Columbine massacre refers to a massacre by two students, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, who killed 12 students and a teacher, and wounded 23 others before committing suicide at Columbine High School, a public school in Littleton, Colorado, on April 20, 1999.
Contrary to original press speculation, the killers were not antisocial; nor did they seek out as victims Christians and popular athletes. As evidenced by the propane bombs used in the attacks (capable of killing all 500 people in the cafeteria) the massacre was only for body count: the guns were only a grisly supplement for taking out stragglers. According to eyewitnesses and injured parties, Harris and Klebold shot indiscriminately, often not even looking to who they were shooting. The killers were Darwinists; they admired Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection. The killers planned their attack beforehand and investigators later found descriptions in their notes about their intentions to kill. One of the murders wore a T-shirt displaying the text "NATURAL SELECTION" on the day of the massacre. However, it is also worth noting that Harris wrote many essays describing his ideal world where ALL humans are extinct: he had a great disdain for humanity as a whole.
Klebold and Harris were said to have been have been inspired by Nazi ideology: they appeared to have intentionally performed the shooting on Hitler's birthday, April 20. However, in reality, the attack was planned for April 19, the anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing, which Harris based his attack plan on. Harris' unintentional conspirator, Mark Manes, his ammunition supplier, did not deliver Harris' ammunition until the evening of the 19th, rather than the morning of the 18th as planned, forcing the date to be moved to the 20th. Harris also announced his hatred for racists and Nazis in his journal.
Politicians cited the massacre in their demands for greater gun control, and congressional Democrats held highly publicized hearings to pass gun control legislation. But gun control became an issue that hurt liberal Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore in 2000, causing him to lose the election by losing the traditionally Democratic state of West Virginia, where the right to bear arms is valued. Since the 2000 election there have not been any significant political demands for gun control. Liberal socialist filmmaker Michael Moore used the incident as the backdrop for an anti-gun rights propaganda piece, Bowling for Columbine, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary.
After the massacres, a fear and paranoia gripped the globe: teenagers were now a thing to be feared. Before the killers bodies were even found, the tabloid media had released several 'facts' about Harris and Klebold; namely, that they were goths, homosexuals, loners, members of the now-infamous Trenchcoat Mafia, wildly speculating on the amount of casualties, who the killers were (original reports suggested as many as seven). All of these were swiftly found to be untrue, yet some have persisted in the form of online gossip.
Dave Sanders, the only staff member killed in the tragedy, was only attended to three hours after being shot through the neck and heart: he died fifteen minutes later. Due to SWAT regulations, no paramedics could enter the building until the area had been secured. The SWAT department received harsh criticism, both from the media and the public.
Notes & Myths
Cassie Bernall, often cited as being shot by Harris after being asked if she believed in God, was actually under a table praying before being brutally murdered. The famous Yes! quote can be attributed to Valeen Schnurr; a phone was still on call, and in the background, a man can be heard asking a girl if she believes in God, after which she promptly responded in the affirmative. A gunshot follows, but this was the other assailant firing down a hallway. Valeen Schnurr escaped with injuries to the chest, arms and abdomen. This much-publicized conversation, often attributed to Bernall, has caused serious debate and controversy, due to rumor and speculation setting in years before concrete evidence was released to the public. Schnurr's unconquerable Faith, even faced with death, has nevertheless inspired millions of Christian teenagers around the globe.
Eric Harris displayed the typical hallmarks of a clinical psychopath combined with a violent sadistic streak. He may have also had a superiority complex, although this is debatable due to the feelings of low self-worth he displayed in his journal writings. In the 'Basement Tapes', Harris describes how he knows how evil it is what he is about to do, but says it is 'inevitable'. This is strange for psychopaths, who usually attempt to justify their actions, no matter how arbitrary or irrelevant the excuse.
Dylan Klebold has been suggested as a suicidal depressive with suppressed rage, as he was usually shy and reserved, but prone to outbursts of extreme anger. He also struggled with alcoholism and poor self-esteem. Oddly, his father, Tom Klebold, described how Dylan was anti-gun and a proponent of gun-control.
One of the most retold myths about Columbine is that Harris designed levels identical to his school (known infamously as 'The Harris Levels') on the violent video game DOOM, in order to plan and practice the attacks. However, the levels, which are available online, are of a hockey rink and various arenas, and look nothing like an American high school: they are regular deathmatch stadiums, typical of most first-person-shooter games.
- Columbine (Dave Cullen)
- Columbine (Dave Cullen)
- Columbine (Dave Cullen)