Columbine survivor argues mass shootings should be politicized

A survivor of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre has argued that school shootings should be “politicized” to propel meaningful change in the wake of the Uvalde tragedy. 

In an op-ed for NBC News, Craig Nason — who was a student at Columbine when two seniors at the school shot and killed 12 fellow high schoolers and a teacher — said that Americans should prioritize making similar shootings a political issue. 

“Politicians love to tell us not to ‘politicize these tragedies’ following mass shootings. But that statement itself is a political demand — one that protects the status quo,” he wrote.

According to Nason, he “was forced to process the murder of my friends, the trauma of my community, and the unique attention the world paid to my experience,” and added that “political solutions” should be expected from U.S. leaders.

He wrote that in 1999, many considered the Columbine shooting to be a “once-in-a-generation type of tragedy” and something few others in the U.S. would ever experience. He would “never have dreamed my nightmare would become America’s new normal,” he added. “But now mass gun violence in the United States happens with breathtaking frequency.”

Nason said that the U.S. “vowed to never forget Columbine” but instead “the opposite has happened.”

“Virginia Tech. Aurora. Newtown. Orlando. Las Vegas. Parkland. El Paso. Buffalo. Uvalde. It is a burden too heavy,” he wrote.

According to Education Week, a news organization that’s been tracking school shootings since 2018, there had been at least 27 shootings on school property in 2022 as of May 25.

Nason’s opinion piece was published a week after 19 elementary school children and two teachers were killed in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade. 

It comes as Democrats in Congress are contemplating votes on gun reform measures including a federal red-flag law and expanded background checks. However, doubts remain over possible Republican cooperation.