Yesterday, April 20th, marked the ten year anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Littleton Colorado. I had just turned nine years old when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold murdedered twelve students and a teacher, and truth be told it barely even registered with me. All I remember is every adult influence in my life shaking their heads and wondering where the kids went wrong. Every once and a while Columbine was mentioned in school, always as a cautionary example of why alienation of peers breeds homicidal hatred. It was in my senior year when an essay on the shooting manifested itself into obsession. Perhaps it was the cookie cutter suburbs eerily reminescent of my own, or the paralells between my school and theirs but the events at Columbine struck a cord deep within. The more I learnt about the shooting the more the event resonated with me. I devoured every possible detail; the town history, the shooter's IM logs, journal entries, and even school projects. Every time I was closing in on a definative motive a new piece of evidence called my entire theory into question.
Most will recall that every media outlet imagineable was flush with theories and explanations about the shooting. Whether it was bullying, rock and roll, or the media everyone got pulled into the witch hunt. Parent's across the continent found themselves under a giant magnifying glass. "But that's ok though right? I mean the kids were nazi's, goths, outcasts, my kids arent like that. They wouldn't do that right?"
Very early on I learnt that to even catch a glimpse of what really happened I would have to disregard almost everything CNN spoon fed the nation. The kid's weren't goth's, neo-Nazi's or a member of the media wrought "Trench coat mafia." In fact after month's of research the one thing I did learn is that there are no easy answers. Eric dated girls and got good marks, Dylan was seen as kind and painfully shy. At time's Eric struck me as a man hemmoraging anger and hate from every pore of his body, but there were moments where I caught a glimpse of a thoughtful intelligent young man. Of course Dylan too harbored his share of resentment towards the world, but reading his thoughts and poems about love and lonliness doesn't exactly mesh with his media persona. Do not misconstrue this as me sympathizing with the killers, but it certainly makes it more difficult to condemn them. It is far to easy to chalk up their actions to bullying or insanity when in reality we will never truly understand them. Any definative answer died at 12:08 pm on the 20th of April 1999. Do I regret this morbid fascination with Columbine? Certainly not. I feel its taught me to question everything, and its really raised alarm bells about the media. We watch the ten o'clock news every night whole heartedly anticipating that what we are told is the truth. In my oppinion truth does not exist, just conflicting oppinions. Don't accept the 'truth', take the time to form your own oppinion.
I would like to dedicate this post to the thirteen victims at Columbine, and anybody else affected by the tragedy.