Monday, 17 April 2017

Eric Harris, Dylann Klebold and the Columbine High School massacre of 1999


I was debating over which case to write about this week when it was pointed out to me that it’s the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine high school massacre this month. I've never written about Columbine here, since I mostly just concentrate on unsolved / unidentified / mysteries etc. But I thought I'd do something a little different today.


When writing this I read somewhere that authorities almost searched Eric Harris' house before the attack actually took place, as he had publicly posted on his website about having explosives etc. The search never happened. If it did they probably would have found evidence of the premeditated attack since as far as I can tell the boys did stash their weapons etc. in Eric's room. Also they really did document almost everything on video and in writing.

Harris seemed to have a lot of problems with anger and was struggling with depression and although he managed to put on a charm in front of his councilors there were indications that he wasn't in a good place. I wonder if his family ever believed something was up?

This tragic event also brought up a lot of discussions about gun laws in the US.

Well, lets get into it. I can't go over ever single detail since there's so much out there, but I'll provide links to the places where you can read about or watch certain aspects in depth, alright?

Also, before we get into this case, let’s take a moment to remember those who died in the attack.
Rachel Scott, Daniel Rohrbough, Dave Sanders, Steve Curnow, Cassie Bernall, Isaiah Shoels, Kelly Fleming, Daniel Mauser, Kyle Velasquez, Matthew Kechter, Lauren Townsend, John Tomlin and Corey DePooter.

The 20th of April marks the anniversary of the Columbine massacre in which 13 people were killed (12 students and 1 teacher), 21 others injured and the perpetrators committed suicide. 


The students who planned and executed the shooting were two seniors at Columbine high named Eric David Harris and Dylan Bennett Klebold. 
After the massacre, notebooks and tapes revealed that the pair had been planning and working up to the shooting several months before the attack. 


They had got their hands on firearms and were recorded practicing their shooting on a home video, they read up on how to make various types of bombs and obtained the material to do so, making plans and notes of where to plant them around the school building.
They both worked at a local pizza place where they once experimented with dry ice bombs on a slow day. They purchased guns through a friend who was old enough to buy them legally and practiced shooting at trees in the local area. 


Eric Harris affectionately referred to his shotgun as Arlene, a nod to the DOOM video game, of which he was an avid player. You can see a short video of their shooting practice here [X]

The two friends were like chalk and cheese- Eric was short in both height and temper and Dylan was tall with a gentle demeanor. Eric’s father was an air force man and the family moved around, while Dylan’s family were liberal, church going pacifists who tried to enlighten their children with both art and culture, even naming both of their sons after poets. 
After the massacre Eric's family would shun media attention and Dylan's mother would later go on to open up about her son an attempt to understand exactly what happened and why. 


Harris and Klebold did share another interest- their hatred for Columbine high school and everyone in it. They would go on to plot and execute one of the most infamous school shootings of a generation.

The teens had minor run-ins with the law for stealing a computer from a parked van and were made to attended a couple of courses as punishment. Eric also attended an anger management course and it is reported that he took anti-depressants due to low mood, anger and suicidal thoughts (Initially Zoloft, before being put on Luvox.) 

Family and friends said that they had no idea what the pair had in store. Klebold had attended the prom with a friend only three days before the shooting and the two were attending school as normal up until the day of the attack. They were said to get bullied but did have their own circle of friends so weren’t loners or outcasts as such. Both had similar tastes in music, dressed alike and had an interest in film and computers. Ominously 4 months before the massacre they shot a video titled “Hitmen for hire” where they both dressed in long, black duster jackets and assassinated bullies for students who called them. Although goofy, it was a hint of things to come. 

The boys shot many short films, which you can watch here: [X]



Online and on paper they went by their nicknames; Eric went as “Reb” (from rebel) and variants of the same name and Klebold went as “VoDKA” (his drink of choice apparently).  The massacre plan itself was referred to as “NBK” a nod to the Tarintino film “Natural born killers” in which a couple with bad childhoods seek revenge on the world in the form of serial killings for which they become infamous.


Not only did Harris rant in his journal, but he also published rants online on his various websites centered on his hate for people in the local area and details of his experiments with various bombs.
The following excerpts are from Harris’ written journal:

“Months have passed. It’s the first Friday night in the final month. much shit has happened. Vodka has a Tec 9, we test fired all of our babies, we have 6 time clocks ready, 39 crickets, 24 pipe bombs, and the napalm is under construction. Right now I'm trying to get fucked and trying to finish off these time bombs. NBK came quick. why the fuck cant I get any? I mean, I'm nice and considerate and all that shit, but nooooo. I think I try to hard. but I kinda need to considering NBK is closing in. The amount of dramatic irony and foreshadowing is fucking amazing. Everything I see and I hear I incorporate into NBK somehow. Either bombs, clocks, guns, napalm, killing people, any and everything finds some tie to it. feels like a Goddamn movie sometimes. I wanna try to put some mines and trip bombs around this town too maybe. Get a few extra flags on the scoreboard. I hate you people for leaving me out of so many fun things. And no don't fucking say, "well thats your fault" because it isnt, you people had my phone #, and I asked and all, but no. no no no dont let the weird looking Eric KID come along, ohh fucking nooo. 4/3/99”

(You can read everything on this webstie.)


The original plan was that they would plant bombs in the school cafeteria set to detonate around 11:17. This was when the most people would be inside, which is something they had made note of previously. When the students began fleeing the building they then intended to pick them off using the guns they had brought. Explosives they had left in their cars would then go off, taking out and distracting emergency services and police and from there they'd go around the school killing people, before committing suicide. 

Youtube user "Columbine video archives" goes into depth about the suicide in his video here.
**Warning- skip this to avoid graphic crime scene image**

On the day the bombs didn't go off as planned and Harris and Klebold shot at them in an attempt to detonate. They then reportedly went around the school firing at students (who were either running away or hiding under tables) and throwing bombs.
By 4.30 pm they were discovered slumped dead next to each other in the library from self inflicted gun shot wounds.  

There's a few books out there about this case, but apparently "No easy answers" by a friend of the boys named Brookes Brown is a good start if you want to know more. After all he did know Harris and Klebold.

That's all for now.
I'll revisit this post and add more as time permits.
In the meantime, stay safe everyone. It's a crazy world. 

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