Columbine-The Blame Game
With so many shootings happening, let's take a look at one of the first, or the most publicized.
Columbine was a day that everyone will remember in this country, the worst school shooting to date in America. On April 20th 1999, two high school students attacked their own school with an arsenal of pipe bombs, propane bombs and several guns. Perversely, this was Hitler’s 110th birthday. They killed 15, themselves, 1 teacher and 12 other classmates. The aftermath the questions are asked. Why? And who is to blame or could it have been prevented.
The answer to the why is mixed and will truly never be known but to the two who did this. One survivor said that they claimed to do this because people were mean to them the prior year. The shooters own journals suggest a traumatic experience with an arrest in 1998. Eric Harris started his journal the night they were released from an arrest for breaking into a van for electronics. The real reasons though, may never be truly understood.
Could it have been prevented? Probably.
There wasn’t just one person to “blame” because true blame has to be on the persons who chose the route they did. However, not one, but many people close to the teens should have made their own choices and actions. First thing that goes into everyone minds is, how could the parents not know? Well, they knew their children were disturbed. Eric was already on prescriptions for OCD and in counseling. Through journal entries, Eric had been caught making pipe bombs by his father. Dylan’s parents had been informed that their son had written a very disturbing essay in English that described a man in a trench coat vengefully killing with a sawed off shotgun. Both attackers homes were searched and police found bombs and gun pieces in plain view in both boys rooms.
Did their friends know? It seems so. There was actually 3 of the attackers friends arrested about an hour after the attack, trying to get into the school, in black and in camo. There was also eye witness accounts seeing 5 people in black leaving after the first bombs were set. There was at least 5 different people seen and identified by several as gunmen. Some in trench coats, others in black and camo. There was also another person seen in a white shirt and blue jeans, another still in a mask. This would take the people up to 7, not two. Several people were positively identified as former students, friends of the 2 main attackers, and another as a graduated classmate from years before. Some of these gunmen were seen walking with heavy duffel bags before the shootings began. Another student said that one attacker address the other as Joe, another still heard one speak German. A man named Redacktin is named by many people as one of the gunman they heard someone talking to him about the 3 they had. Several eye witnesses and police officers saw a man on the roof with a gun and a trench coat. Other reports claim there were two more gunman seen at the nearby park, neither or which were Dylan or Eric. So really, how many people were there to kill?(This can all be found in police reports that are public records.) Why in the world was no one else arrested. Some witnesses say they were blown off by the cops or told that who they had seen were Dylan or Eric, at the witnesses denial.
Dylan and Eric showed very obvious signs of a mental disturbance. An essay written of a mass murder by a hitman. A tape made by the two of two men in trench coats (played by then) that killed the jocks for the socially inept students. There were also comments remembered by many teachers and students alike. A science teacher was teaching the students how to make a potato bomb with explosives. A student that was identified by no less than 10 people as being a gunman, commented that it could easily be tweaked to make a pipe bomb. With over 100 bombs for the date, a person would have to wonder if the two boys could have made them all themselves. And why in the world would any gun or bomb be made in a science class?
The police have seemed to push for no more investigation into the killings, maybe wanted the case to go away. They let the three person caught about an hour after the beginning, they were not armed but seemed connected. They claimed that they had heard about the shooting on the radio, however the shootings were not being reported at the time. This was in no way true, yet the cops did not follow up. Countless students witnessed up to 9 other individuals involved, 3 named and yet no further investigation. Before the slayings, cops were aware of Eric making pipe bombs, had eye witnesses claiming he was and that he had made death threats to a student on his website. The same website that he explained how to make pipe bombs and had pictures of them. Pipe bombs were found that resembled Eric’s website, however they never investigated or searched his house. Maybe if they had, Columbine would have never happened.
Many times comments and actions were left unreported or ignored. Maybe that is what we must take from such a horrific incident. As a mother of a son, I wonder if maybe reading of the diary could have stopped this. They both kept up daily journals, chronically explaining every step of their plan. Maybe if the cops would have taken the reports of the bombs seriously. Maybe if the students had reported the repeatedly comments made about blowing p the school and if they had, would anyone have even listened? Maybe the two or ? assailants were getting their revenge for being treated poorly. Some accounts claim that everyone was a target, this just does not seem to be the case. Several students were spared while all around them were shot. They chose who lived and who died. Other reports from survivors claim that in the library Dylan and Eric were talking about killing everyone with a white baseball cap on, something apparently a lot of jocks wore at the school.
The two gunman (?) were not expecting to just start shooting in the school. They had left two large duffel bags full of propane and pipe bombs in the cafeteria and then went to their cars to wait for the explosion. The plan was to detonate the bombs and then shoot people as they tried to escape the flames. About ten minutes later after the bomb did not go off, they then entered, alone or with others to start shooting. The first 2 people shot were shot outside the doors of the cafeteria. When it became clear that they would have to shoot each person individually, they chose who lived and who died at that point. Maybe some were caught in cross fires, however they seemed clear what type of person (jocks) is who they wanted to kill.
They were found dead on the ground of the library where most of the massacre occurred. There were over 45 kids and teachers hiding in the library under the tables, that they were all not killed would tell of a selection process. Eric was especially interested in Darwin’s theory of natural selection, even wore a shirt to that accord the day of the shooting. Eric wore a white shirt that said Natural Selection, Dylan wore a black shirt that said wrath. Both gunman supposedly shot themselves ending their rampage.