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Tragic Loss in Television

Updated on February 3, 2020
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I chose to write about a specific episode on Criminal Minds: Season 7 Episode 4. This episode discusses a school shooting that happened 10 years go in Idaho, and the criminal who is related to that school is planning on making more bombs and threats.


As I am not an American, researching this has made me realize how impactful this topic is to citizens of the US and students of the public school system. Therefore, upon really studying this topic and how sensitive it is, I write this with the utmost respect to anyone who has been affected by a tragedy of this caliber. If you are sensitive to this topic for any reason, please do not read further.

This episode starts off with a scene showing a man, that we know is the principal, looking at some old newspaper article about the school shooting that happened ten years ago. We find out that thirteen people were killed, including the shooter, named Randy Slade.


The next scene is the principal at his house, looking upset because the school shooting's 10th anniversary is coming up. He suddenly hears beeping: It's his alarm clock. He tries to make the beeping stop but nothing works, even unplugging it. He dissembles the alarm clock and discovers a bomb that is used with a phone. He had three minutes to get out of the house. He had time; however, the unsub( Unknown Subject- it is used to refer to a suspect in the criminal investigation.), shoots the principal in the leg as he turns around to leave his house. The unsub, asks him 'Can you look me in the eye?' and tells him goodbye. The principal then tries to call 911, but the phone line is connected to the phone bomb, so it activates it and explodes in the next second.


While watching this episode, I've come across some similarities with The Colombine High School Shooting. I've read the book 'Columbine' by Dave Cullen, back in autumn 2017 and I've found it captivating one of the first similarities I've noticed in this episode is the number of victims: Thirteen to be exact. Here in this episode, the shooter/bomber killed twelve and himself. The difference with Columbine is that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, killed thirteen students plus, themselves. Another similarity is the topic of Religion.

In The Columbine Massacre, Dylan and Eric, ask everyone if they believe in God. If they did not, they shot them without any remorse. In this episode, Randy walks around and asks people if they are brave enough to look at him in the eye. If they were not capable, he shot them (three people). He also says he is God right before activating the bomb and killing himself and nine other people. One of the differences is that in The Columbine shooting, it was an attempted bombing and a shooting. In this episode, it was both.


Of course, this is a very wide topic and it has different ways of being interpreted. But I've discovered that Criminal Minds decided to film this episode, for the 10th anniversary of the Columbine Massacre and to pay tribute to all the lives lost.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Anastassia de Bailliencourt

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