Columbine may have been the first high school shooting to invade the public's consciousness, but about a year before that a community near Eugene, Oregon suffered its own horrific shooting.
The date was May 21, 1998 when a 15-year-old student, dressed in a tench coat, walked into Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon and opened fire. His first shots rang out in a hallway where he killed one student and wounded another. Next, the gunman entered the cafeteria spraying rounds until the clip of his .22 Ruger was empty.
"I started hearing these popping sounds behind me, I didn't know what they were," Betina Lynn told me. She was a student at Thurston High School and said she thought the first shots were simply fireworks being set off. "Within just a few moments, I felt the first bullet hit my back less than half-an-inch to the left of my spine."
"The doctors told me later that if I had sneezed, if I had flinched, that if I had moved in any way it would have severed my spinal chord."
As the gunman stopped to reload, a quick-thinking student charged, tackling the shooter to the floor and ending the rampage. In less than 10 minutes, two students were killed and two dozen more were injured.
The incident sounds all too familiar now: A troubled young student opens fire at his school indiscriminately mowing down anyone in sight.
But as the Springfield, Oregon community gathers Monday night to hold a vigil marking the 20th anniversary of the shooting -- and the country is just days removed from yet another deadly school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas -- Lynn is blunt about what she thinks has changed in the past two decades.
"I feel like nothing has been done," she said. "I feel like the only things that have changed in the last 20 years are the frequency of shootings and the higher body counts."
Lynn warned against parsing shootings into different categories, saying that schools shootings, mass shootings, gang shootings and others are all symptoms of a larger, cultural problem.
"We need to look at the fetishisation of violence in this culture," she said. "We create it and re-create it in so many different ways, not just in our media and our videos games, we seem to sort of romanticize violence ... people working things out with their fists in schoolyards -- Why are we promoting violence as a means to solve problems?"
But while Lynn waits for that cultural shift, she said practical measures are also needed to prevent shootings, from mental health to gun reforms. "We need to address the availability of guns in our society," she said.
Lynn said the calls for change sparked by the Parkland, Florida shooting in February have given her hope that the country's gun violence will be addressed, and that there will be fewer victims left with what she called a "life sentence."
"(Shootings are) horribly traumatic, they're deeply impactful and honestly I would categorize them as life sentences," she said. "There are things that (victims) can do to develop coping mechanisms to try to operate in the world again, but we are fundamentally changed."