Lena Bailey
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Columbine

The Sad Reality

So I decided to continue the 31 posts of creepy even though it is no longer October, but I missed a few days so here we go. A lot of you may not think of Columbine as creepy, but some of the stuff that came out about the two shooters was creepy and the events leading up to the shooting were creepy. It's also creepy that two teenagers would even think about killing people. I consider true crime to be sometimes creepy.

For those of you who don't know or don't remember what Columbine was, it was a school shooting on April 20, 1999, at Columbine high school. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people, wounded 21 others, and then killed themselves. There were others who were injured leaving the school. I'll be talking about the why and what happened in this post. I'll also talk about my thoughts.

People still don't know why they did this. The original thought was that it may have to do with bullying and cliques. The two shooters planned this for a year and wished to be as big as the Oklahoma City bombing and cause as many deaths as possible. Local police didn't enter the school right away, which lead to criticism and the introduction of the Immediate Action Rapid Deployment tactic. This tactic is used in active shooter situations where the shooter's goal is to kill not to take hostages. The shooting also lead to schools tightening their zero tolerance policy on violence, guns, and bullying. Bullying still happens today, but now there is also cyber bullying.

Eric Harris had a blog and at some point the blog turned from normal teenager stuff to his anger against society and instructions on how to make bombs. He ended one post with details of murderous desires and fantasies. The blog was found by parents and was turned over to the Jeffco Sheriff's Office for investigation. A search warrant was requested in an affidavit and the affidavit also mentioned the discovery of pipe bombs, though it was never filed. Both boys were arrested for stealing computer equipment from a van on January 30, 1998, and were sentenced to attend a juvenile diversion program and anger management classes. Eric was given antidepressants. Eric wrote in Dylan's yearbook, "killing enemies, blowing up stuff, killing cops!! My wrath for January's incident will be godlike. Not to mention our revenge in the commons." Both had mentioned their plans and desires in tapes, journals, and school projects.

Eric and Dylan acquired two 9mm firearms and two 12-gauge shotguns a few months prior to the shooting. They already had a Hi-Point 995 Carbine with 13 10-round magazines and a Savage Springfield 67H pump-action shotgun in their possession. They also used a 9 by 19mm Intratec TEC-9 semi-automatic handgun with one 52-, one 32-, and one 28-round magazine, as well as a Stevens 311D double-barreled shotgun. They got the guns through a gun show and a coworker who bought a gun (or guns) from someone else. The coworker was sentenced to four and half years jail time, while the person he bought the gun from was sentence to six years. They also had pipe bombs, propane bombs, car bombs, and knives.

So this next part, I will only give the basics of what happened, as to not offend, disrespect, or trigger anyone. The day of the shooting (April 20, 1999), the two young men set propane bombs in the cafeteria and the kitchen that were set to go off at 11:17 AM during the first lunch period. No one even noticed the bags or deemed them as suspicious. The resource officer usually ate lunch with the students in the cafeteria, but on this particular day, he was eating lunch in his patrol car at the northwest corner of the campus. Backpacks were set up about two and three miles away from the school in a field. The bombs in the field were supposed to explode at 11:14 AM, and were supposed to be a diversion for the first responders. They only caused a small fire and were put out quickly. Both boys came to school a few minutes before the bombs were supposed to go off and their cars had bombs in them, which were also supposed to go off at noon.

Before the shooting, Eric encountered a classmate named Brooks Brown who was surprised to see Eric because he had missed class. Eric told Brooks that it didn't matter anymore. He also told Brooks that he liked him now and to go home, which he did. While Brooks left, Eric and Dylan hid their guns beneath black trench coats with straps and webbing, carrying backpacks and duffel bags filled with pipe bombs and ammunition. They put themselves in place so that they can see the cafeteria doors, but when the bombs didn't go off they decided to just go in and start shooting. When they were approaching the doors they came up on Rachel Scott and Richard Castaldo. Dylan threw a pipe bomb towards the parking lot and it only partially detonated. Richard thought it was some kind of prank and didn't take it seriously. Then Eric and Dylan shot Richard and Rachel; Richard was hit eight times and Rachel four. Rachel was killed and Richard was paralyzed. After that they went into the school and shooting whoever they came in contact with. The shoot had started at 11:19 AM and the cops didn't respond until 11:22 AM. One thing of note, when they shot Rachel, it was reported that one of the shooters asked her where was God and when she responded, the shooter said "go be with him" and shot her in the head. Then there was a story about Cassie Bernall, who reportedly also had a similar experience in the school with the shooter, but it later came out that one or both may have been made up. The only true story like that which was proven to have happened was in the library where a student by the name of Valeen Schnurr was injured and yelling oh my God and when Dylan asked if she believed in God, she said yes, to which Dylan said, "Why? God is gay." Then Dylan just walked off, probably knowing she was injured and thinking the worse may happen. She survived to tell her story.

After they left the library they traveled around to different parts of the school, throwing bombs, shooting, and checking on their failed car bombs. They exchanged gun fire with police before going back into the library. Once in there, Eric sat down with his back to a bookshelf, placed his shotgun to the roof of his mouth, and Dylan went down on his knees and put his gun on his left temple. They both shouted one, two, three, and shot themselves. There had been two suicides after that day, one of a parent and another of a student. Both were linked to the shooting. Also, several students and teachers suffered from PTSD.

In the aftermath of the shooting, a lot of things were blamed for Eric and Dylan's actions. The reports were saying that they were bullied, obsessed with Hitler, listening to the wrong kind of music, playing violent video games, watching violent movies, and on medication. In reality, a lot of people who watched the same movies, played the same video games, and listened to the same music turned not to be killers or suicidal; they are somewhat normal. The thing is, I believe in the bully and mental health issues more than any other theory.

Gun laws were in place back then and yet a couple of 17-year-olds were able to get guns. It is not the law, it's the criminals and loopholes fault. If someone is a criminal or has bad intentions, they can find and get guns. We need to focus on bullying, mental health, and stopping criminals from getting guns.

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