A hero in Littleton

In Littleton, Colorado, site of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, some parents object to erecting a statue of Danny Dietz, a Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan. The statue, based on a photo, shows Dietz in field gear carrying a rifle. The Rocky Mountain News writes in an editorial:

The protesting parents say that a sculpture depicting firearms should not be publicly displayed in areas where kids play.

Some have said a “peace memorial” should be erected instead. Others composed a letter that they’ve sent to community organizations and residents, urging them to ask the city to reconsider the location of the memorial. “In light of our community’s experience with the Columbine tragedy,” the letter reads, “and the clear message of non-violence that we teach in Littleton schools, what is our city thinking?”

Dietz was wounded on a mission to seize a Taliban leader. “Dietz and another wounded comrade stayed behind and provided enough cover fire to let another team member — the mission’s sole survivor — elude capture,” writes the Rocky Mountain News. Dietz was awarded the Navy Cross.

Danny’s widow Patsy Dietz framed the dispute just right when she urged parents “to teach their children the difference between two thugs who murder their classmates and a soldier who died fighting for their freedom.”

Surely Littleton’s children are capable of making that distinction.

Update: I find it hard to believe, but The Telegraph reports that the BBC has canceled a documentary on Private Johnson Beharry, Britain’s only living winner of the Victoria Cross, for fear of offending opponents of the Iraq War.

About Joanne


  1. There seems to be a strain of thought in modern society which associates the concepts of goodness/badness with object and devices rather than with people.

  2. SuperSub says:

    What you have is a bunch of anti-military citizens who are using the Columbine tragedy to block the honoring of a true hero. They’re willing to twist the memories of the children and teacher who died to promote their own agenda.

  3. wayne martin says:

    Since the Columbine incident, I’ve always wondered why there were no interviews of the parents, or published accounts of what went on in the Klebold and Harris homes in the months running up to the shootings. I always wondered if the parents ever looked in these kids’ rooms, or took a look in their closets. There was pretty much a blackout of their personal lives.

    Just this week, the following article hit the NET:

    Judge Orders Columbine Documents Sealed For 20 Years
    School Violence Experts Prevented From Reviewing Material
    POSTED: 6:52 am MDT April 3, 2007

    DENVER — Statements made by the parents of the teenage gunmen who attacked Columbine High School will remain sealed for 20 years, frustrating at least one victim’s parent who believes knowing what happened before the shootings could help prevent similar tragedies.

    U.S. District Judge Lewis T. Babcock’s ruling Monday also prohibits a school violence expert and his assistants from reviewing the documents.

    “It can save lives, no question about it,” said Brian Rohrbough, whose son Daniel was one of 12 students slain on April 20, 1999. A teacher and the two gunmen also died.

    “Knowing what was going on in their homes is absolutely paramount to learn how to prevent this from happening again.”

    Attorneys for the parents of gunmen Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris did not return messages left after business hours. Documents from a federal lawsuit include sworn statements made by the Harrises and Klebolds, as well as records regarding the gunmen’s participation in a juvenile diversion program in 1998 and 1999.

    The National Archives and Records Administration will get the records.
    Jefferson County sheriff’s officials previously made a decision under the state’s open records law to not release videotapes of the gunmen out of concern they would encourage copycat attacks.

    Babcock said similar arguments in the federal case means the balance “still strikes in favor of maintaining strict confidentiality.”

    Rohrbough said he strongly disagreed with that decision and called the logic “flawed and bogus.”

    “Unless you’re saying that the parents taught the kids how to shoot up a school, it would be hard to image that releasing these documents could lead to a copycat crime,” Rohrbough said.

    The Colorado Attorney General Suthers earlier had asked Babcock to allow University of Colorado researcher Delbert Elliott to access the documents as part of his work on preventing school violence. The Jefferson County sheriff’s office has expressed concern that allowing Elliott to review the documents could open access to others.

    A magistrate ordered the documents destroyed in 2003, upsetting some victims’ families who said the statements could contain lessons to prevent school shootings. U.S. District Judge Lewis Babcock then proposed storing the documents under seal for 25 years.


    Besides all of the other failures at Columbine, there was clearly a failure of parenting that sat on the shoulders of these parents.

    Given that there were failures on the part of the police, little/no surveillance equipment in the school, no emergency communications equipment, or any evidence of prior drills in the event of a catastrophe, it would seem that having the records available to all law enforcement and school designers would be what everyone would expect. However, one man in a black robe seems to think differently.

    We can only hope that no one else dies because of his (the judge in this case) decision.

    As to Mr. Dietz, here is a real American hero who was raised in the same two, who understood that freedom was not free, and that from time-to-time men with guns have to pay for our continued freedom with blood, and sometimes there lives. The parents of Littleton are so detached from reality that they have no sense of our common history, and what will be required for your collective future.

    The Dietz family should consider moving to a town that would be proud to put their son’s statue in a very public place. Danny Dietz has paid the ultimate price for our freedom—he now deserves our respect.

  4. Walter E. Wallis says:

    The sealing of the records is obviously to protect the cowardice of the two school police who chickened out as soon as the boys shot at them and of the SWAT team that totally failed in their obligation to utilize Special Weapons And Tactics to save as many lives as they could, and of all the social workers who totally failed to earn their pay. I know what it is to have someone shoot at me, and I also know what cowardice under fire is. Open all the records now, disarm all the poltroons and assign them to metermaid jobs and put competent officers behind the badges.

  5. Frank Zavisca says:

    There certainly was a failure of parenting in Colorado and elsewhere.

    Those parents who vote Democratic assure that their children’s school will remain “gun free” to honest teachers, leaving them vulnerable to armed thugs.

    In contrast, Utah allows teachers with carry permits to be armed, unannounced.

    Survelience videos showed exactly where the Columbine killers were in real time. Competent snipers could have taken them out.

    Ditto that the only ones to benefit from sealed records are incompetent police.

  6. Catch Thirty Thr33 says:

    Not only do people want to believe that certain objects usurp people’s freewill (remember that word?), people also desperately want to believe that freedom, even the most basic freedom of living and raising your family, is 100% free and without any cost whatsoever.

  7. The good news is that Littleton is pushing forward with the plan for the statue.

    I don’t understand the reasoning of those parents who oppose the statue because it “glorifies violence.” Does ignoring “violence” cause it to go away? The statue glorifies freedom and makes the point that sometimes violence is necessary for its defense. We have a name for those who are unwilling to fight for their freedom. They are called “slaves.”