Anne Marie Hochhalter was a high school junior when she was shot in the back at Columbine High School in 1999. "Looking back, I wish I had been in counseling that whole time. So counseling and having that support system are the two most important things I can think of. Six days later, Posters on the Columbine beat met to discuss situations like these — a welcome attempt to get perspective on a developing story that other news organizations would do well to emulate. So many of my classmates have said the same exact thing. AM: For me personally, I avoid images. She is much more supportive of Sue's literary efforts, in large part because of the letter the Klebolds sent her during her extended recovery — a missive she attempts to reproduce from memory. A thousand tiny agonies prick her left thigh for half a minute or more, sometimes two or three times an hour, often during the last few periods at school. Contact Us, I hope they do, but I don’t see that happening.". Terms, ©2021 Denver Westword, LLC. Women's Health may earn commission from the links on this page, but we only feature products we believe in. I figured, Better late than never! Adding to the tragedy: Six months after Hochhalter's wounding, her mother, Carla, took her own life. Having a support system around you of your friends and family is so important. It brings me right back to almost 20 years ago. On April 20, 1999, Anne Marie Hochhalter was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot at Columbine High School. and We've got to have change. It has a greater effect on you than you think, and it's a delayed reaction. So after Columbine, the blame game started. That's why it's so important to make those calls, to demand action, to belong to NoNotoriety, to Everytown for Gun Safety, to all these Facebook groups that try to enact real change. Orlando. April 27, 1999. Anne Marie was outside eating lunch on the grassy knoll with two friends when the shooting began. Twenty years ago, social media didn’t exist. Since then, Hochhalter has carefully picked her spots when it comes to publicly commenting on Columbine. All rights reserved. I couldn't bear to read the whole thing. "When I started to pull through," she says, "the doctors called me the miracle girl." WH: The events at Columbine took place almost 19 years ago. It's a matter of life and death. We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. This interview has been edited and condensed. Derek O’Dell , survivor of the Virginia Tech shootings in Blacksburg, Virginia. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. Please don't let this movie be made; it brings back all the pain I experienced, and is insensitive to all of us in the Columbine community.". "We haven't addressed mass shootings at all.". I’m hopeful, but I’m also trying to be realistic that this problem is so deep and so ingrained in our culture. The pain suffered by Hochhalter — "It's been a rough road for me," she concedes in the letter, "with many medical issues because of my spinal cord injury and intense nerve pain" — has been compounded at times by the media. Hindsight is truly 20/20 and I'm sure you have agonized over what you could have done differently. The reality that he shared in the responsibility for this senseless tragedy is beyond our comprehension. Thirteen people died in the assault, and many more were hurt, including Hochhalter, who was paralyzed by her injury. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. What is the same? But I recently started it up again this year. She concludes with thoughts about the negative effects of bitterness that offer hard-earned wisdom from which all of us can learn. They have us [the Columbine survivors] at their disposal in dealing with the aftermath. I don't think any reporter wants to intrude, but it was a public place." I just can’t believe that it keeps happening. Here's an excerpt from a 1999 Message column documenting some of what happened after Carla's suicide. They don't do anything except make a post on Facebook. And President Obama wanted change. Please don't … How Hospitals Are Preparing for Crises Like the Orlando Shooting. Also worth noting: The Rebels Project Facebook group was started by two Columbine students aimed at helping those impacted by mass shootings. I had counseling in the very beginning, but I was still in such a fog and a daze so I thought that I was okay. She was already suffering from depression so the shootings didn't directly cause her to do what she did, but it certainly didn't help. Instead, she chose to reach out to Sue directly, thanking her for a compassionate letter sent in the wake of the shootings and stressing that " I have no ill-will towards you. I know, because I do the same thing with trying to think of ways I could have prevented my mother's death. And it'll be completely anonymous. And then the next shooting happens and the cycle starts up again. But now, looking back, I wish I had been in counseling that whole time. Today, she has a degree in business management and is a part-time manager at a … We’re 20 years past the point of Columbine, and I can see where I went wrong [in coping], and that was in delaying counseling. AURORA, Colo. (AP) — Anne Marie Hochhalter, wearing a silver cross around her neck, sat in the front row of a vigil for the victims of the Colorado theater massacre. Our laws aren’t going to change any time soon. These people want to live on in infamy, they want notoriety. May God watch over you during your recovery process and beyond. Just as I wouldn't want to be judged by the sins of my family members, I hold you in that same regard. If I can offer any kind of advice 20 years later, then it’s worth it. They found anything they could blame. You are releasing a book called, A Mother's Reckoning, and are appearing tomorrow on the TV program 20/20 to talk about what happened and what your son did. ", "This is a terrible idea for a movie," wrote Anne Marie Hochhalter. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io. Anne Marie Hochhalter slides her elbows back onto the armrests of her wheelchair, angles her forearms inward, bows her head and clenches her fists - "My pain position." For instance, she spoke out about reports that Columbine, a book by journalist Dave Cullen, might be turned into a movie — something noted by our Alan Prendergast for his 2012 feature article "The Columbine Shootings Continue to 'Inspire' Hollywood. A good friend once told me, "Bitterness is like swallowing a poison pill and expecting the other person to die." Anne Marie Hochhalter was a high school junior when she was shot in the back at Columbine High School in 1999. When Carla Hochhalter, the 48-year-old mother of paralyzed Columbine survivor Anne Marie Hochhalter, committed suicide in an Englewood pawn shop October 22, staffers at the Denver Post found out about it before her family or others in their community; thus, reporters broke the news to some neighbors, resulting in trauma for all concerned. She says ABC reached out to her before the 20/20 interview, which aired Friday. It's been a rough road for me, with many medical issues because of my spinal cord injury and intense nerve pain, but I choose not to be bitter towards you. I was contacted by ABC to comment for the 20/20 special and they told me that any proceeds from your book (aside from publisher's costs) will go to helping those with mental illness. That was so, so awful. The Harris letter, on the other hand, was four sentences long on a folded up piece of paper, and was cold and robotic. The survivor spoke with Women's Health about what it's like to see so many mass shootings—and the only hope she sees for change: Women's Health: When you see news of a new mass shooting, especially one at a school, what goes through your mind? ... Those students are our eyes and ears. But Cullen never interviewed Hochhalter; his accounts of her family's ordeal, complete with quotes, come from various news articles. But, he adds, "some people who are private people become public people through no effort of their own. Anne Marie Hochhalter was a 17-year-old senior at Columbine High School She was paralyzed by Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, who killed 12 students … Anne Marie Hochhalter, 30, bottom, and her friend Roxy Chesser, 30, second from right, attend a prayer vigil, held to remember the lost and injured in Friday's mass shooting at a movie theater, in a park outside the Aurora Municipal … And the media hands it to them on a silver platter...So I think that the NoNotoriety is huge with changing that. You and your husband wrote me a letter a few months after I was paralyzed saying how sorry you were. This TikToker Turned 'Bridgerton' Into a Musical, The Polar Vortex Could Slam The Country Soon, Why Princess Eugenie Moved Out Of Frogmore Cottage. Anne Marie Hochhalter used to be a self-described "band dork." What do you think is different? I don't want young, impressionable, angry people out there, who idolize Harris and Klebold anyway, to see this on film.". Anne Marie Hochhalter is a vocal supporter of the No Notoriety Movement, which urges individuals and the media to limit the use of the name and … That’s a lie, and it’s come back to bite a lot of us in the butt 20 years later because we put it off. It makes me so so sad that now we have more members of a club that no one wants to join. And unfortunately now it seems to be more commonplace and no one really bats an eye anymore. It is still terribly difficult for us to believe that the son we knew could play a role in causing harm to you and others. Anne Marie Hochhalter was left paralyzed by the shooting on April 20, 1999. Anne Marie Hochhalter suffered two gunshot wounds, and the doctors didn’t think she was going to survive because of life-threatening injuries to her lung, liver, diaphragm and a major vein. I’ve even had to not click on the names of the victims and the survivors because I’m devastated just seeing their faces. I hope they do, but I don’t see that happening. WH: What helps you cope with news like this? The Telegraph found a … Anne Marie Hochhalter, who was shot a paralysed in the 1999 gun attack, said such pages gave mass shooters the notoriety they often craved. And they post something to make themselves feel better but they don't call their congressperson. I cannot stress that enough. Ted Hochhalter thanks real estate agent Marilyn Gilmore and victims advocate Sherry Hobson (right) during a tour of the Hochhalter's house for the media. Careers, A common thread with these mass shootings is that these people are in pain, they want to make other people feel their pain, and they want to be famous. It's Sue's first TV interview since the tragedy, timed to coincide with the release of A Mother's Reckoning, a book that tells her story. It only harms yourself. Category People & Blogs; Suggested by SME The Fray - How to Save a Life (New Video Version) Song How to Save a Life; Artist The Fray I have forgiven you and only wish you the best. What is something that has helped you move forward and heal? Her mother's suicide a few months later provides another graphic scene. Continue to read the letter, featuring the images Hochhalter posted with it. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy. Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. If you're looking for an example of grace and forgiveness under extraordinary circumstances, look no further than Anne Marie Hochhalter. Perhaps the most seriously wounded was Anne Marie Hochhalter, a 17-year-old clarinet player in the school orchestra. Or take you out of the house, find you something that you like to do. Anne Marie Hochhalter will be watching as Sue Klebold tells the world her story in a national TV interview Friday. AM: Hindsight is always 20/20. No one expected her to survive. Because a lot of kids see on social media these classmates posting all of this horrific stuff but they don’t want to snitch, so they don’t say something. We read that you had been transferred to Craig Hospital, and we were so thankful that you had progressed to the point where you could enter a rehabilitation facility. But when I came out of it, I had shock and anger and sadness, confusion, all of those emotions. Reckoning's proceeds are earmarked for "research and to charitable organizations focusing on mental health issues," according to its Amazon page. All of us did. As you know, your son Dylan, and his classmate, Eric Harris, killed 13 people and then themselves. The first bullet paralyzed her, and the second ripped through her lungs and diaphragm. If they want to message me on Facebook, I am here for them. Students and teachers that were there at Columbine, the people that didn’t lose a loved one or who weren't injured, that they weren't "that bad," they might have thought that they didn't need it. I have no ill-will towards you. They blamed rap music. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated. On April 20, 1999, Hochhalter was shot during the attack on Columbine High School by students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Normani Is More Confident Than Ever Before, Filters, FaceTune, And Your Mental Health, ‘Fitness Helped Me Find Joy After Losing My Leg’, This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. WH: What do you think it will take to prevent another tragedy like this? It has a greater effect on you than you think.". 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