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On Tuesday, April 20 1999, Columbine High School located in Columbine Colorado an unfortunate massacre happened and many teens lost their lives. The two students responsible for this incident were Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. These two senior students were responsible for killing twelve students and one teacher; they were also responsible for injuring an additional twenty one students on their rampage. A few other students were injured while trying to escape the school. Columbine is considered the fourth deadliest school massacre in history.
It was said to be that there was not one target but everyone was a target on Eric and Dylan’s rampage through the high school Some early warning signs were overlooked a few years prior to the massacre. Eric and Dylan were bright students who started a website on America Online that was set up to host a video game called “Doom. ”Doom is a violent space age video game where the person playing the game is the shooter that tries to take over.
Their website contained jokes and small journal entries that had to do with their thoughts about school, parents, and friends.
As the website was up for a period of time the boys started posting articles on the trouble that they were causing. The website also contained instructions on how to make explosive devices. If you were to read through the website you would know that the boys were angry against society and their tensions were building within. Another warning sign was Dylan wrote a report on being a hit man and how he would take out people in his path of destruction.
The teacher thought that the paper was violent for school and reported this to the principal and to Dylan’s parents.
Dylan’s parents said that they would take care of the problem and Dylan’s excuse was that it was just a harmless paper that he had written using his imagination. The website had a few visitors mostly the visitors were from the high school where the web address had been passed around another students mother had seen the website and filed numerous complaints to local police. Investigators looked into the matter and saw the website but never followed through with a search warrant. The website by now was filled with death threats that were directed towards other students and teachers that attended Columbine High School. Read also an essay on ust take away their guns
Some of the other posts that were included on the website were Harris’ hatred for society and his desire to kill the teens and teachers that annoyed him. Harris had also posted on his website that he had completed making pipe bombs and also a gun count with a hit list of people that he wanted to target. In January of 1998 Eric and Dylan broke into a van and stole some tools and equipment. Both of the boys were arrested and plead guilty to felony theft in a joint hearing that took place in Littleton Colorado. The boys were sentence to Juvenile Diversion and had to attend multiple classes together one of which was an anger management class.
Harris went to see a psychologist for about a year after the incident. The psychologist had prescribed an anti depression drug called Zoloft which is for depression and anger issues. During this time the Dylan had altered the website back to the original state that it was set up for which was the video game Doom. Eric had a separate part of the website that he had been boasting about his ever growing supply of guns and bombs that he had been collecting. Shortly after the website this change America Online had deleted this site from the internet permanently.
Both Eric and Dylan had started keeping journals of their progress of their arrests they also documented their arsenal with video that they kept secret. The boy’s journal discussed major plans on how they were going to follow through with their attack on the school. The videos talked about the explosives, ammunition, and the weapons that they had accumulated illegally. They had also discussed how they were hiding the bombs from their parents in the house. At the end of the video the teens taped themselves apologizing to their parents and friends and saying good bye.
The firearms that were used in the attacks were two nine millimeter hand guns and two twelve gauge shotguns. They had sawed off the barrels and the butts of the guns to make them easier to carry and conceal while walking into the school. Eric and Dylan used the internet to make ninety nine improvised devices that were all different in size and design. With all of these things that they had done they had already committed many felonies prior to the massacre. Eric and Dylan obtained these firearms from a local gun show. They had gone to the show the day before and were turned away because of their age.
Determined to buy the weapons they Eric and Dylan found an older boy to buy the shot guns for them his boy worked at the pizza shop with them. Also they had purchased the hand guns through a person that they had met at work also. Later this person was prosecuted for selling a firearm to an underage person. The semi automatic hand gun was bought for five hundred dollars. Eric and Dylan honed their shooting skills at a make shift firing range in the mountains. They practiced shooting their weapons there away from the public and used the schools video equipment to record their actions.
They talked about the damage that the bullets would cause to the person that they hit. Their intentions were to kill and injure as many people as possible putting a hit on everyone that they saw. On Tuesday, April 20 1999 Eric and Dylan arrived at the high school in separate cars. Eric parked in the junior parking lot and Dylan parked in the senior parking lot, both of these parking spots were not assigned to either of the boys. But from these spots they had an excellent view of the cafeteria where they planned to cause the most damage this was also the main entry and exit to the school.
The boys met at Harris’s car and got two twenty pound propane bombs from the trunk of the car and went to the cafeteria where they placed them and planned for them to explode at 11:17a. m. Their intentions were to shoot at the students that were fleeing the school after the propane bombs exploded. That did not happen though the tanks never detonated so they went to plan B. At 11:19 Eric and Dylan had armed themselves with their weapons and walked toward the building they enter through the west steps which was the highest point in the school and started firing.
It was lunch time so all the students were out of class. They entered the library and started shooting at students that were in there targeting jocks and people that they did not like. Eric and Dylan were toying with the fact that they had the upper hand and were able to choose who lived and who died in the massacre. At 12:20 p. m. the massacre ended in the library with the two boys taking their lives. Dylan shot himself in the mouth with his shotgun and Eric shot himself in the temple with his hand gun. The whole rampage through the school that the boys made was forty nine minutes long.
One theory that I have behind this would be the medication that Eric Harris was prescribed. Eric was prescribed Zoloft because he had symptoms of suicidal thoughts, depression, and anger issues. After Harris was on this drug for some time he complained that he was experiencing problems with concentrating so his doctor took him off of Zoloft and prescribed him Luvox, which was in his system at the time of his death. Some doctors say that the side effects that come from Luvox are loss of remorse, depersonalization, and mania.
With these side effects possible and his psychopathic thoughts it’s no wonder that this horrible incident took place on April 20th. Another theory is that both of the boys were not very popular in their school and were picked on repeatedly. They did not have a very large social group and kind of isolated themselves from other classmates while at school. There were stories that were heard were that both the boys were made fun of by other students mainly jocks or athletes. The students made remarks that questioned their sexuality. This might have lead the feelings of being intimidated this could have been a direct result of the shootings.
With a weapon in their hands they would have a sense of power over the other students making them feel how they did for years of abuse. Some say that the music that the boys listened to was to blame for the shootings. On the website that Eric and Dylan had created were bands like KMFDM and Rammstein. Both of these bands were metal style music or dark music with Devil Worshipping and had lyrics that told people to kill! The bands had both issued a public apology and said that there was no intention to do harm to anyone by the use of their lyrics.
Anti-bullying policies were put into effect after this massacre took place now saying that there is a zero tolerance policy. The zero tolerance policy had to do with any bullying or weapons violations. Anyone that was bullying another student would have to face strict penalties by the school. School security also stepped up across the United States they took measures as far as making students have seen through back packs and placed metal detectors in schools entrances. They have also numbered the entrances to the school in case of this situation happening in the future. Authorities would have a better idea of where to go.
In the case of the Columbine massacre, it took quite some time for police personal to make their way into the school to rescue students that were hiding in classrooms all over. Swat had to search the rooms one by one making sure that they were clear before proceeding to the next room. Police used a strategy called the “Immediate Action Rapid Deployment” which set up a perimeter around the school to contain the damage. Later these tactics were change to a four person squad that is deployed into the building of an active shooter, the squad was to go directly to the sound of the gunshots and cease the situation by taking out the target.
Columbine was a very unfortunate incident that had many red flags that were over looked. My heart goes out to those who have lost during this tragic incident. By doing this report my eyes have opened up to many new and strange things that take place in this world. I have watched many videos in the last few days over the internet trying to figure out what motivates psychopathic behaviors like these that were portrayed. If anyone sees warning signs it is very important that they not be overlooked as the ones at Columbine were.
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