04/20/2011 03:19 pm ET Updated Jun 19, 2011

Columbine Anniversary: The Victims' Families

Wednesday is the 12-year anniversary of the Columbine shootings. It does not have the massive hype that attended the 10-year, or the one-year. But having covered the shootings from the first hours, I have noticed that almost every Columbine anniversary has its own personality.

Sometimes it is characterized by a flurry of lawsuits to meet filing deadlines that started ticking from the day of the shootings. Sometimes, threats coincide with the anniversary.

Victims' families are arguably taking ownership of this anniversary. Victims have of course been an important part of anniversary coverage in years past. But at least in Denver, the handful of stories I've seen are on a new film called 13 Families and named for the families of those who were killed.

As a reporter who has covered Columbine in the years following the shootings and author of the book Columbine: A True Crime Story I know the victims families often expressed frustration that we remember the names of the killers and not the victims. I imagine this is true for other crimes. It is a point Kevin Vaughan addresses in his story on the film in the Denver Post.

"Nobody goes through this life without loss and pain," Don Fleming, whose daughter Kelly was killed at Columbine, says in the film, according to Vaughan's article. "Many people have gone through what we have gone through. We have just gone through it with 12 other families together at the same time that have shared the same horrible event."

The Denver alternative weekly Westword also did a Q and A with two of the three filmmakers.

"Meeting with the Columbine families was like meeting an old friend," Steve LuKanic told Westword. "It could have happened to anyone, how they went from normal lives."

The same might be said of the victims themselves:

  • Rachel Scott
  • Dan Rohrbough
  • Dave Sanders
  • Kyle Velasquez
  • Steven Curnow
  • Cassie Bernall
  • Isaiah Shoels
  • Matt Kechter
  • Lauren Townsend
  • John Tomlin
  • Kelly Fleming
  • Daniel Mauser
  • Corey DePooter