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On April 20th, 1999, in Littleton, Colorado, what seemed like a normal day for most teenagers turned into a horrific event that changed these students and teachers lives forever. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered Columbine High School around lunchtime and shot many of their classmates and teachers. After about 40 minutes of random shots, the two shooters shot themselves in the head, committing suicide. They killed thirteen of their classmates and teachers and wounded more than twenty. This day marked the biggest school shooting in American history at the time.
Harris and Klebold were two troubled teenagers who hated life. Harris was described as “the callously brutal mastermind,” while Klebold was described as a “quivering depressive” (Cullen).
Around 11:20 am on April 20th, 1999, Harris and Klebold dressed in trench coats and ran inside Columbine High school to shoot their classmates. They ran straight to the library where many of the victims were shot and killed. Around noon, Harris and Klebold turned the guns to themselves, and shot themselves in the head, commiting suicide.
Police rushed to the scene but did not go into the school until hours after due to possible dangers, causing some of the victims to bleed to death. This raised a lot of controversy because of all the possible lives that could have been saved. Police later arrested Mark Manes and Philip Duran who sold Harris and Klebold the guns and ammunition. Later, police found that killing thirteen students was not what Harris and Klebold had intended to do, they wanted to do much worse.
They had originally set up a bomb in the cafeteria and were waiting for the students to come running out. The bomb did not go off so the two decided to run into the school and shoot their fellow students and teachers themselves. Investigators also found journals that the two had had written in and tapes that they had filmed before the shooting. The tapes showed the weapons they were going to use at the shooting (semi-automatic rifles, pistols, and explosives). The journals showed that the two had been planning a bombing for a about a year in advance. Harris and Klebold had first planned to bomb the school and kill about 600 of their fellow classmates and teachers. Their plan was to set up two propane bombs in the school cafeteria so it would kill the students in the lunch room and hopefully the students above the cafeteria in the library. Then to kill even more they would be waiting patiently in the parking lot ready to shoot the survivors running out of the school.
To make things even worse they wanted to load their cars with more propane bombs and ram them together killing rescue workers and televisions crews racing to the scene. Thankfully these plans did not follow through. After the shooting many speculations were made about the two shooters. The two were said to have been apart of a group called the Trenchcoat Mafia. This group consisted of social outcasts that were fascinated by the goth culture. Another speculation was that one of the reasons they decided to shoot up their school was because they were bullied. They were said to have been bullied by the jocks at the school. People also said that the video games played and music they listened to was an influence to the shooters to shoot the school. The shooters were also said to have targeted specific groups.
One story in particular targets a christian girl. Harris and Klebold supposedly gunned her down and asked her if she was a christian or not. She said yes and they shot her right away. Although this is said to be true, they did not target specific groups because they had intended to kill more than they did. All of these speculations were proven to be false later in the investigations when they found their journals and video tapes. America was no longer the same after the Columbine shooting. Americans were scared to send their children to school after this event. Gun violence in schools needed to be put to an end. Many new rules were being put into action after that day. One was the zero tolerance rule. This rule meant that schools would no longer tolerate disruptive behavior and threats of violence from any student. For example, a child was arrested because he had brought fingernail clippers to school. After the shooting schools also invested in security forces on the school grounds and metal detectors hoping to put an end to school shootings. The safety of students became a priority after shooting.
Since the Columbine shooting, there have been multiple school shootings all across the country. Kids, teenagers, and adults have lost their lives due to this major problem in America. Gun control has become a huge controversial topic recently because of the last school shooting at Stoneman High school. Students in that shooting have been protesting an end to gun violence by getting rid of guns to the public. Some think this could save innocent children’s lives while others think it’s a terrible idea. Even though school shootings are still happening in America, the Columbine High school shooting was able to help America notice potential shooters and how to help prevent even more school shootings from happening.
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