A funeral and school shootings

March 16, 2009 at 10:04 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I couldn’t find any record of James Meadow writing about Columbine. But Meadow’s funeral Saturday made me think of my time covering the April 20, 1999 shootings.

Meadow was a 59-year-old reporter who worked with me at the the Rocky Mountain News, and I knew him for all 10 years I was at the paper. The Rocky’s last day was Friday Feb. 28, and exactly one week later, Meadow was riding his bike at Chatfield State Park. In what appears to be a freak accident, he crashed. Two days later, he died.

The funeral Saturday, attended by hundreds including Mayor John Hickenlooper, was gut-wrenching. As I mentioned earlier, it was the first reunion for the Rocky after its closing. Many reporters told great and funny stories about Meadow. But the scene remained grim upon grim.

I thought of how I covered Columbine from Day One. And for about the first three weeks, I worked the story every day. A weather story at that point came as a welcome relief.

But I never covered a funeral for any of the Columbine victims. I think that helped save me, and allow me to work on a book about Columbine for ten years.

It’s also something to think about as last week’s Winnenden school shooting fades from U.S. headlines and funerals begin in Germany.

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