Columbine High School Shooting
Eric Harris and Dylan-Klebold: image source

Mass shooting in America has long been a menace and a number of cases have found their ways into the history books as the deadliest ones ever. One of such sad events to rock the free world is the Columbine High School Shooting. It was a horrible incident that took place on the 20th of April 1999, at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado, United States. It is generally known as the Columbine High School Massacre because of how devastating it was.

Two teenagers; Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold took it upon themselves to cleanse the world because to them, humans were robots who were conned into believing the false notions of societal order (in Harris’ opinion) or zombies who were lucky because they were so ignorant (Klebold’s sentiment).

The Real Truth About The Columbine High School Shooting

On the said fateful day, Harris and Klebold who were 17 and 18 respectively, murdered thirteen people – twelve students and one teacher, William Sanders. They then proceeded to kill themselves by a gunshot to their heads. It was known as the deadliest school shooting at that time. It also opened up a lot of flaws in the police and school systems. Debates were held on gun control and school safety across the nation. Ultimately, Columbine High School and many others embraced a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to violence.

The tragedy that occurred that day created a term, The Columbine Effect. It is known as the legacy and impact of the Columbine High School Shooting. There have been a few attempts to re-enact that event in several places by people who regard Harris and Klebold as icons, heroes and martyrs. Columbine is also used as a word for “mass shooting”.

After the terrible incident, reporters, detectives, and investigators tried to figure out why two young and smart boys would do such an awful thing and they came up with many theories. These suppositions were embraced as people needed to understand why the tragedy happened; they needed a good reason to find closure.

It wasn’t until the year 2006 that the real reason came out, but by then, it didn’t matter much.

The killers were believed to have been a part of the Trench Coat Mafia. Most likely because on the day of the event, they wore trench coats. However, this has been proven to be false. Although Harris and Klebold were found associating with them occasionally, they were not a part of the group.

Also, the two were believed to be social outcasts. This was also quite wrong, seeing as both had friends, attended events, joined clubs, and even went on dates.

There were also reports stating that the boys were trying to get revenge on the people who bullied them but it turns out that they weren’t bullied and the few who did make fun of them, were not harmed in the shooting.

As uncovered, Harris and Klebold had been planning the operation for almost a year and proof of all of it were in their journals. Harris was seen as a budding psychopath by one psychologist but another saw him as a full-grown psychopath and many agreed.

Some reporters regretted the way the two murderers were painted before the whole truth came out. They wished they had told the world exactly who they were – psychopaths. Among other things, videos were made by the murderers, explaining exactly what they were going to do later on.

Victims and Other Facts to Know

The boys knew exactly what they were doing. They were not coerced or cajoled. They planned everything but the operation did not go exactly as planned. If it did, the death toll could have been even higher.

They made bombs but as brilliant as they were, they just couldn’t pull off a bomb explosion. They dropped two bags with bombs in the cafeteria, one each in their cars and another a few miles away. The plan was to bring the roof down in the cafeteria, killing as many people as possible and then shooting those that tried to flee. The bomb that was a few miles away was meant to go off first to draw the attention of the officials but that bomb only partially went off. So they had to improvise. Thirteen people were killed on that day and twenty-four were injured.

Read Also: Life and Death of Eric Gein, How Many People Did He Kill and How Did He Die

This massacre could have been prevented if the local authority had taken better precautions. The parents of Brookes Brown, Klebold’s childhood friend and the one person he told to leave before he started his operation, filed a report against Harris and officials found evidence that he was building pipe bombs. They also found tons of threats on the internet. However, the sheriff’s department covered the whole thing up.

SWAT teams entered the school 47 minutes after the shooting started and they couldn’t do anything about it until 5 hours later. Their slow response caused a young boy to bleed out and die. The Columbine High School Shooting is ranked as one of the worst mass shooting in US history and also one of the deadliest episodes of school violence.

columbine high school shooting
Some victims of the Columbine High School Shooting: image source

The man who sold the boys the guns and the one who introduced them to the gun seller were both sentenced to prison. Below is a list of the victims of the sad event.

  • Cassie Bernall, 17
  • Steven Curnow, 14
  • Corey DePooter, 17
  • Kelly Fleming, 16
  • Matthew Kechter, 16
  • Daniel Mauser, 15
  • Daniel Rohrbough, 15
  • William “Dave” Sanders, 47
  • Rachel Scott, 17
  • Isaiah Shoels, 18
  • John Tomlin, 16
  • Lauren Townsend, 18
  • Kyle Velasquez, 16
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