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Can Lifetime Handle Columbine?

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"Columbine killer Eric Harris wanted to haunt survivors from beyond the grave with flashbacks and drive them insane, he said in a video diary before the killings," - that's how my recent Op-Ed in the Denver Post begins. "As we approach Columbine's 13th anniversary in April, more than 5,000 people are now accusing Lifetime Networks -- which touts 'content that celebrates, entertains and supports women' -- with bringing them ugly Columbine flashbacks."

Those 5,000 are now over 5,600 people who have put their names to the SignOn.org online petition titled "Say 'No' to Columbine Movie."

"We ask for basic human respect be shown to a community that does not want to be exploited over a sensitive, and persistently prodded event," the petition begins. It adds, "There is no mention of any proceeds being directed at programs that address school violence. There has been no indication that people were actually consulted from the community. There is no indication that anyone has been contacted for likeness rights. How the network has gone about making this movie is questionable, which begs the question, 'How tasteful is this movie going to be? Will it be historically accurate or just a gore-fest?' 'How distorted are they going to make the film to sell ad space?'"

The number of petition signers rocketed in a little over a week, and many indicated they were closely tied to the shootings that left 15 dead, including the two killers. The current goal is 7,500 signatures.

"I would argue that no one owns a tragedy such as Columbine," I wrote in the commentary. "But why does Lifetime want to own a piece of it? No compelling answer has emerged. Does the network want to solve an unanswered question about the shootings? Or does it just want to entertain?"

The other part of the commentary was, "If Lifetime wants to enlighten us, it has already stumbled. Anyone can investigate for themselves what happened at Columbine. But Lifetime has chosen to tell a specific and unfounded story about Columbine..."