The Story Of The Year

1999 was a year of extremes bookended by blockbusters. It kicked off with the impeachment of President Clinton and Y2K fears will close it out. What happened in between was anything but ordinary.

In the stranger than fiction category, Jesse Ventura, a pro wrestler, turned politician and was elected Governor of Minnesota.

Meanwhile, the First Lady spent most of the year making overtures towards a possible bid for the senate. As the year comes to an end, however, Hillary Rodham Clinton has yet to formally announce her candidacy in the state of New York.

Jack Kevorkian, the so-called "Doctor Death," went too far according to the Michigan courts when he provided CBS News with a videotape of an assisted suicide. Kevorkian was sentence to 10 to 25 years in prison.

But what 1999 may be remembered for most is what many want to forget: gun violence.

Nine people were shot dead at two brokerages in Atlanta, seven people were killed at a Xerox office in Hawaii, and a Los Angeles gunman targeted a day care center.

But it was the shootings in schools, carried out by kids with guns, that was the story of the year.

In Littleton, Colorado, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris burst into Columbine High with an arsenal of automatic weapons and home-made bombs. They killed 13 people and injured over a dozen before taking their own lives.

Just a month later, a student opened fire at Heritage High, near Conyers, Georgia. No one was killed, but six students will carry scars of the incident for the rest of their lives.

And in early December, a popular 13-year old student in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma shot four fellow classmates for no apparent reason.

What is apparent to administrators, parents and students is that violence in schools is reaching epidemic proportions. Despite metal detectors, cameras and other measures, many feel powerless to stop it.

"We can't cancel school every time there is a threat," says Michael Maier, Assistant School Superintendent in Maize, Kansas.

But school officials in Littleton, Colorado are taking no chances. Columbine High was recently shut down for two days after a student received a threat over the Internet.

"It's a shame this is how we'll remember high school," says one Columbine student, "but I guess that's just the way it is."


Written by Bobbi Harley.

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