“The darkest roads lead to the most beautiful places.”
–Kendrick Castillo’s senior quote
This was not the post I planned for this week. Today would have been Kendrick’s Castillo’s last day of classes before graduation from STEM, a K-12 charter school in my hometown. Twenty years and fewer than ten miles away from the 1999 Columbine massacre, one child was murdered and eight more injured in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. On the day of the Columbine shooting, I remember watching the television monitors of the software company where I worked, waiting to learn if my co-workers’ kids were okay. On the day of the STEM shooting, I waited by the phone to learn whether my friend’s son was safe.
One could say a shooting like this isn’t supposed to happen here. In 2016, MONEY magazine dubbed Highlands Ranch the healthiest town in the nation. In 2018, MONEY and Realtor.com named Highlands Ranch one of the best places to live in the country. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked Douglas County, the home of Highlands Ranch, as the nation’s healthiest community. Littleton, the home of Columbine, has repeatedly been ranked a top place to live, including by Wallethub in 2018. But our area has also been plagued by shootings in recent years, with three other school shootings in nearby Centennial, Bailey, and a second school in Littleton, the Aurora theatre shooting, and other shootings at churches, a medical clinic, and a big box store.Read More