4/20/99

07-columbine-high-school-massacreI was sitting at my desk at video game company Ion Storm in Austin when I saw the Yahoo headline about a gun massacre by two disturbed students at Columbine High School in Colorado. Twelve students and teacher were quickly, brutally mowed down by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, whose planted explosives devices failed to fully charge. The young killers had their sick fun and then committed suicide as is the wont with shooters on sprees. It was strange to watch this tragedy unfold, ironic in asmuch as I was writing for the company founded by my friend John Romero, whose game DOOM among other cultural items (Marilyn Manson; NATURAL BORN KILLERS) were singled out by media for “inspiring” the killers since Harris and Klebold were fans. That the main political focus was on blaming media and not the instant access of a small army to two psychotic teens revealed much about America’s hysterical myopic allegiance to the Second Amendment. 10 years later, nothing has changed.

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35 Responses to “4/20/99”

  1. If only the teachers had been armed, right? Sigh.

    • i think that is horrible i heard it today at school i wish we can help them

    • i WOULD LIKE TO START OFF WITH SAYING THE PARENTS ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR CHILDS ACTION. WHAT THE HELL ARE THE SUPPOSE TO DO WHEN THEY ARE UNAWARE I MEAN THESE BOYS HAD EVERYTHING FIGURED OUT GOOD AND WAS ABLE TO HIDE IT FROM EVERYONE LET ME ASK YOU THIS WHERE WERE THE POLICE WHERE WAS THE PRINCIPAL AND EVERYONE ELSE AT THAT MATTER YOU ALL ACT LIKE THE PARENTS RAISED THEIR SONS TO BE KILLERS WELL NEWS FLASH THEY DIDNT WHEATHER YOU ADMIT IT OR NOT THE REAL FAULT IT IS IS THE KIDS AND TEACHERS AND THE STUDENTS I DIDNT KNOW THESE BOYS BUT THEY MUST OF DONE SOMETHING HORRIBLE TO MAKE TWO POOR BOYS TURN TO MURDER FOR REVENGE WHY CANT YOU PEOPLE SEE THAT THEY ARE NOT THE PROBLEM THIER JUST TWO PEOPLE WITH GUNS IN THEIR HANDS BECAUSE YOU DROVE THEM THAT WAY YOUR THE MURDERERS NOT THEM

  2. christian Says:

    And the students. Especially them.

  3. bellicoseblog Says:

    Perhaps this is less about the 2nd amendment and more about keeping parents aware of what their kids are doing, and even more about finding better solutions for school safety. Educators need to be plugged into what is going on in their students lives through programs that support empowerment and student involvement.

  4. re: parental reponsiblility, i second that, but belicoseblog, i think you are kididng yourself if you don’t think what happened at columbine is ALL about the second ammendment. TEENAGE BOYS SHOULD NEVER, EVER BE ABLE TO PURCHASE SEMI-AUTOMATC WEAPONS OVER THE INTERNET/.

    i recently watched an excellent episode of ‘zero hour’ on the columbine massacre, and as a parent what REALLY disturbed me was how completely absent these parents were in harris and klebold’s lives, how disconnected they were from their children who were virtual strangers to them, so much so that semi-automatic weapons were hidden in bedrooms for goodness sake. eric and dylan are responsible for their actions, but the neglect of those parents is INEXCUSABLE to my way of thinking and i’m sure those mums and dads have the rest of their lives to contemplate the consequences of their deplorable parenting.

  5. oh, sincerest apologies, i didn’t mean to post that yet, i have no idea how i managed to do that! i was typing REALLY fast and that version above is full of typos i hadn’t fixed yet. please to read proofread version below:

    re:parental responsibility, i second that, but belicoseblog, i think you are kidding yourself if you don’t think what happened at columbine is ALL about the second amendment. TEENAGE BOYS SHOULD NEVER, EVER BE ABLE TO PURCHASE SEMI-AUTOMATC WEAPONS OVER THE INTERNET.

    i recently watched an excellent episode of ‘zero hour’ on the columbine massacre, and as a parent what REALLY disturbed me was how completely absent these parents were in harris and klebold’s lives, how disconnected they were from their children who were virtual strangers to them, so much so that semi-automatic weapons were hidden in bedrooms for goodness sake. eric and dylan are responsible for their actions, but the neglect of those parents is INEXCUSABLE to my way of thinking and i’m sure those mums and dads have the rest of their lives to contemplate the consequences of their deplorable parenting.

    .

  6. christian Says:

    The parents were part and parcel of a gun culture in Arkansas that deifies the rights of gunowners, so I doubt anything would have changed had they noted the guns in the closet. I don’t think parents have as much control as they or society would like, so I don’t what the cure. But I do know that giving two mentally unstable teens access to weapons is BAD.

    I’m reminded of THE PRESIDENT’S ANALYST: “Bing, that’s my car gun.”

  7. that’s interesting, christian, about the parents and the attitude towards guns/gun culture, but going by the ‘zero hour’ documentary i saw (those ‘zero hour’ documentaries, produced by the BBC or ITV or one of those, are absolutely terrific), i can’t remember if it was dylan or eric who had guns/ammo and all sorts of really sick literature – and the diary and videotape they had been keeping all during their planning of the massacre – stashed in cubby holes and secret compartments under the bed etc. all over his bedroom. he knew his parents wouldn’t find them because they weren’t involved in his life; he knew they would never check his room so it was safe to keep a stunning amount of weapons and ammo there.

    also, the fact that a complaint about the boys laid with the police not long before the massacre didn’t even get the parents involved in their obviously troubled son’s lives is just so hard to comprehend, as a parent myself. teenage boys need to be constantly encouraged to communicate and infused with a sense of family and belonging so they don’t go off the rails; parents who just switch off to their teen boy’s state of mind are negligent, imho, and in the case of harris and klebold, where the neglect was so complete – the boys often left to fend for themselves for days on end with the parents too busy or actually away for stretches at a time – complicit.

    the fact those boys were in so much pain and had gone so far off the rails without the parents even noticing or taking any action is just mind-boggling. again, the massacre was just the end manifestation of a long disease left grossly untreated. gun control is crucial, but as far as people like dylan and eric just slipping through the cracks goes, it’s like an ambulance at the bottom of a cliff, imho

  8. christian Says:

    As far as all that goes, you are totally correct. Especially since the boys had already been busted. I’m not taking the folks off the hook, but I wonder if even with supervision the pair couldn’t still get the guns, which they would have. Or the denial of the parents who couldn’t conceive of their children killing…

  9. yeah, i hear ya. it’s an age-old debate, and i come down really hard on the parents when it come to situations like this, but maybe i’ll whistle a different tune when my little guy is a teen and he’s bigger than me and what ever i say goes in one ear and out the other and he answers my questions with one syllable grunts!

  10. christian Says:

    I’m sure your boy will be fine. He’s got a geek mom! The worst that could happen is he becomes a Republican;]

  11. lol, that WILL NEVER HAPPEN! (he’s in film school right now and absolutely loving it, it’s sort of hilarious how we mold our kids into little miniature versions of ourselves! poor kids, they never stand a chance)

  12. it was in colorado, not arkansas.

  13. christian Says:

    Thank you! Correct.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    You fucking hypocrite. It’s wrong to blame your shitty FPS, but it’s ok to blame a gun? The gun didn’t make them go and kill all those people. They got their weapons ILLEGALLY, no law would have stopped them anyway. You sicken me using this tragedy to push your agenda. Please do shove your viewpoints straight up your liberal, ignorant, pacifist asshole. No one gave them access to weapons. The only people at fault here are people like YOU, that think banning an object can solve the underlying problem of the moral decay of America.

  15. christian Says:

    Look at the words you’ve written and the tone and inner-rage. How about all the folks who get their guns LEGALLY and take out policemen? The moral decay comes from those who think the solution to gun violence is to bring them into churches — and a gun nut with LEGAL firepower shot up a church because of all that liberal moral decay. Ironic, huh? But thanks for taking time to vent. Makes me feel secure someone as balanced as you has access to firepower.

  16. yourmumsacne Says:

    Shut up christian sack of shit

  17. well you all have very good points here. but there is really nothin in the end that we can to do stop this. if someone is gonna snap they will. the kind of survaliance required to stop this would highly infringe upon legal rights because people are so unpredictable. and we have to be realastic here weither the guns were legal or not the boys would have found a way to do what they did. and personally some people react to much sometimes. i am a highschool student myself, and i have been “accused”of being just like these boys by my school officals and i was almost expelled because i made an ofhand joke to a personal friend that they had somehow got their hands on it. it was good that they had found out. cause imainge if i was like those boys, they could have stoped it there, and it was all a misundertaning that we can only hope will happen if the time comes where someone else attemts a similar foul deed

  18. I think that this tragedy reflect very well the reality that the Americans adolescents lives ,if this two adolescents has changed their opinion ,they may be with us ,but the destiny is the destiny we can’t avoid it

  19. it’s true that parent’s can’t control their children, but they can to at least some degree prevent something like this from happening if they are involved in their children’s lives.

    • I had a friend in highschool and we had a similar mentality. Not to kill anyone, but that we didn’t like people at all. It’s also retarded that the media tried to blame it all on video games. My god, if every person who played video games did something like this, we’d have a lot more deaths on our hands.

  20. I had a friend in highschool and we had a similar mentality. Not to kill anyone, but that we didn’t like people at all.

  21. I had a friend in highschool and we had a similar mentality. Not to kill anyone, but that we didn’t like people at all. It’s also retarded that the media tried to blame it all on video games. My god, if every person who played video games did something like this, we’d have a lot more deaths on our hands.

  22. I had a friend in highschool and we had a similar mentality. Not to kill anyone, but that we didn’t like people at all. It’s also retarded that the media tried to blame it all on video games. My god, if every person who played video games did something like this, we’d have a lot more deaths on our hands.

  23. Hello, just stumbled across this forum after being shown a ‘columbine’ video during 2 days tactical training (British firearms police officer).
    Interesting reading the entries here, we too have morons carrying guns, however, they all carry them illegally here.
    I have thought long and hard about the two gun cultures, pro’s and cons for both. It appears that in the US it’s a free for all, anyone can have one and as a result even minor disputes can result in a bloodbath.
    In the UK it’s very difficult to own a gun, (no civillian can have a handgun), that keeps gun crime very low but it does mean that only criminals will be in possession on the street!
    I have to say that as one of the few officers in the UK carrying a gun (or three), I feel more able to deal with what may come up, other cops need good verbal communication, or an athletes legs !!!!!!!!!
    It’s a weird world we all live in, I think of the two cultures I’d rather have the UK restrictions. 9 times out of 10 it’s drug dealers shooting drug dealers here and I can live with that.

    • Thanks for your sane and thoughtful response. I see your points and agree that it’s a free for all here in America (another school shooting last week) and we accept these casualties as the price of freedom. Ridiculous. Keep safe!

  24. something like this hits home for me due to the fact that all during high school i was bullied and treated rudely because i am what the fashion world calls fat and I had a very good looking boyfriend. sometimes the things people say can really hurt a person. and just for the record, i do have my parents involved in my life and i do go to church, but even then sometimes that wasnt enough because I had to see these people everyday at school. thoughts of suicide had gone through my head and even thoughts of getting revenge on them came into my head too because if i just killed myself, they would continue their lives and hurt other people. The only thing that really kept me from doing what eric and dylan did or even just killing myself is that i am a more positive person. The only friend i had in high school was my love who now, 7 years later, i have married. going into detail of what these people did to me in high school would take too much time and oprah would need to do a special show for it. i would never do high school again if i had to and i really think that actions really do come from the person within. i had a choice, kill myself, others, or do nothing and move on with my life, and i chose life. i believe in god, and maybe god will reward me one day for everything i endured, but if there really is no god, then i guess i will just live happy with my husband knowing that i was a better person. and for the record, i listen to all types of music including some of marilyn manson, slipknot, korn, etc. i like the beats to the music but i do not believe the music made them do it. i do however believe music goes to your mood. i love to sing so when i am happy i will listen to pop, hip hop… when i am feeling life i play country, when i need uplifting i play christian music, when i am feeling down its staind, but when i am mad and feeling angry i will play rock. but rock is also something i listen to when hanging out with my bro and we don’t have to be angry we just act like we can play the drums…. favorite band of all time is guns-n-roses. music is just music, it may say bad things in it but it really comes down to the person to make the decision. Just like the movies, if you go watch a horror film that doesnt mean every “chester” is going to turn out to be freddy krueger, babysitting will not get you killed by jason. all i am saying is there are a lot of kids killing themselves due to bullying, luckily its not the whole school, but that is a life that a good friend in school or even the help of teachers can save. nowadays the bullies are the hot, rich, jocks, “good students” of the schools so teachers are favoring them cause of their money or parent influence. so the bullies are getting away with things that lead normal kids into depression or even making them snap. at least that’s how it was in my school and apparently at that irish girls school who just hung hersekf in march. adults today need to find a better way to knowledge these kids that bullying is not right and could lead to drastic measures if not solved.

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