An approximate "Time-line" of alleged events.
The Tragedy at|
The Victims / The Heroes
Could it have been prevented ?
Note: This tragedy has now claimed one more victim. At the end of October, the mother of one of the severely wounded students could not deal with the strain, and committed suicide.
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Could anyone have stopped this senseless, horrific catastrophe?
At what point do parents share the guilt of a deranged child? Is love, or complacency, so great that warning signs are ignored?
Police, school officials and some parents and students allege that:
- Harris committed petty vandalism in his neighborhood, but points to another neighbor as the guilty party. The neighbor had an alibi, however.
- Harris and Klebold broke into a van and stole some contents.
- Harris published his plans for murder and his hate on his Web site.
- Harris kept a detailed journal of his emerging plans for murder.
- Harris was diagnosed with an obsessive/compulsive disorder and was prescribed Luvox as a medication.
- Harris and Klebold built pipe bombs in his house and garage. The evidence is in plain view.
- Harris and Klebold recorded videos as school projects which are full of violence and hatred.
- Harris and Klebold wrote essays as school projects which are full of violence and hatred.
- Harris cut off the barrel of a shotgun, and left the evidence on top of a dresser in his room.
- It was reported that Klebold's father telephoned the SWAT team after the shootings began and stated that he believed his son was involved and could he help - but it was too late.
Police allege that:
- Petty vandalism in the neighborhood brings police attention to Harris.
- Harris and Klebold are caught after breaking into a van. The judge requires counseling and probation.
- The Browns, neighbors of Harris, turn 9 printed pages of Harris's Web site over to police. The Web pages are full of violence, hatred and threats. No action was taken.
- After several incidents, the school guard is told to watch Harris and Klebold.
Police and school officials also allege that:
- Harris saw someone (doctor, psychiatrist) who prescribed Luvox for a brain chemical imbalance. Apparently there was no further investigation into Harris's mental state.
- A teacher is so concerned with violent essays written by Klebold, that she tells his counselor, who talks with the boy and the boy's father.
The Trenchcoat Mafia - questions remain:
- Although not totally accepted by the group, Harris and Klebold considered themselves members of the "Trenchcoat Mafia". This Columbine group may be comprised of students alienated from the rest of the school. One of the members, not involved with the shootings but interviewed by CNN, stated that if you tease/harass people, you can expect a bullet too. If this "thinking" is condoned, what message does it send to the psychos who will actually pull a trigger?
- Do weird dress and manners increase the incidences of discrimination by other students? Does the increase in alienation trigger a potential blood-bath? Had trenchcoats been banned in a dress code, could the long guns used in the killings been smuggled so easily into the school?
- Did Harris and Klebold confide in any other member of the group, and did they get any encouragement from any other member of the group?
Conversely, does an inner clique of more popular students and athletes bear any responsibility for belittling, embarassing and ostracising students not part of their group? How much does intolerance play in the blame for such a meltdown? Is the bad behavior of "good" students enough to unbalance an already unstable mind?
In other school shootings, the killer(s) usually told someone what they were going to do. Was this the case at Columbine High?
- The active members of the "Trenchcoat Mafia", those pictured in the school yearbook, deny they had any knowledge of the coming gruesome events.
- According to police, Klebold's girlfriend bought 3 guns possibly used in the killings, but say she may not have known of their ultimate use. The suspected killers were underage and could not purchase them legally.
- A 22 year old man was arrested for selling Harris and Klebold a TEC DC9 assault pistol, which police say was used in the killings. They say he also went shooting with the boys on several occasions. Videotape(s) exist which show the boys shooting the gun; police do not state whether there were other people shown in the videotape(s).
- Two students and an expelled student, all boys, are detained on a hillside overlooking the school during the killings. Police say it was probably a coincidence that they were there; there is no sign that they were there to view a specific event.
A Prophetic Parallel
In Burlington, Wisconsin, 5 students, all boys aged 15 and 16, were arrested for conspiracy to commit murder. This happened on Nov. 15, 1998, five months before the Columbine tragedy. Two of the boys were subsequently released as they had dropped out of the "conspiracy" before the arrests.
The plot to take the staff of the school hostage and kill some of them, as well as killing 12 other children, came apart when police intervened and arrested the boys the day before the plot was scheduled to happen.
A police video of the interrogation did not show Miranda warnings being given, so the confessions of the 3 boys were not allowed at their trial. All three pled to lesser offenses.
The judge felt that the "ringleader" of the plot was disturbed and dangerous enough to require mental health treatment. A psychologist believed the boy had no identity of his own, and didn't have a strong moral responsibility.
Initially, many of the townspeople felt that the police over-reacted, and that the situation was blown out of proportion. One mother thought the "hysteria" was unreasonable.
Six months later, after Columbine, parents and school officials now believe they narrowly missed a major disaster.
Note: Thanks to all who pointed out the Nov. 15, 1968 date was incorrect. It has been fixed. :)
With the deadly results of Columbine fresh in their minds, many communities are no longer taking teenage threats lightly.
In Texas for example, four 8th grade boys were arrested for conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit arson, and conspiracy to manufacture explosives after teachers and students overheard conversations about an attack on the school.
In another Texas town, 4 teenagers were arrested after police found bomb-making materials in the back seat and trunk of the car the boys were in.
Hopefully, vigilant pursuit of those who would visit death and harm on other teens and teachers can prevent another heart-rending massacre!
Sadly, there are those who still think the above events are a joke. Every day, schools all over the country are being forced to interrupt their teaching to deal with malicious bomb threats, made by deranged and unstable people who think it is "fun" to cause pain, grief, fear and disruption.
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