Nowhere in the world are there so many massacres in schools as in the United States. The Columbine high school shooting massacre took place 22 years ago - a symbol of that senseless killing to this day. That massacre was planned in great detail.
It was "a day that changed us all," then-U.S. President Bill Clinton said on the tenth anniversary of the Columbine high school shooting commemoration in the state of Colorado.
On April 20, 1999, not coincidentally on Adolf Hitler's 110th birthday, two American students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, put into action a plan they had been preparing in detail for months before. They intended to detonate two bombs at the school and then shoot students fleeing the school in the parking lot, and the goal was to kill at least 250 people.
That day, armed to the teeth, they entered the school and set up two sports bags in the cafe there, which contained gas bottle bombs that they had made themselves. But the timed lighters did not work. When the two of them, aged 17 and 18, realized this, they started firing at random at the students who found themselves in front of the barrels of their weapons.
This is the story of the horrific Columbine high school shooting.
Columbine High School Shooting: What Happened That Day
That day, at 11:19 a.m., the two opened fire on the school after placing homemade explosive devices in the school canteen. Their goal was to kill most of their schoolmates with amateur-made bombs, but they let them down and did not explode, which meant that the number of victims was much smaller than they had planned.
By 12:08 p.m., when they committed suicide in the library, next to the ten dead bodies of young people they had just killed, the two of them were walking around the school, entering classrooms and shooting whoever they came across. Witnesses described after the event that the two of them shot their colleagues with ear-to-ear smiles, enjoying a superior position over their victims.
Harris and Klebold saw themselves as victims of peer violence against more popular schoolmates, and according to some later interpretations, they were not. There were also reports that they were fans of singer Marylin Manson, who received a lot of negative publicity because of these rumors. They were racists who deliberately went on their campaign on Adolf Hitler's birthday.
But as more knowledgeable journalists investigating the Columbine high school shooting reported, it was about two students who hated the world and wanted to destroy the entire school so that later generations would remember their names. Harris wrote, "I hate the world" in the first entry of his diary, with a swear word. That motive, though simple, was the source of that shooting. The two of them had been planning their crime for as long as a year.
After that Columbine high school shooting, many imitators of a darkened or depressed mind appeared, and every time a murder happened at school, Columbine was the first word that would come to the sense of police or reporters.
When Harris and Klebold killed 13 innocent people, it was the fifth homicide in a row in the number of victims in the United States since World War II.
Since then, things have gotten much worse, and the culture of violence in the U.S. has gone much further. Today, none of these mass killings are in the top five anymore. Until then, the largest number of victims was carried out by an attack on a restaurant in Texas in 1991 (23), and today it is a mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017 in which 58 people were killed.
Columbine high school shooting is only the 13th in a row.
The Columbine High School Shooting Was A New Degree Of Insanity
Most of the victims of the Columbine high school shooting were killed in the school library. There, one teacher managed to set off an alarm. When the special police units entered the school, everything was already over.
Later, the listened-to recordings were activated after a call for help. To this day, it is not clear why the assassins circulated the school after the library massacre but did not kill again.
Eventually, the two of them barricaded themselves in the library and committed suicide. Before that, the two of them killed 12 students, and 25 were seriously wounded. The thirteenth victim was a Columbine High School teacher.
That name, Columbine, became synonymous with horror when students reached for their weapons and began killing students, with whom they had been sitting on a bench until recently. The phenomenon of so-called "school shootings" has been known in the years before the Columbine high school shooting, and both their number and the number of victims increased.
But the Columbine high school shooting had a new quality: before the massacre, the two attackers announced what they intended in detail in a video message. Before that, they were marginals. After the killings, they became world-famous.
In doing so, they have inspired many others, who will repeat their madness in the years to come with different versions and variations.
After the Columbine high school shooting, many began to ask the question: why? Of particular importance to investigators was that the two assassins recorded several videos in which they explained their motives.
In this way, they wanted to determine how the rest of the world should see them. Most of these videos were shot in the basement of Harris 'parents' house - which is why they were also called "basement tapes." After analysis, investigators destroyed all the tapes to prevent them from being imitated by other potential assassins.
Time Magazine reporters saw parts of the tapes before they were destroyed. In a report they wrote, they claimed the first tape was "almost unbearable."
Future killers claim that they do not imitate anyone and want to be much better than some earlier assassins in schools. Their plan is much better" than those idiots from Kentucky, who just wanted others to appreciate them."
What prompted Harris and Klebold to their act of Columbine high school shooting, we have developed various theories about. Everyone agrees, however, that they were two marginals who wanted to take revenge on their classmates for pushing them aside. In one text, Klebold wrote:
"Three bullets hit the biggest nerd in the head."
Of course, the public's attention was also turned to the parents. How is it possible that they raised two monsters? Klebold's parents replied that it was not because of their upbringing, but despite trying to raise a morally high child, he deviated from the right path.
In one of the videos, Harris quoted Shakespeare's Storm:
"A good mother gave birth to bad children."
Later, American director Michael Moore made the documentary Bowling for Columbine, telling the tragic story behind the Columbine high school shooting. He won an Oscar in 2003. He shows how easy it is to get weapons of all kinds in the United States in the film.
22 Years Full Of Blood
The Columbine high school shooting was a particularly terrible school massacre, but it was by no means the first, and especially not the last. The USA particularly remembers the 2012 massacre when a man killed 20 students and seven adults at an elementary school in Sandy Hook.
Or the massacre at Virginia Tech Technical High School, when in 2007, one assassin killed a total of 32 people.
These killings have sparked fierce controversy in the United States about restricting access to weapons, at least automatic weapons, but increasingly ambitious reforms in that direction have been halted by resistance from a powerful lobby of arms manufacturers and traders. They are referring to another amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the state from confiscating the disarmament of citizens.
After last year's massacre in Parkland, Florida, in which a former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student killed 14 students and three adults, the school's surviving students launched a major campaign to tighten gun sales regulations. The most famous among them is 19-year-old, Emma Gonzalez. The highlight of that campaign was "March for Our Lives," with hundreds of events across the United States.
Therefore, the "Columbine Generation," students born after the 1999 massacre, show that they no longer accept the role of the victim and the danger lurking in schools. And that this danger is real is also demonstrated by the data of the Gun Violence Archive: in 2020, throughout the USA, the so-called "Mass Shootings" - a term that is difficult to translate – were killed at least 611 people.