I knew people who might have and I understood why they would think about it. And I knew, if they had been pushed just a little bit further, they may even have acted on the impulse.
With all the violence that’s been going on in our society, I’ve shied away from the gorging of the media frenzy. I don’t like the way “freedom of the press” has been transformed into a form of harassment and invasion of privacy, whether it’s celebrities or disaster victims, man-made or otherwise. I also don’t like the way so many try to “cash in” on these disasters, either for profit or for political gain.
So, I was kind of surprised to find April Showers in my Netflix queue. It’s a movie about a school shooting. I wondered why I put it in there. I looked it up and found out that it was written and directed by Andrew Robinson, a Columbine survivor. Then, I remembered that the movie had been recommended in one of my classes.
Art is one of the ways we try to come to terms with the incomprehensible reality that surrounds us. April Showers is an honest exploration of a traumatic event, capturing the horror and the aftermath without relying on gore or sensationalism to tell the story. Life is full of consequence. If we thought a little more about it, then we’d all be able to live better lives.