Mass Shootings, Bullying & the Legacy of Columbine.
This video depicts future Columbine shooter Eric Harris walking the school's halls. Observe how his demeanor changes at 0:17 when he sees a wall of students approaching and what happens when they converge:
(Note: Harris appears on the right, his back to the camera, wearing a black shirt).
The Bullying Factor.
According to fellow student Brooks Brown, the person holding the camera who was hit so violently that the camera almost fell out of his hand, was the second Columbine gunman Dylan Klebold.
Brown was a childhood friend to Klebold and had become friendly with Harris in high school.
Here Brown talks about the prevalent bullying Harris and Klebold suffered at Columbine:
Poking the Tiger.
Harris, an angry, deeply troubled outcast was a self-professed unpopular student. He was also bullied at the school he attempted to bomb into oblivion on April 20, 1999.
Harris in the video was minding his own business. Suddenly a group of students went out of their way, indeed moving from one side of the hallway to the other where the smaller in stature Harris was walking peacefully, in order to intentionally, aggressively and in plain view bump into Harris and his friend.
Afterwards Harris did not engage them. He did not yell and scream. He simply continued walking, as if being treated like that was nothing new to him.
Klebold also had his problems. He had started getting into trouble at school and with the local authorities. In fact in 1998, he and Harris had been arrested and were charged with burglarizing a car. Klebold was also struggling with mental health issues.
What could the effect of this incident and other possible episodes of bullying at Columbine that were not captured on video had on the shooters? It certainly could not have helped quell the growing rage they felt towards their school.
The following dated March 15, 1999 or just five weeks before the massacre are excerpts from Harris and his co-mass murderer Dylan Klebold's infamous "Basement Tapes," a compilation of homemade videos where the two discuss what they are planning to do and why:
Footage of Harris and Klebold in the Columbine High School cafeteria, April 20, 1999.
Why Columbine Matters.
The modern school shooter era commenced with the Columbine High School tragedy, when one teacher and 12 students were shot dead. The killers also had 99 explosive devices including two large propane bombs which failed to go off in the cafeteria, otherwise the death toll would have been much greater.
I believe if we understand Columbine we will go far in understanding and possibly preventing further mass shooter episodes.
Past or budding mass shooters who pray at the alter of Columbine will likely recognize the bullying element and possibly relate to the lack of respect Harris and Klebold complained about.
The Columbine killers have been role models to many active shooters who followed, such as Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter, Nevada's Sparks Middle School shooter and Pennsylvania's Weis Market shooter.
All three died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds at the scene, just as their heroes Harris and Klebold had.
Teacher Dave Sanders was shot dead during the Columbine High School massacre, April 20, 1999.
Columbine's Influence on Subsequent Shooters:
05/18/18 Note: Santa Fe
Today a 17-year-old student has been arrested, accused of viciously murdering 10 people and wounded several others at Santa Fe High School in Texas.
Early reports state he wore a black trench coat complete with communist/Nazi style pins, brought homemade bombs with him to the school and possibly decoy bombs off-site, possibly to draw law enforcement away from the school - just like the Columbine killers. It has also been reported he intended to commit suicide at the scene, like Harris and Klebold but was taken into custody.
There were allegations he was also bullied.
Here are the beautiful lives lost in the latest school mass killing:
More to follow...
Reports reveal the Sandy Hook elementary school shooter was captivated by and had an "obsession" with the Columbine massacre.
The 20-year-old mass murderer who in 2012 killed 20 students including many first graders and six staff members studied the killers Harris and Klebold at length.
It has been reported this mass shooter even dreamed of the Columbine tragedy as he slept.
Survivors of the Sandy Hook mass shooting are led away to safety.
Yet another school shooter influenced by Columbine was the 12-year-old student who opened fire at Sparks Middle School in Nevada in 2013. He shot a teacher dead and wounded two students before ending his own life.
The Sparks shooter carried photographs of Harris and Klebold with him on his phone. He also played a violent Columbine High shooting role-playing video game at home.
Freeman High School.
Caleb Sharpe, the 15-year-old student who shot one student dead and wounded two others in 2017 was said to have been "obsessed" with school shootings.
He also is alleged to have stated he suffered from bullying. He opened fire at his high school located near Spokane, Washington in order to "teach everyone a lesson" about bullying.
Caleb Sharpe (Photo courtesy of Reuters).
The Weis Market shooter shot three co-workers dead in 2017.
Though this was not a school shooting, the Weis shooter nonetheless was very much intrigued by Harris and Klebold. He referred to the Columbine killers as his heroes and stated how he wished he might have met them.
He also published a barrage of internet content disclosing his deep admiration for them, particularly Harris. He photographed himself donning a tee-shirt bearing the words "Natural Selection" complete with red marks on it. Harris himself hand-picked this very shirt to wear on the day of the Columbine tragedy, but the blood spatter on his shirt was real.
Additionally, the night before he pulled off his own massacre in Pennsylvania, the Weis shooter uploaded a cartoon video depicting an imaginary high school shooting.
An 18 year-old shooter in North Carolina was also obsessed with the Columbine massacre.
That killer put on a black trench coat similar to the ones infamously worn by Harris and Klebold and which he had purchased while on a sightseeing trip to Columbine High; underneath it he wore a shirt that said "Remember Columbine." He sent an e-mail to the principal of Columbine High School to alert him that history would soon make made. Then he grabbed his shotgun which he named "Arlene" the same name Harris had given to his own firearm.
He shot his father to death and set off for his former school, Orange High School where he set off a cherry bomb, opened fire and wounded two students. When his gun jammed, he was apprehended by authorities.
Worried parents await news of their students outside Orange High School.
In addition to an admiration for the Columbine mass murderers, bullying rears its ugly head again and again in these mass shootings.
There have been reports that the shooters were bullied by their peers, starting with Harris down the line to the Sandy Hook shooter, the Sparks shooter and most recently the Parkland High School shooter who slaughtered three adults and 14 students and wounded 17 others on February 14, 2018 in an episode that surpassed Columbine in the number of dead and wounded.
In the following video produced days before the Weis Market massacre, the shooter talks about how "Columbine was my bible," how he "loved everything" about Columbine, and that Harris and Klebold "inspired" him.
He also opines what might have been done to stop what was about to happen.
"It was all there in front of your face" the future murderer points out.
Prevention is the only solution.