A lot of people have been mentioned throughout history for their astonishing accomplishments and immense contributions to mankind’s welfare while some have gone down in history as perpetrators of destruction and mayhem – Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold fall in the latter category. Eric and Dylan were senior high school students who are remembered for the killing of 13 people and injuring over 20 other people at their school. This massacre eventually became the inspiration for many other school massacres that have plagued the United States of America ever since.
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold didn’t strike their colleagues, teachers or parents as troubled young men but unfortunately, they were. They planned the massacre which they intended to be one of, if not the biggest in US history – for a year. Within this period, they acquired ammunition and bombs while they prepared. Although their act was described by mainstream media as one of the worst school killings because of its number of fatalities, reports show that it would have been much worse if the bombs at the cafeteria had gone off. Investigators reveal that the bombs would have claimed the lives of 600 people.
Eric and his friend, Dylan wanted to surpass the Carnage of the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 that killed 168 people and injured over 600. One might wonder why two young kids will want to achieve such macabre goals. Find out why and much more in the following paragraphs.
Who Were Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold?
Eric David Harris was born on April 9, 1981, in Wichita, Kansas. He moved around a lot in his early years because of his father’s occupation. They would finally settle in Littleton, Colorado, in 1993 when his Air Force father Wayne Harris retired. His mother Katherine ‘Kathy’ Poole Harris, on the other hand, was a stay-at-home mother and wife which was why she often moved with her husband wherever he went. Eric grew up as a normal child, alongside his older brother Kevin and the two attended the Valley Elementary School in 1983 when the family lived in Beavercreek, Ohio. Eric was an absolutely normal kid and never did anything to make anyone think he was not normal.
Dylan Bennet Klebold was born on September 11, 1981, in Lakewood, Colorado into the family of Thomas Klebold and Susan Yassenoff. Like Eric, Dylan was also a lover of baseball and he also had a brother named Bryon. But unlike Eric, Dylan was a student at Columbine High School, Colorado and was a very bright student who refused to tap into his potential but made do with mediocre academic results. He exhibited aggressive behaviors and had a deep hatred for the world and the people around him. Dylan Klebold was later described as a suicidal psychopath.
Eric and Dylan met at Ken Caryl Middle School, Colorado and they soon became an inseparable pair. They were said to be fascinated with weapons and liked violent video games but how many young lads don’t? They were die-hard fans of Adolf Hitler and would often wear mafia clothes and look untidy as part of their rebellion against the world.
Together, they committed their first crime when they broke into a van and stole computers and computer parts. Despite this incident, Eric was described by a lot of people as sweet-faced and well-spoken. Dylan’s mother Susan ended up becoming an author and activist after the tragedy involving her son.
How Did They Carry out the Columbine High School Massacre?
Columbine High School is located in Colorado, became popular after the popular shooting of 13 people (with 24 others injured) within the school’s premises. The act was committed by 12th graders at the time, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. On the said day of the incidence on April 20, 1999, they had come into the school armed with Intratec TEC-DC9, a Hi-Point 995 Carbine, a Savage 67H pump-action shotgun, a Stevens 311D double-barreled sawed-off shotgun, 99 explosives, and 4 knives.
They placed the explosives at strategic places in the parking lot, in the cafeteria and in the library and held on to the guns and other smaller explosives with which they maimed many in their wake. Fortunately for the many students and teachers who were within the school premises at the time of the attack, all except one of the bombs didn’t detonate. The two high school seniors shot sporadically at any and everything in their way including several students and the police response team who came to diffuse the situation.
At the end of the carnage which lasted approximately 50 minutes, 12 students and one teacher were killed while 21 others were critically injured. Three other people sustained injuries while trying to escape. On the long list of weapons the shooters took into the school they were not able to use their knives and a good number of the homemade bombs.
Motivation: Why Did They Do it?
There has been a lot of theories about the motives behind the Columbine High school massacre. While some say that Eric and Dylan were traumatized by constant bullying, others believe that they belonged to school cults with violent tendencies. To this day, there are several controversies about the reasons behind their actions.
However, the most agreed upon and widely believed motive especially by experts is that concluded upon by the authorities who handled the investigation. A conclusion was made that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were psychopaths who suffered from different mental issues. According to the dozens of tapes and the journals they left behind, they were angry with the world and the people in it. They were infuriated as well as disgusted with everyone. They saw themselves as gods and perpetuated the act because of their beliefs that they were superior to others. Severally, in their journals, they wrote about how foolish and moronic a lot of people around them were.
In addition to this, they wanted to be remembered in history as great murderers. Evidence shows they were inspired by Adolf Hitler’s massacres and carried out their attack on his birthday. Their journals also revealed that they wanted to accomplish more than the perpetrators of the Oklahoma City bombing.
What Happened To Them?
While their reign of terror persisted, Eric and Dylan amused themselves by shooting the students who hid in the library. Of the 56 students who they held hostage in the library, they killed 10 and injured 12 but got bored and decided to go check on the bombs in the cafeteria. But by the time they returned, the remaining 34 and some of the injured had escaped through a hidden door. Although they had seen a whole lot of other students hiding in classrooms and the bathrooms, the shooters decided to bring the mission to an end by shooting themselves next.
Initial investigations revealed that the two committed suicide; Harris shot himself in the roof of his mouth while Klebold shot himself on his temple. However, years later in 2002, it was reported that from the post mortem investigations carried out and based on the positions of their bodies when they were found, it is speculated that Harris killed Klebold first and then turned the gun on himself.