No one needs to be reminded how Sept. 11, 2001, changed the United States. But fewer people are likely to remember another date that changed the country nearly as profoundly.
Seven years ago today, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold gunned down 12 classmates and a teacher at their suburban Denver high school, and the way we looked at the safety of our schools changed forever.
People suddenly realized that schools are not sanctuaries, that dealing with bullies is a serious issue rather than a rite of passage, and, finally, that there is sometimes a price to pay for the level of freedom we enjoy in this country.
Since Columbine, there have been many more cases of school violence and many deaths, including an incident last year in Minnesota in which 10 students died. Earlier this year, a student at Pine Middle School in Reno injured two students with a firearm.
Remembering the anniversary isn't enough, and it's commendable that local schools realized that long ago. They have plans in place to react the instant there's a threat. They encourage students to report whenever they hear other students making threats. Technology allows our schools to quickly account for their students, and intruder locks and cameras are in place at some schools.
Today's anniversary is a good opportunity for parents to do what they can. That means talking with their children about problems they may be experiencing, and getting them help if they need it. And - pardon us if this seems obvious - it also means keeping firearms under lock and key.