The first moment I saw this photo some years ago, I smiled. Zany, goofy, happy-go-lucky high school students having a wonderful second captured in time for their class picture.
Just as with any class photo I’ve seen over the years, the students displayed an assemblage of characters: cheery, worry free, happy, excited, and in this case clueless.
It brought back memories of my own class photos and how the photograpers of the Goldbeck Company in San Antonio would skillfully line us up. They’d quickly have us ready and posed on bleachers in a matter of minutes.
This photo was different in that the students were more casual and relaxed. I thought how cool that would have been to have a picture like this instead of the rigid, single filed and structured experiences my classes endured.
But as I scanned across the rows, left to right and front row first, a closer examination startled me. I used a magnifying glass to zone in. What I saw brought chills down my spine.
Then when I looked to see where the school was, it actually startled me. My thoughts went numb for a couple of seconds while I regained my presence of mind.
This photo was an eerie foreshadow of the infamous school shooting that took place on April 20, 1999.
This was Columbine.
The perpetrators sitting on the upper left, Eric (black hat) and Dylan (sunglasses), were posing as if aiming a gun at the camera. This photo is believed to be taken three weeks before the two would go on a shooting spree, murdering 12 students, one teacher, and injuring 24 others.