Dawn Derman Watercolor 2011
On this day in 1999, two troubled high school students terrorized their school and changed the way Americans would perceive everything from bullying, gun laws, mental health, and school safety forever. Fifteen people, including twelve students, one teacher, and the two shooters died. An additional 24 people were injured.
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold planned and perpetrated one of the most deadly school shootings in American history. When their original plan to bomb the cafeteria failed, they began shooting. Although according to their journals the plan was to kill hundreds of people with bombs and explosives and then escape, both would take their own lives before they could be taken by police.
Although 17 years have passed, school shootings continue in this country. Children are still bullied every day. Guns are still readily available. The internet is full of young people screaming for attention. Mental health is still scoffed at in favor of mass incarceration. People still suffer.
I combed through hundreds of photos for a suitable painting to stand as a memorial for those lost at Columbine. However, I found an alarming amount of fan art from “Columbiners” who seek to idolize the shooters. I found a couple interesting pieces, but nothing that seemed appropriate.
Instead, I opted for this watercolor of a columbine flower by Dawn Derman. It’s simple in color palette, but I find the composition intriguing. Maybe I’m influenced by the subject matter, but I see something extra in this little painting.
The blossom on the left seems so sad and dark. It almost seems defeated. The blossom on the right, however, is flourishing. It’s open and bright. It has movement and flow. It has survived.
Cassie Bernall Daniel Rohrbough Coach Dave Sanders
Steve Curnow Rachel Scott
Corey DePooter Isaiah Shoels Eric Harris
Kelly Fleming John Tomlin Dylan Klebod
Matt Kechter Lauren Townsend
Daniel Mauser Kyle Velasquez