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20 April 2005

Revisiting Columbine

Today marks the sixth anniversary of the Columbine shootings in Littleton, Colorado. As the dust clears from last month’s Red Lake school shooting, Columbine still remains the most infamous school shooting in US history. And, as Russ Kick notes in Everything You Know Is Wrong, it appears that Columbine will forever remain ingrained in the American psyche as the archetypal school shooting.

But that’s not what intrigues me about Columbine. Nor am I particularly concerned with rehashing the blame game that accompanies each and every school shooting in this country. (Who’s at fault this time? Marilyn Manson? Eminem? Easy access to guns? Bad parents? Schools that turn out drones? Our increasing willingness to dope kids up on Prozac and Ritalin? Violent video games? Bible verses about throwing babies against rocks and bathing in blood?)

What does concern and intrigue me, though, is the version of reality that has been sold to us about Columbine. There is an Official Version of Events in regards to the Columbine Massacre. But that version does not square with some of the evidence. Much like the facts of 9/11, do some digging on your own and you may discover a few things about Columbine that make you damned uncomfortable.

The Official Version of Events is basically as follows: Two bullied students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, planned and executed the attacks by themselves. Some other people bought guns for the two Trenchcoat Mafia members, but these buyers were unaware of the duo’s plans. The two gunmen, dressed in black pants and trenchcoats, began shooting at roughly 11:19 AM. By 12:08 PM, Harris and Klebold were both dead, having committed suicide.

That’s fine. That’s what we’ve all been told to believe by a media that doesn’t bother asking questions once an official story has been decided upon. Unfortunately, the official version does leave a few of those questions hanging in the air. For instance, that story doesn’t quite explain why shots were still being fired in the school three and a half hours after Harris and Klebold lay dead. Nor does it explain why the lead FBI investigator on the case had a son who filmed a trial run of the shooting spree two years before the fact.

But what’s even more intriguing, and disturbing, is that there are dozens of eyewitnesses on the record who report seeing more than two gunmen inside the school that day. In fact, based on these eyewitness accounts, there may have been anywhere from six to eight shooters. These accounts, taken from 11,000 pages of raw Columbine documents, can be read here.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that eyewitness testimony is often shoddy and unreliable. You probably can’t remember what the cashier who sold you coffee this morning looked like. How could you possibly remember details about gun-toting thugs after the trauma of a massacre? Yet, as Kick notes, “(there’s) an amazing amount of congruity among the statements of people who saw other participants in the massacre.” And keep in mind that at least one of these extra gunmen (or in this case bombmen), was seen with both Harris and Klebold.

Anyways, I’m only going to quote a few snippets of these accounts. If you’re interested in reading more, check out the 11,000 pages of documents. Keep in mind that any time a suspect other than Harris or Klebold is mentioned, the student’s name is redacted. (Also keep in mind that whoever did the redaction missed a few times. I won’t name names, but several other Trench Coat Mafia members are fingered as having been on the scene, with guns. You can look for yourself on, for example, p. 5,248-9.)

"Me and my friends were about 100 yards away from the people. There were 3 of them[:] 2 wearing trench coats and one wearing a white shirt. We heard what we thought was a gun & started running. Then we figured that they were fireworks & went back. We saw one of them aim a gun at us and started shooting as us. We got up & saw the kid in the white throw what looked like grenades on the roof." – Chris Wisher (p. 1,262)

"She thought she saw fireworks sparking on the sidewalk, and then saw a guy in a trench coat coming down the hill. Three kids went ‘down’ to the ground, and the guy in the trench coat was standing over two of the downed kids. She stated she knew it was (redacted) in the trench coat, standing over the two kids, because she recognized him…She stated (redacted) had a gun hanging from his neck on some type of strap. The gun was all black and approximately 15-18 inches long. She stated it looked like a machine gun, and there was no Duct Tape on it. She stated that was the only gun she saw him with, and it was in his right hand." – Bijen Monte (interviewed April 30, 1999, by Agent Jerry W. Means and Agent Ricky S. Mundine, Colorado Bureau of Investigation) (1,016-22)

"He was holding the rifle in his right hand(.) He was just pointing and shooting at people at the outside commons area(.) She couldn’t see his left hand. She said that she didn’t notice if he had anything on or about his trench coat.

"Kate said, 'It was (redacted)(.) I’m almost positive of it(.) I remember looking him dead in the eye(.) He was in my debate class for a little big either the end of last semester or the beginning of this one(.)'" – Katelyn Sue Place, (interviewed May 14, 1999, by P.J. Doyle) (p. 750)

"The still photos clearly depict Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris as being the two armed gunmen in the school. One of the photos has the time of 11:46 a.m. This is one minute after Jennifer claims she saw them in the upper level of the school. Eric Harris is shown in the photo wearing a white colored t-shirt. He has a short haircut, dark pants, and is carrying a sawed off shotgun. Jennifer looked at the photos and again I asked her are these the two individuals she saw at the high school. Jennifer positively identified Dylan Klebold, but stated the other suspect she saw was not Eric Harris. She told me that the party she saw was about 25 to 30 years old, had a thick muscular neck and muscular build and that Eric Harris was too scrawny to be the party she observed. I again reiterated with Jennifer that the still photos are of Eric Harris and is the same description she is giving to us. Jennifer told me that she could not positively identify the second gunman as being Eric Harris and believed that the second gunman she saw was somebody other than Eric Harris." – Jennifer Smull (reinterviewed on October 12, 1999, by Larry Erzen) (189-190)

"Ashley identified the shooters as Eric Harris and (redacted). According to Ashley, (redacted) was dressed in a white shirt with a black trench coat over it. She said that (student’s name) was armed with a handgun while Harris was armed with a shotgun. Ashley said that she was not sure about (redacted) identity until her sister Heather showed her a Columbine yearbook and she saw his picture in the book. Ashley is sure the two shooters she observed were Eric Harris and (redacted)." – Ashley Egeland (interviewed April 27, 1999, by Agent Timothy Steffes) (5,248-9).

Comments on "Revisiting Columbine"


Blogger Streak said ... (4/23/2005 10:21:00 AM) : 

Wow, this is really interesting stuff. When I first started reading, I was expecting revision of the Christianese version, you know, the part where the cute high school girls witnessed to the gunmen and were shot down?

Why do you think all of these testimonies were rejected? Do you think that the investigators found enough evidence that contradicted them? Or that it simply, as you put it, went against the official and, while horrible, more palatable version?


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