Columbine was 14 years ago today. I remember how the media and public were quick to jump in with inaccurate information and many people still believe those myths today. Unfortunately, there are many who haven’t learned from the past and are doing this with the Boston Marathon bombings. Once false information is spread, it’s hard for every single person to unlearn it, no matter how much we backtrack and correct it, so it’s better to prevent misinformation from coming out in the first place. None of us are perfect, but let’s do our best to wait for facts to come to light. This may take time, but it’s better for facts to come out in the future than for lies to be spread now.

Let’s also please keep this in mind: Some of you who are jumping to judge other groups because of the Boston bombings may have been unfairly judged after Columbine (looking “goth”, being introverted, listening to rock music, etc). I know students who were unfairly harassed – sometimes even by their own teachers – simply because of their looks or artistic preferences, not based on any valid concerns. Some schools even put into place unjust rules targeting certain groups of students in the name of “security”. Let’s not have this happen after the tragedies that happened this week.

There’s also a disheartening trend of people making unfounded claims that certain victims were just plants or part of a conspiracy. It’s not based on any solid evidence, but just “feelings” that “something just doesn’t add up”. Things won’t add up for a while because information is still being learned and discovered. The victims are real people with emotions, hardships, thoughts, lives, and loved ones. Imagine having your limbs blown off unexpectedly. On top of that already brutal event you endured, there are photos of the most horrific moment of your life being circulated with commentary that you were part of the problem. Can you imagine the psychological suffering this adds to an already terrible situation? Think before you post or repost. If you don’t have time to factcheck something, you don’t have time to repost it. If you have a “hunch” that something may be true, wait for solid, verifiable evidence to come out before you state your case.

Let’s please remember lessons learned from the past and apply that rationale today and in the future.

I’m also thinking about how the Columbine victims have 14 years (and counting) of their lives that they can never get and their loved ones have gone all this time without them. My thoughts are also with the victims of the Boston bombing, as well as the people of that city, who are coping with the aftermath.

I hope that as psychology and neuroscience progress, so will our society as a whole. And maybe some of these tragedies can be prevented.

Huge thanks to everyone involved in helping out Boston, including first responders, medical personnel, law enforcement, and ‘ordinary’ civilians turned heroes.