[UPDATE 1:47pm: Sol Pais has been found dead.]
As the Columbine Massacre played out, live on television back in 1999, a new generation of Americans came of age. And fast.
I was one of those Americans. As a high school senior, the event was terrifying. Worse still, the high school that I attended had its fair share of disaffected, bullied, lonely students who fit the profile of the madmen responsible.
In fact, while I was attempting to graduate, we had four incidents of bomb threats and evacuations in a span of six days. Given the size of my school, (tiny), the students would all be relocated to the basement of two churches about a block away from the front doors of our school. These copycats even started an online rumor at one point, during the internet’s infancy in our small town, that during one of these evacuations gunmen would open fire on the single-file crowds.
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Out of the 550 or so total students in my 7th grade through 12th grade school’s population, only around 140 of us came to school that day. The terror was that real, and the wounds of Columbine still that fresh.
Now, as the horror of the Columbine Massacre closes in on its 20th anniversary, a frightening reminder of our vulnerability is again on display.
The F.B.I. said a Florida high school student was no longer a threat on Wednesday after she made threats that prompted hundreds of schools to close across the Denver area.
Identified as Sol Pais, 18, the woman had traveled to Denver and bought a firearm ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, officials said.
The authorities said Ms. Pais was considered armed and “extremely dangerous,” and the decision to keep about half a million students home in two dozen school districts showed the sense of alarm among officials.
Scarier still was Pias’ homage to the Columbine shooters.
Ms. Pais, a student at Miami Beach Senior High School, had last been seen wearing a black T-shirt, camouflage pants and black boots, the authorities said.
Authorities have yet to release details as to why they are no longer considering the threat valid, but Pais serves as a reminder to us all that evil lurks even in the most surprising of places.
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