No More Sense Of Sanctuary

Unidentified family members of students at Platte Canyon High School run from a staging area back to their vehicles parked along Highway 285 in Bailey, Colo. on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2006. A gunman walked into the high school in this mountain town Wednesday, fired at least two shots and took six people hostage, authorities said as hundreds of students were evacuated in a scene that recalled the horror at Columbine just a short drive away.
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Twenty years ago if you blinked on the picturesque highway southwest of Denver, you'd have missed Bailey.

But Denver's non-stop expansion has reached far into the foothills, even out to Bailey. The high school has more than 700 students now — a population boom of sorts fueled by folks who wanted to get away from the busy city streets.

I spoke this morning with the father of a student there who told me one of the reasons they moved up into the mountains was to get away from some of the troubles that often accompany life in our cities and suburbs.

A man walked into the high school in Bailey on Wednesday, fired his weapon and took some students hostage. Not long after, a sweet-natured junior girl would lie dead and the assailant himself would be dead of a self-inflicted wound.

The community is stunned. People are praying for the dead girl's family. That sense of sanctuary, of being safe, disappeared with the first shot.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
By Harry Smith