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Cat Koehler: School shooting: Too often we forget too soon
Cat Koehler Omaha World-Herald

Heaven knows I’ve offended more than a few people in my short time on this earth.

And like anyone else, it’s not something I set out to do; it just sort of happens.

I certainly wasn’t expecting a high school marching band to make the list of things that have offended me.

Last weekend, I sat in the Millard South High School football stadium to cheer on the Elkhorn High School Marching Band. I know that sounds like a strange way to spend a Saturday, but I was there to support my sister who is on the color guard. I sat through several performances from high schools all over Nebraska waiting for the Antlers to take the field.

If you’ve never been to a marching band competition, or if you typically head to the concession stand at half-time, then you may not realize that these shows are a mixture of music, flags, and theatrics. When Omaha South High School took the field, I knew we were in for a good show. Their theme was “How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse”.

The color guard was dressed, and moved, as zombies. The band played great music like “It’s the end of the World”, “Stayin’ Alive”, and “I Will Survive”. Intermittently, a voice over the loud speaker would come on and tell the audience one of the rules to survive the zombies. Some of the rules were, cardio, the buddy system, and don’t be a hero. They were funny, and I laughed. But one rule ruined it all.

The loud speaker turned on, “Rule No. 3, headshot. Pull the trigger.” The drums simulated a gunshot, and one of the color guard girls fell to the ground.

Many in the crowd laughed, but I sat there in shock.

Did they not know where they were? Had they forgotten the tragedy that happened just a few hundred yards away from where they were marching?

They were standing on the football field of Millard South High School. The spot where Robert Butler Jr. drove his car resulting in his suspension. In the building just to the west, on Jan. 5, 2011, Butler returned to school with gun. He wounded Principal Curtis Case, and killed Assistant Principal Vicki Kaspar before fleeing and killing himself.

Students and staff were traumatized, and families were destroyed. A beloved woman lost her life.

Yet, Omaha South thought it would be amusing to simulate someone being shot on that very field.

Maybe I am being overly sensitive about this. After all, we live just a couple of blocks from the school. My daughter’s school nearby went on lockdown the day of the tragedy as they tried to understand what was going on. Both of my children will one day attend that very school.

But is it too much to ask for a little common sense? A little decency and respect wouldn’t be too bad either. Imagine if it were your school that had suffered such a terrible act of violence. How would you feel? Would you still be laughing?


Cat Koehler is married with two children. She works full time. Read her Mondays on

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Watch a clip of the Omaha South High School Band performance.

Sarah Kort, a junior captain color guard at Omaha Burke High School, tells us about her routine.

Copyright © 2014 Omaha World-Herald ®. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.


  1. Jeff says:

    “Maybe I am being overly sensitive about this”

    Yes you are.


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