Today, May 1, 2012, is the 20-year anniversary of the Lindhurst High School shooting. The Lindhurst shooting didn't get the kind of national attention most school shootings do. Perhaps because it was before Columbine, before the media realized dead kids bring in big ratings. Maybe because the shooter, Eric Huston, wasn't some fucked up kid, but a grown adult with a grudge. Whatever the reason, the Lindhurst shooting was just a blip to most of the nation, but it was punch in the stomach to me.
I attended Lindhurst up until about a month before the shooting. I was even in one of the classes Huston took hostage. While I was not there that day, most of my friends were. Four people were killed, a teacher and three students. I knew two of the students killed, and I think about them all of the time, one in particular.
As a teenager I suffered horrific bullying, both physical threats and emotional torture, both at school and at home. There was no escaping it. It was, in fact, my entire life view. There were days, even weeks, that I couldn't see beyond it. I don't know what exactly made me a target, but I couldn't even go a few minutes without streams of insults and abuse coming at me, even in class, even from teachers. The more I was bullied, the weaker I got, and the more I was bullied.
During years and years of abuse, I never had a defender, an advocate. Until, one day, I was walking to class. A group of boys were calling me names and throwing things at me. I walked, as usual, with my head low trying to ignore it. Out of nowhere I heard a voice "knock it off, what has she done to you?"
The voice came from Beamon Hill, a short black kid who had moved to town from Southern California. He wasn't my friend. He wasn't even an acquaintance. I shared one class with him the year before. I didn't know why he had spoken up for me, but I did know that those boys listened and shut up. I didn't say a word to him, I just looked at him and quickly shuffled away with my head down. I wish I had thanked him, I wish it more than anything, but I didn't.
On this day twenty years ago, Eric Huston took Beamon Hill from us. When I heard how it happened, I wasn't surprised at all. Huston aimed his shotgun at a female student and just as he fired Beamon pushed her out of the way and took the shotgun blast to the side of his head. He was 16 years old and the bravest man I have ever known.
Beamon Hill would be 36 now. He should be 36 now. He should be changing the world now, but a shotgun blast took him away.
I still miss him. I didn't really know him, but in some ways, he saved my life, too. He showed me compassion at a time when no one else would. He gave me hope and faith in others when I needed it most. Those things carried me through the most difficult times of my life, and I appreciate him more than he could ever have known.
7:39 AM PT: Thank you everyone for the support and the rescue. I'm glad more people get a chance to know who Beamon was. I posted a diary about him a few years ago, and I wanted to add the picture of him that I posted at that time.