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The Columbine High school massacre
The Columbine High School massacre occurred on Tuesday, April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Columbine, an unincorporated area of Jefferson County, Colorado, United States, near Denver and Littleton. Two senior students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, embarked on a massacre, killing 12 students and one teacher and injuring 24.The pair then committed suicide. It was the deadliest massacre throughout U.S history taking place at a high school. This research paper tries giving answers to the Who, Why and When questions as well as it is dealing with public reactions and the relation to the gun laws of the United States.
1. United States Gun laws
1.1 Federal law regarding purchase and use of guns
Provided that federal law and the laws of both the dealer’s and purchaser’s states and localities are complied with: An individual 21 years of age or older may acquire a handgun from a dealer federally licensed to sell firearms in the individual’s state of residence. An individual 18 years of age or older may purchase a rifle or shotgun from a federally licensed dealer in any state. However, the applicant may not purchase a pistol gripped long gun that does not have a shoulder stock until he or she is 21 years of age. It shall be unlawful for any licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to sell, deliver, or transfer a firearm unless the federal firearms licensee receives notice of approval from a prescribed source approving the transfer. Sale of a firearm by a federally licensed dealer must be documented by a federal form, which identifies and includes other information about the purchaser, and records the make, model, and serial number of the firearm.
Sales to an individual of multiple handguns within a five-day period require dealer notification to the ATF. Violations of dealer record keeping requirements are punishable by a penalty of up to $1000 and one year’s imprisonment. An individual holding a Federal Firearms License may directly purchase firearms that are 50 or more years old from anyone. There is no Federal law generally prohibiting the carry of firearms by citizens for protection or other lawful purposes, with limited exception in the Federal Gun Free School Zones Act of 1995. Other statutes concerning Federal property such as military installations also address the carry of firearms. By tradition and as defined in the Constitution, laws describing the bearing of arms are exclusively the business of state legislatures. The carry of firearms for protection and other lawful purposes is legal in forty-nine states, either under license or as a matter of course. Illinois is the only state that both prohibits carry by statute, and does not issue a license exempting one from the statute. Carry of firearms without any licensing requirements is legal in thirty-one states.
1.2 The Second Amendment (Amendment II) to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It has been among the most controversial issues in American politics.
1.3 Colorado state policy
State Permit to Purchase?
“Assault weapon” law?
Owner license required?
Concealed Carry permits issued?
Open carry without a permit?
Technically legal in most areas unless local laws exist (City of Denver), in which case signs must be posted.
May be interpreted as disturbing the peace by law enforcement.
Concealed within a vehicle?
**Loaded without a round chambered only
(applies to rifles/shotguns, not pistols).
State Preemption of local restrictions?
*Open carry and open car carry of a loaded firearm is prohibited in city and county of Denver, otherwise, local ordinances are preempted by state law NFA* weapons restricted?
*National Firearms Act
Peaceable Journey laws?
Denver’s restrictions on transport/possession of firearms in vehicles do not apply to persons travelling to or from other jurisdictions;
A legal resident of a property has the right to defend himself, other occupants, and property using deadly force
from intruders, whether they are armed or not.
“Make My Day” Law?
A person may defend himself or others with deadly force if necessary.
2. The Columbine high school massacre
2.1 Eric Harris
Eric Harris was born on April 9th 1981 in Wichita, Kansas. His father, an Airforce pilot and his mother, a homemaker moved to Littleton, Colorado in 1993. Their son was believed to be ” a normal guy “. He was supposedly a member of the so-called “Trenchcoat Mafia”, a group of students dressed in black trenchcoats, though he and Dylan Klebold never appeared in group photos. Eric often wrote in his diary about being bullied, although fellow students stated he hardly ever was. The last sentence ever written into his journals proves it differently. “I hate you people for leaving me out of so much fun (…….) don’t let the weird looking Eric kid come along…” and “If people would give me more compliments all of this might still be avoidable… but probably not. Whatever I do people make fun of me, and sometimes directly to my face. I’ll get revenge soon enough. fuckers shouldn’t have ripped on me so much.” After having read his diaries, I am certain that Eric was a very intelligent young man. He had deep troubles with the world and his way of thinking is certainly very critical, though he has encountered positions that I can absolutely relate to.
Eric is very controversial and paradox in his writing. F.e on the one hand, he judges racism, saying “Anyone who belives that blacks, asians, mexicans, or people from any other country or race besides white-american….people who think that should be drug out into the street, have their arms ripped off, be burnt at the stumps, then have every person of the race that YOU hate come out and beat the shit out of you.” in one of his web journals, though he also states that “Black people are different.. we should ship their black asses back to Afrifuckingca where they came from”.
Eric Harris viewed himself as brighter and more insightful than virtually everyone else. He looked down on the masses of humanity as unthinking conformists. He celebrated instincts over society’s conventions. He rejected traditional values as meaningless concepts. He believed he was going to start natural selection and eliminate inferior beings. He created an ideology that in his mind justified his desire for destruction. Most people believe these ideas to find their origin in Manson’s, Nietzsche’s and Hitler’s writing, as Eric writes: “I love the Nazis. I can’t get enough of the swastika, the SS and the iron cross. Hitler and his head boys fucked up a few times and it cost them the war, but I love their beliefs and who they were, what they did, and what they wanted.” Harris is fascinated by the German language, often using german words and fragments of sentences in his journals. He also lists the videogame “Doom” as one of the most important things in his life, quoting and posting horrifying pictures out of it on his website.
Preliminary to the shooting, Harris was in treatment for depression, anger and suicidal thoughts. He was prescribed anti-depressants. Months, even years before the massacre Harris started writing journals about his intents, thoughts about society and his everyday life. He had spent most of his time with Dylan Klebold, his best friend even years before the shooting. He is nowadays said to be the “head” behind the shooting.
Dylan Klebold was born on September 11th 1981 to Thomas Klebold, a geophysicist and Sue Klebold, who worked with handicapped people. Dylan was said to be “painfully shy”, and “not quick to anger”, a follower of Harris in the scenario. The first page of Dylan Klebold’s 1997 journal begins with a preface he wrote: “Fact: People are so unaware… well, Ignorance is bliss I guess… that would explain my depression.” The grim words set the tone for the rest of the personal diary. Reading his journal and the things he wrote for school allow to get an inside look at what the shooter’s mindset was like in the weeks and years before the massacre at Columbine.
A few illustrations of Dylan’s ideas follow the title page; the first dated and written entry was written on b 31, 1997. Dylan describes not fitting in, being depressed and generally hating his life and existence. In another entry later that year he wrote, “I swear — like I’m an outcast, & everyone is conspiring against me…” In November of 1997, he penned out a fantasy about getting a gun and going on a killing spree. Most of his entries had less to do with wanting to hurt people, apart from himself, and more to do with not understanding why the world – and his peers – refused to give him the attention and affection he so badly craved. He seemed to hold himself largely at fault for it at times then at other times seems to blame society for not being on his level of intelligence in order to find common ground with him. Dylan’s journals are clearly not as angry and rebellious as those of Harris, his entries tend often towards depression, romantic prose and self-loathing. He writes love letters to the girl of his dreams and describes himself as “a god of sadness”, he draws pictures of hearts and stars instead of swastikas.
After having read his journals shortly after his death his mother Susan publishes an essay saying “Once I saw his journals, it was clear to me that Dylan entered the school that day with the intention of dying there.”
Preliminary Activities and intent
Eric and Dylan
Early warning signs began to surface back in 1996, when Eric Harris created a website on America Online. He began to blog jokes, journal entries concerning his thoughts, wrote about how to cause mischief, how to make explosives and talks about the trouble he and Klebold were causing. Blog postings began to show first signs of Harris anger towards society.
The parents of a fellow student, Brooks Brown had filled complaints about Eric because he was posting death threats towards Brooks. They already believed him to be dangerous. The Jefferson County Sherrif’s Office put the case aside, never filing a draft affidavit for a search warrant of the Harris’ house. 1997, Eric and Dylan were both employed at Blackjack Pizza, a place where they would later purchase one of the guns used during the shootings from Mark Manes. Robyn Anderson, a close friend of Dylan’s, purchased two shotguns and the rifle which she then gave the teens who would later become the Columbine High shooters.
With the weapons purchased, Eric and Dylan made a video at Rampart Range with friends of theirs. They practiced firing the sawed off shotguns, using bowling pins and pine trees as targets. In 1998, Eric and Dylan were caught stealing from a parked van near Littleton, Colorado. Both were arrested and pleaded guilty for theft. The judge sentenced them to take classes on anger management. Eric and Dylan continued planning “the big day”. They wrote pages over pages on whom they wanted to kill, where, when, what they were going to wear when doing it etc. It seems now, as if they weren’t planning to kill a couple students, but thousands. They often compared their plans to the Oklahoma bombing, talking about blowing up all areas surrounding Denver, CO. The pair also kept videos, that were used mainly as documentation of explosives, ammunition and weapons they had acquired illigally.
On April 20, approximately thirty minutes before the attack, a final video had the pair saying goodbye to their friends and families. In the months prior to the attacks, Harris and Klebold acquired two 9 mm firearms and two 12-gauge shotguns. A rifle and the two shotguns were bought by Robyn Anderson (mentioned above). They later bought a handgun from another friend. With instructions from the internet, they built 99 improvised explosive devices of various sizes and designs, that were later to be considered “built so no where near being set to actually go off”. Based on information from their home videos and journals however, they did intend to blow the school up and then gun down any survivors who were able to escape. Much speculation occured over the date chosen for their attack. While some think they chose the date because it was Adolf Hitler’s birthday, it was speculated that the original intended date of the attack may have been April 19, the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing
The massacre timetable is important in order to understand what happened because many speculations have been made on it. There are some sources that reject this version of the facts, but I chose to rely on it since it was well documented and detailed. Many sources have been collected from 911 tapes from the Jefferson county Sheriff’s Office and dispatch tapes from the Littleton Fire Department. I thought it was important to summarize the chronology of the facts from a rather objective source instead of relying only on media and documentaries.
11.10 a.m. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold get to the school in separated cars and park them respectively in junior and senior parking lot. Before they got inside the school Eric advised a guy to get away from the school. Between
11.14 a. m. and 11.22 a. m. Harris and Klebold get into the cafeteria of the school carrying two duffel bags containing propane bombs and placed them beside the tables. The bombs were set to blow up at 11.17 in the same room where over 500 students would gather to eat lunch.
11.17- Harris and Klebold walk back to the parking lot to wait for the bombs to explode. They have placed bombs in their cars to be set off right after the cafeteria one would explode. Their plan was to shoot students running out of the cafeteria after the explosions.
11.19- Jefferson County Dispatch Center receives the first 911 call from a citizen reporting an explosion in a field on the east side of Wadsworth Boulevard between Ken Caryl and Chatfield Avenues. The explosion is actually a timed diversionary device.
11.19-11.23 – Since the bombs did not explode Harris and Klebold run toward the West entrance shooting randomly to several people outside the school. Several are wounded and three are killed.
11.24 – The gunmen shoot inside the West entrance injuring a teacher and a student; teachers realize the danger and they direct the students to get down or to run to the safety exits.
11.26- Harris and Klebold are walking east down the North hallway as they keep firing with the shotguns.
11.27- Harris and Klebold walk up and down the library hallway shooting randomly and throwing pipe bombs in the library hallway. Two of those lands in the cafeteria and explodes there.
11.29-11.36 – The gunmen walk into the library and in 7 ½ minutes, 10 people are killed and 12 more wounded. There are a total of 56 people in the library; 34 escape injury.
11.36-11.44 – The shooters leave the library and go towards the science area; they pass through the classrooms with no attempt to get in although they could; they shoot into empty classrooms.
11.45- Back to the cafeteria Harris and Dylan attempt to make the bombs working throwing objects at them.
11.46- Harris and Klebold are in the cafeteria for 2 ½ minutes, when they leave, a partial detonation of a bomb causes a fire. (The explosion and fire are both recorded by the cafeteria videotape).
11.51- The 911 call made by Patti Nielson from the library is terminated by the dispatch center since no more activity could be heard on the line.
11.52-11.55 – SWAT are authorized to go into the school; shots heard in the east side of the building; shots fired at the northeast side. One of the shooters is identified.
11.56-11.59- Suspects wander around randomly and get into the cafeteria again.
12.00- Harris and Klebold leave the cafeteria and reach the library.
12.05-12.08- Gun fires erupt from the library second floor towards the police, law enforcement and paramedics. Shortly after the gunshots Harris and Klebold commit suicide in the library. Injuries and deaths in initial incident
1. Rachel Scott, age 17, killed by shots to the head, torso, and leg
2. Richard Castaldo, age 17, shot in the arm, chest, back and abdomen
3. Daniel Rohrbough, age 15, killed by a shot to the chest.
4. Sean Graves, age 15, shot in the back, foot and abdomen.
5. Lance Kirklin, age 16, shot with wounds to the leg, neck and jaw.
6. Michael Johnson, age 15, escaped with wounds to his face, arm and leg.
7. Mark Taylor, age 16, shot in the chest, arms and leg.
8. Anne-Marie Hochhalter, age 17, shot in the chest, arm, abdomen, back, and left leg.
9. Brian Anderson, age 16, injured by flying glass.
10. Patti Nielson, age 35, hit in the shoulder by shrapnel.
11. Stephanie Munson, age 16, shot in the ankle.
12. Dave Sanders, age 47, died of blood loss after being shot in the neck and back.
Injuries and deaths in the library
13. Evan Todd, age 15, sustained minor injuries from the splintering of a desk he was hiding under.
14. Kyle Velasquez, age 16, killed by gunshot wounds to the head and back.
15. Patrick Ireland, age 17, shot in the arm, leg, head, and foot.
16. Daniel Steepleton, age, 17, shot in the thigh.
17. Makai Hall, age 18, shot in the knee.
18. Steven Curnow, age 14, killed by a shot to the neck.
19. Kacey Ruegsegger, age 17, shot in the hand, arm and shoulder.
20. Cassie Bernall, age 17, killed by a shot to the head.
21. Isaiah Shoels, age 18, killed by a shot to the chest.
22. Matthew Kechter, age 16, killed by a shot to the chest.
23. Lisa Kreutz, age 18, shot in the shoulder, hand and arms and thigh.
24. Valeen Schnurr, age 18, injured with wounds to the chest, arms and abdomen.
25. Mark Kintgen, age 17, shot in the head and shoulder.
26. Lauren Townsend, age 18, killed by multiple gunshot wounds to the head, chest and lower body.
27. Nicole Nowlen, age 16, shot in the abdomen.
28. John Tomlin, age 16, killed by multiple shots to the head and neck.
29. Kelly Fleming, age 16, killed by a shot to the back.
30. Jeanna Park, age 18, shot in the knee, shoulder and foot.
31. Daniel Mauser, age 15, killed by a shot to the face.
32. Jennifer Doyle, age 17, shot in the hand, leg and shoulder.
33. Austin Eubanks, age 17, shot in the head and knee.
34. Corey DePooter, age 17, killed by shots to the chest and neck.
Deaths of the shooters
35. Eric Harris, age 18, committed suicide by a single shot in the mouth.
36. Dylan Klebold, age 17, committed suicide by a single shot to the head.
2.4 Immediate Aftermath
On April 21, bomb squads combed the high school. At 10:00 a.m., the bomb squad declared the building safe for officials to enter. By 11:30 a.m., a spokesman of the sheriff declared the investigation under way. Thirteen of the bodies were still inside the high school as investigators photographed the building.
At 2:30 p.m., a press conference was held by Jefferson County District Attorney David Thomas and Sheriff John Stone, saying that they suspected others had helped plan the shooting. Formal identifications of the dead had not yet taken place, but families of the children thought to have been killed had already been notified. Throughout the late afternoon and early evening, the rest of the bodies were gradually removed from the school and taken to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office to be identified and autopsied. By 5:00 p.m., the names of many of the dead were known. An official statement was also released stating that there were 15 confirmed deaths and 27 injuries related to the massacre.
On April 30, high-ranking officials of Jefferson County and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office met to decide if they should reveal that Michael Guerra, a Sheriff’s Office detective, had drafted an affidavit for a search warrant of Harris’s residence a year before the shootings, based on his previous investigation of Harris’s website and activities. They decided not to disclose this information at a press conference held on April 30, nor did they mention it in any other way.
2.5 Search for a rationale
While there are people saying Eric and Dylan were bullied, there is no direct evidence proving this statement, except for journal entries. There are many who blame the media, their upbringing, the videogames, the music or the school for the tragedy. Certainly, no one is ever going to know for sure why the Columbine massacre even took place, except for the two shooters, who took their own lives. In my opinion, I do think that Eric and Dylan felt alone, bullied, left out and misunderstood. Dylan clearly struggled with his low self-esteem and depression while Eric had severe issues with anger. School shootings are not unprecedented. What set Eric and Dylan apart is their toxic friendship, how far in advance they had planned it and also, how many more lives they initially wanted to take.
3. Public responses and Impact
Secret Service report on school shootings
A U.S. Secret Service study concluded that schools were taking false hope in physical security, when they should be paying more attention to the pre-attack behaviors of students. Zero-tolerance policies and metal detectors “are unlikely to be helpful,” the Secret Service researchers found. The researchers focused on questions concerning the reliance on SWAT teams when most attacks are over before police arrive, profiling of students who show warning signs in the absence of a definitive profile, expulsion of students for minor infractions when expulsion is the spark that push some to return to school with a gun, buying software not based on school shooting studies to evaluate threats although killers rarely make direct threats, and reliance on metal detectors and police officers in schools when the shooters often make no effort to conceal their weapons.
In May 2002, the Secret Service published a report that examined 37 U.S. school shootings. They had the following findings: Incidents of targeted violence at school rarely were sudden, impulsive acts. Prior to most incidents, other people knew about the attacker’s idea and/or plan to attack. Most attackers did not threaten their targets directly prior to advancing the attack. There is no accurate or useful profile of students who engaged in targeted school violence. Most attackers engaged in some behavior prior to the incident that caused others concern or indicated a need for help. Most attackers had difficulty coping with significant losses or personal failures. Moreover, many had considered or attempted suicide. Many attackers felt bullied, persecuted or injured by others prior to the attack. Most attackers had access to and had used weapons prior to the attack. In many cases, other students were involved in some capacity. Despite prompt law enforcement responses, most shooting incidents were stopped by means other than law enforcement intervention.
Following the Columbine shooting, schools across the United States instituted new security measures such as see-through backpacks, metal detectors, and security guards; hence the phrase “the Columbine effects”. Some schools implemented school door numbering to improve public safety response. Several schools throughout the country resorted to requiring students to wear computer-generated IDs. At the same time, police departments reassessed their tactics and train for Columbine-like situations after criticism over the slow response and progress of the SWAT teams during the shooting.
In response to concerns over the causes of Columbine and other school massacres, some schools instituted new anti-bullying policies as well as zero tolerance approaches to weapons and threatening behavior.Despite the nature of the Columbine incident, some social science experts feel the zero tolerance in schools has gone overboard.
One significant change to police tactics following Columbine is the introduction of the Immediate Action Rapid Deployment tactic, used in situations with an active shooter. Police followed the traditional tactic at Columbine: surround the building, set up a perimeter, contain the damage. That approach has been replaced by a tactic which takes into account the presence of an active shooter whose interest is to kill, not to take hostages. This tactic calls for a four-person team to advance into the site of any ongoing shooting, optimally a diamond-shaped wedge, but even with just a single officer if more are not available. Police officers using this tactic are trained to move toward the sound of gunfire and neutralize the shooter as quickly as possible.Their goal is to stop the shooter at all costs, and they are to walk past wounded victims, as the aim is to prevent the shooter from killing or wounding more. David Cullen, author of the 2009 book Columbine, said that, “The active protocol has proved successful at numerous shootings during the past decade. At Virginia Tech alone, it probably saved dozens of lives.”
The shooting resulted in calls for more gun control measures. In 2000, federal and state legislations were introduced that would require safety locks on firearms as well as ban the importation of high-capacity ammunition magazines. Though laws were passed that made it a crime to buy guns for criminals and minors, there was considerable controversy over legislation pertaining to background checks at gun shows. There was concern amongst the gun lobby over further restrictions on Second Amendment rights in the U.S. And in 2001, K-Mart, which had sold the bullets to the shooters, announced it would no longer sell handgun ammunition—that story was documented in Michael Moore’s film “Bowling for Columbine.” (see below)
In 2000 youth advocate Melissa Helmbrecht organized a remembrance event in Denver featuring two surviving students called the “Day of Hope.” A permanent memorial “to honor and remember the victims of the April 20, 1999 shootings at Columbine High School” was dedicated on September 21, 2007 in Clement Park, the adjacent meadow where memorials were held in the days following the shooting. The memorial fund raised $1.5 million in donations and eight years of planning.
Becoming part of the vernacular
Since the shooting, “Columbine” or “the Columbine incident” has become a euphemism for a school shooting. Charles Andrew Williams, the Santana High School shooter, reportedly told his friends that he was going to “pull a Columbine”, though none of them took him seriously. Many foiled school shooting plots mentioned Columbine and the desire to “outdo Harris and Klebold”. Seung-Hui Cho, the shooter in the Virginia Tech massacre, mentioned “martyrs like Eric and Dylan” apparently referring to Columbine High School gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
Bowling for Columbine
“In an era of raging patriotism and pro-Bush sentiment, he stands as living proof that there is a mass audience for dissent in America.”
“Bowling for Columbine”, winner of the Cannes festival, is ranked first in the top 20 all-time best non-fiction movies by the International Documentaries Association (IDA); and it received several other recognitions and awards by critics . This documentary is about the violent history of gun ownership in the USA and tries to explain the causes of a tragedy such as the one in Columbine High School. It seeks the real reason for the USA to be the emblem of school shootings and murder’s highest ratings in the world . It gives an insight into the Columbine massacre’s sequence of events and goes deeper, analyzing the possible causes of this tragedy through interviews with representatives of organizations such as NRA, Columbine high school’s staff and normal citizens.
In fact, Michael Moore’s argument explains how the local violence -as Columbine tragedy- is reflected in the global situation. “Bowling for Columbine” is witty and diverse in its sources and represents the American culture under its most controversial aspect about the gun policy and describes the culture of fear carried out especially by the media. “The American people are conditioned by their TV network, by local news until they believe that their community is more dangerous than it actually is” .
The public is influenced by the media and especially after such a tragedy it is easy to create tension among the people. In fact, the situation was presented with an alarmist attitude that led to drastic reactions, as in the systematic control of students with metal detectors and the repression of any independent thought that might be a source of danger. Bowling for Columbine represents the hope to find a reason why “the American pursuit of happiness is so riddled with violence” (United Artists) . Thus, one of the ways the documentary explores this is to research deeply into the American culture to discover the influences that led such young people to take such extreme actions facing their problems and frustrations.
The very beginning of the movie already plunges into one of the most controversial issues in the USA, the rather questionable weapon ownership policy, as stated in the second amendment -so in the very foundation of the country. The first scene pictures Michael Moore himself going to the bank to open the specific bank account through which he will get a free gun. This first scene contains, in a nutshell, the symbol of a controversial measure to defend the individual from dangers; in fact the possibility of bearing arms could be the first cause for young people to approach them more easily. In fact in 5 States there is no minimum legal age to posses a gun and in 31 States buying a gun does not require any type of license or registration. This represents a society trying to pursue a solution through the cause of the problem. Such a beginning is intended to be straightforward and ironic to attract the audience to the core of the documentary.
Michael Moore focuses his attention on the topic which titles the movie: the Columbine shooting. Littleton is not only the city where Eric Harris spent his childhood, but moreover the location where the world’s largest weapon maker –Lockheed Martin is placed. Michael Moore discusses with the Lockheed Martin’s public relations about the Columbine Massacre. During the conversation Evan Mccollum- Lockheed Martin’s public relations- says clearly “You could say that what happened in Columbine is a microcosm of what happens throughout the world” . In fact, this aspect has not been considered by the media, although the involvement of the US in many wars can be an influence on the population, since the news are then broadcasted on television. The omnipresence of the United States in many global conflicts can be transferred on a more local point of view when we think about the fear of terrorism and its consequences on the population.
Here I’m referring to the second amendment again, that gives the opportunity for everybody to bear arms to defend themselves although this can only lead to an increase of homicides and criminality . Throughout the movie it is possible to perceive the sense of responsibility that Americans feel towards their families. The documentary keeps referring back to the necessity of facing violence with violence as reported by the reaction to the Columbine massacre.
According to Michael Moore this radical outcome of the Columbine shooting is instigated by the media throughout which, alarming news were increasingly transmitted; panic was conveyed by television news although the causes of this carnage were still to be sorted out. Bowling for Columbine does not pursue the truth but it proposes many hints for a deeper insight into what happened. I think that “Bowling for Columbine” had a great impact on the audience and managed to represent the American culture through American eyes, though after the movie was released, two of the Columbine Injured who were featured in the movie stated that Michael Moore was just “using them” for his own purposes and under false pretends.
Michael Moore’s documentary reflects the need of a deeper explanation for the Columbine massacre and reflects the will of an audience that is not anymore relying solely on the television news as a source of information. “Bowling for Columbine” presents the archaic culture of gun ownership, accusing the second amendment of being the main reason for tragedies such as this massacre. Michael Moore’s movie is a deep insight into the American culture to provoke the same society that is seeking the answer to the problem. The audience responded mostly positive to this attempt and thus, can be considered a constructive way to convey the information, since the documentary openly declares its socio-political orientation. In fact, this allows the audience to have a key to decode the movie since the beginning: Michael Moore shows the absurdity of some aspects of the American culture.
http://www.bredel.homepage.t-online.de/Buch/Columbine-English/columbine-english.html CNN.com (2000). “Official Columbine Shooting Report.” May 16, 2000 Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (ed.) (July 2006). Columbine Documents. JC-001-025923 through JC-001-026859. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-04-13-columbine-myths_N.htm www.acolumbinesite.com :
Dylan Klebold Main Page
Eric Harris Main Page
Weapons & Gear
The Victims: Injured
The Victims: The Dearly Departed
The Event: Who, What, When, Where, Why?
Influences on the Ideology of Eric Harris
Bowling for Columbine, Documentary, 2002
Elephant, Movie, 2003
The Super Columbine Massacre RPG – Game
Columbine Shooting: The Final Report