BAND'S APPEARANCE INSPIRING, BRINGS HOPE

January 07, 2002 12:00 am

Seeing the Columbine (Colo.) High School marching band in the Rose Parade Jan. 1 lifted the heart. The standing ovations from the good Americans lining the parade route in Pasadena, Calif., was a great way to start the new year with hope.

Columbine students Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, you probably recall, killed 12 students and a teacher during the April 20, 1999, attack before committing suicide. Ever since the tragedy the city of Columbine, a Denver suburb, has been in a rebuilding process for the survivors and their friends and families.

A tragedy such as Columbine can be dislocating mentally. The intense emotions are hard to get past. It is difficult to climb over the wall of cynicism and get on to hope. Seeing the band appear in Pasadena increases our faith in the human capacity to rebound from tragedy.

The Columbine tragedy was a defining moment for all of us. And there is no clear timetable for recovering from such a mess, whether you are in the town or 1,000 miles away.

The community got a black eye, with some people believing falsely that somehow Columbine is a bad town. But the residents have shown cohesion throughout their difficult time and have come together. It was heart-tugging to see the band in Pasadena as a representation of the communitys newfound vitality.

TODAY MAY BE TOO LATE

It was good to see the Longo family tragedy gaining some national publicity on NBCs Today Show last week.

Charles Mathews, the FBIs special agent in charge of the investigation of the murder of a mother and her three children on the Oregon Coast, appeared on the show to provide an important clue in the effort to locate the key suspect in the case, Christian Longo.

Mathews said Longo had a history of working at fast-food restaurants and may have taken a job in the industry somewhere in the country after leaving Newport sometime before Dec. 19.

Longos 4-year-old son, Zachary, was found on that date in Alsea Bay near Waldport. Zacharys 3-year-old sister, Sadie Ann, was found three days later in the same inlet. Their mother, Mary Jane Longo, 35, and another sister, 2-year-old Madison, were found in a marina near Newport about 14 miles to the north. The search for the father-husband has extended from San Francisco to Florida.

While the coverage on the Today Show was encouraging, we wonder if was too late? The FBI should not rely on a network news show to take an interest in a major case before the matter is brought to a national audience. The agency could buy commercial time on the networks to get the word and photo out as soon as possible after a major crime is uncovered. Time is critical when trying to locate a suspect on the run.