Hey guys! Welcome to part two of Serial Killer Saturday. Like I said in part one, I thought one post would be way too much for one post. Part two deals with the shooting, rationale and aftermath. Let's get right to it because it will be a lengthy post!
Shooting Begins: At 11;19am, students Rachel Scott and Richard Castaldo were having lunch on a grassy knoll at the West Entrance of the school. The two gunmen, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold pulled guns under their trenchcoats. Scott was shot four times and killed instantly. Castaldo was shot 8 times in the chest, arm and abdomen, which left him paralysed. Harris aimed his Carbine down the West staircase at Daniel Rohrbough, Sean Graves and Lance Kirklin, killing Rohrbough. The two began shooting at five students, one was hit in the arm, face and leg, one feigned death and the other three managed to escape. Harris shot down the steps at several students, seriously wounding and paralysing Anne Marie Hochhalter as she tried to flee. Klebold left the cafeteria and joined Harris up the stairs. They both shot towards the soccer field, but didn't hit anyone. Harris and Klebold shot out the windows, hitting art teacher Patti Nielson with shrapnel. Nielson ran into the library and told students to get under the desks and be silent and called 911.
|West entrance of Columbine High School, where shooting began.|
Library Massacre 11:29am-11:36am: As the shooting was happening, Nielson called emergency services at 11:25am. Before entering the library, the shooters threw two bombs, one in the cafeteria and one in the library hallway, both exploded. At 11:29, they entered the library where 1 teacher and 52 students were hiding. Harris and Klebold ordered all jocks to stand up. When noone stood up, they started shooting anyway. Kyle Velasquez was sitting at the north row of computers when Klebold shot and killed him, hitting him in the head and the back. As they reloaded their guns, they noticed cops evacuating the school. Harris said ''Let's go kill some cops'' and opened fire on police. Noone was killed. Klebold fired his shotgun at a nearby table, injuring three. Harris grabbed the shotgun and shot it under a desk without looking, killing Steven Curnow with a shot to the neck. Harris went to the lower computer row, knelt down to Cassie Bernall, who was silently praying, he said ''peek a boo!'' before shooting her in the head, killing her instantly. Klebold turned to the next table, and saw Craig Scott (Rachel's Scott's brother), Matthew Ketcher and Isaiah Shoels, three popular athletes hiding under one table. Harris joined Klebold, who racially taunted Shoels before killing him with a shot to the chest. Harris then opened fire, killing Ketcher. Scott was uninjured, but feigned death as he lay in a pool of his friend's blood.
Harris threw a Co2 bomb where Makai Hall, Daniel Steepleton and Patrick Ireland were, but when it landed on Steepelton's thigh, Hall quickly threw it away. Harris and Klebold began to shoot between bookcases, injuring three and killing Lauren Townsend. Harris moved to another table, injuring two. John Tomlin attempted to move, Klebold shot at him repeatedly, killing him. Harris shot at 16 year old Kelly Fleming in the back, instantly killing her. Harris and Klebold ran into an acquaintance John Savage, who was studying for a history test. Savage asked them what they were doing, Klebold replied ''Oh you know, just killing people''. Savage asked if they were going to kill him, they hesitated and told him to leave. After Savage left, Harris shot at Daniel Mauser, but only managed to graze his ear. Mauser fought back and Harris shot him at close range in the face, killing him. The shooters started firing randomly, injuring two and fatally wounding Corey DePooter, who was the last to die. He is credited with keeping his friends calm throughout the library massacre. At 11:35. there were no further injuries. The massacre in the library killed 10 and injured 12. Out of 56 hostages, 34 were left unharmed. It was later found that Harris and Klebold had enough ammunition to kill everyone in the library. They walked out of the library at 11:36am, and survivors started to evacuate.
|After the Shooting, the library was completely demolished. The Hope Columbine Memorial Library was built in its place.|
Suicide of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold 12:08pm: At 12:02pm, Harris and Klebold returned to the library. 10 of the 12 victims were still lying on the floor. They went to the window and opened fire on police. Six minutes later, the went over to where Patrick Ireland laid. 12:08pm, Patti Nielson locked herself in the library break room with a student and library staff. Nielson recalled Harris and Klebold shout together ''one, two, three!'', followed by the sound of gunfire. Harris killed himself with a single shot to the head, and Klebold killed himself with a single shout in the mouth. The total count of deaths were 12 students and one teacher. 23 students and one teacher were injured. The suicide of the two perpetrators.
Rationale: Many different motives were given for why the massacre happened, though it truly remains unknown. A few different motives were suggested.
Bullying: Both Harris and Klebold were classified as gifted students, but bullied for four years. Two out of every 3 attacks are related to bullying. Both were bullied by jocks in the class above. One such incident is recalled by friend Brooks Brown, where ketchup covered tampons were thrown at Klebold, who described it as ''the worst day of his life''. Columbine High School had long condoned bullying, Brown says that teachers looked the other way when confronted with the issue of bullying. Letting the bullying continue, intimidation, could have festered, and homophobic remarks, could have been a catalyst for the massacre.
Psychopathy and Depression: FBI lead investigator for Columbine found Dylan Klebold to be depressive and driven by revenge. Eric Harris is considered to be the mastermind behind the massacre. He was a clinical psychopath, driven by sadism and a superiority complex. He lacked remorse or empathy. It is said that Dylan Klebold wanted to burn, while Eric Harris wanted to burn the world.
Goth subculture: In the weeks after the shooting, the media portrayed Harris and Klebold to be part of the Gothic subculture. They were part of a small, informal club in Columbine, known as the Trenchcoat Mafia. Later on, these characteristics were considered to be untrue.
Music: Unjust blame was placed towards dark metal bands, such as Rammstein, KMFDM, but mostly, Marilyn Manson was a scapegoat. Many believed Manson to be the sole motivation, despite reports that they weren't fans. Manson chastised the media for creating a moral panic and finger pointing. KMFDM said their music denounced war, oppression, fascism and violence.
Changes in school policy: Following Columbine, schools in the U.S added new security measures, such as transparent bag packs, metal detectors, uniforms and security guards. Anti bullying policies have been renewed or adopted a Zero Tolerance approach in bullying. However, Zero Tolerance has been implemented too harshly in some schools, which creates other problems, such as punishing the victim also.
Gun Control: After Columbine, there were many cries for more gun control measures. In 2000, federal and state legislation introduced a required safety lock on firearms and a ban on the importation of high capacity magazines. Laws were passed which made it a crime to buy guns for criminals and minors. K-mart, an American supermarket that sold ammunition to the shooters, announced they would no longer sell handgun ammunition.
In my opinion, the Columbine Massacre could, and should have been, completely avoided. What happened on the 20th April 1999, was such an awful tragedy, made worse by the fact that it didn't have to happen at all. I think that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, were also victims. They were failed in so many different ways. Though bullying wasn't the main reason for the massacre, had staff not turned a blind eye to previous bullying, to any student, it might not have sent the two down such a dark path. The introduction of Zero Tolerance policies should not be implemented as harshly as it has been. Laying blame with the victim of bullying, is completely counter-productive. My main gripe with any shooting I hear about, will always be with America's lack of stricter gun control laws. I feel they should be banned completely, especially as race riots seem to be happening more and more in recent times. How easy it was for a 17 and 18 year old to amass the amount of ammunition, is shocking. Previous convictions should have been enough to point out that they were in such an unhealthy state of mind. Anti-depressants were found in the system of Harris and Klebold after the shooting. I feel that they shouldn't have been moved around from anti-depressant to anti-depressant. This is not to say that it excuses their actions in anyway, many people live with mental illness and bullying, and don't go to such extremes. A friendship with two such people as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold in their state of mind, being failed at every turn, created a deadly massacre that America will never forget.
I hope you all enjoyed my second installment of Serial Killer Saturday, featuring Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Kudos if you've read it this far!
Thank you all for reading,
Stay fab xo