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'So many people need to die'

Scary sentence, isn't it?

I remember in the follow up to Columbine, I had a long conversation with Principal Gary Clark over at West Fargo High School about how hard this hit home, and what could possibly have gone wrong.

What, Clark wondered along with me, could make someone feel so ostracized that he would feel the need to do this? And why couldn't he turn to his parents with those feelings?

We're shocked each time more and more information is leaked about the two obviously emotionally disturbed young men who operated the biggest rampage in the history of American schools.

We hear more and more details of how well Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris planned that fateful day of April 20, 1999. How they had notebooks and notebooks full of pages with drawings, plans of attack, notes sent to one another, referring to that date as the day of "Hell on Earth."

They had literally played God, determining who they did and did not want to die, singling out about 100 kids of the thousands who attended Columbine as "friends."

Thousands more, just because of the hurtful things said by those with whom they associated, were targeted as foes.

The fact is, the tragedy could have been so much worse, if Klebold and Harris had actually constructed operable bombs. Tanks of propane were found in a packed cafeteria, ready to explode, nails taped to them for further carnage.

But what have we learned?

I hope that parents have become a bit nosier since then. That we understand that 16 and 17-year-olds who still live at home don't quite have the "rights" that adults do. I hope we understand that it's OK if they're a little miffed when we come into their room, or check up on what they're doing in the garage or the basement, because we do it out of love.

Not saying that Klebold and Harris' parents didn't love them. It just seems that they didn't care. Either that, or they were way too trusting of two people crying out for some attention. And denial and ignorance are two terrible things.

I believe we've made progress, and that progress goes way beyond metal detectors at the door, and that progress wasn't impeded by a similar shooting at Red Lake High School in Minnesota. I think communities have made strides, been more vigilant, and looked out for our kids a bit more than we did back then.

But we're not na?ve. We understand that this could happen here, now. We've worked with law enforcement on how to deal with situations like this, practicing school "lock downs" and going so far as to place a police officer in the schools.

It's just sad that it took this long, and something like Columbine, to get us there.