When the school shooting at Columbine took place, we were glued to the action and reaction. The word Columbine now means something. It's used as a statement, it's used as a verb.
Sadly, so many school shootings and mass killings have taken place since then, we don't really remember the names of the towns or the victims.
The most terrified I ever was in school took place in elementary school. Because of a blizzard, our bus was unable to get us home and when roads were cleared around 7 p.m., parents with trucks were able to gather up as many kids as possible and drive them home, the rest took a bus and got home well after 10 p.m.
In junior high, one of the most unstable kids in my class had a locker next to mine. He loved to kill small animals, listen to heavy metal and had strange views on life.
He also brought a shotgun to school and went to church.
It was very common during hunting season to hunt in the morning and rush to school, shotgun in hand. The safest place to put a gun is locked in your school locker, not in a car or truck in the parking lot. Teachers did the same.
I know schools in our coverage area that allowed guns and compound bows right up until Columbine.
I don't remember school shootings.
I do remember this kid in junior high talking about church.
He didn't believe in God, didn't understand Jesus, but he attended church.
He also heard what it's like to treat others the right way and make good decisions.
Sure he had a mean streak, but maybe church and hearing someone make sense of the Bible stopped this boy and others from killing?
There was also Playboy.
The only place to see nude photos.
Tree forts were a place to see them, or the kid in school who ripped a page out, folded it up eight ways and passed it around lunch or class, always getting his Holy Grail back.
That was the extent of "porn."
This week gave many of us pause, how America has changed.
Playboy, the industry leader, the historical trendsetter when it came to photos of naked women and off-color humor, announced they would no longer publish photos of nude women.
Their website started this trend early in the year and the magazine will follow suit. Not birthday suit.
This is where we are in such a short period of time.
A Google search of "free porn" turns up 344 million web pages.
A Google search of "nude women" turn up almost half a billion pages.
Having a magazine called Playboy without nude photos is actually a genius move. You are in the minority now.
We've lost this country, that's for sure. We can't pretend people will turn to church instead of guns. We can't take guns away.
However, we can listen.
If someone is in a dark spot, if someone posts on the internet about killing, says they want to commit suicide, we have to take this serious.
Several of the last few killings were announced before hand.
How many times have you heard someone make a threat, rolled your eyes and thought, "They are all talk, they would never do that."
Today, they will.
Times have changed.
After all, we're now reading Playboy for the articles.
(John Anderson is the regional editor of the Hornell Evening Tribune, Wellsville Daily Reporter, Genesee Country Express and Sunday Spectator)