Judgement Day Essay, Research Paper
April 20 1999
“They’re freaks.” These words, however small, were used to abuse two young men in life, and denounce them in death. After years of inner turmoil and over twelve months of meticulous planning, 17 year old Dylan Klebold and 18 year old Eric Harris unleashed a rampage that would cause over 5 million dollars worth of damage, ruin the lives of countless people, and send the entire nation into a state of shock.
April 20 1999 started out as a normal day at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. The only thing that seemed out of place was a cryptic message displayed at the end of the Columbine video announcements, reading “I bet you wish you weren’t here today-4-20-4-20-4-20”. At the time, students thought nothing of it. Now, the mention of this message will send chills up the spines of students as they picture what this warning foreshadowed.
At 11 AM, Dylan and Eric carried two 20-lb propane tank bombs into their school cafeteria. The plan was to have these explosives go off at 11:17, the start of the first lunch period, and send students fleeing into the parking lot, where Dylan and Eric would be waiting with guns ready. Instead, the explosives did not go off at all. The two gunmen were frustrated that their original plan had failed, and they began to arbitrarily shoot in the cafeteria, killing three.
11:27 AM. Eight minutes had passed since the first shots were fired. Dylan and Eric entered the school library. Students huddled in fear under tables. A teacher called 911 but dropped the phone. The dispatcher listened for the next nine minutes as Dylan and Eric shot round after round. The sound of the gunmen’s laughter could be heard of the steady stream of gunshots. After killing 7 students, Eric and Dylan left the library and returned to the cafeteria. The two young men fired their guns at the bombs, trying to set them off. At 11:57 the boys returned to the library.
Here this tragedy will come to an end. After placing their last bomb on a table, Eric Harris pointed the gun at himself and fired. Seconds later, Fate’s vengeful eye turned on Dylan Klebold as he shot himself in the left temple, his Red Sox hat galling on Harris’ legs. Official time of death: 12:03 PM.
After the deaths of Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, and 13 victims, investigators searched the young men’s rooms. What they found was 5 videos, over 3 hours of video footage, of Eric and Dylan in the basement of the Harris home, speaking as if from the grave about the shootings that had taken place. Struggling to understand why these boys would commit such an act of violence, these tapes were reviewed many times. Dylan Klebold spoke with hostility about years of petty abuse, and how he did not care that he was going to kill these people because he was going to die doing it. Eric, on the other hand, showed a more human side, as opposed to the heartless monster he has been made out to be. He states that he wishes he were a sociopath so that he wouldn’t feel any remorse. He also apologizes to his parents, stating that “this is going to tear then apart.”
Although these videos do not give us a full view and complete answer as to why this tragedy unfolded, it gives more insight. Rumors and insults circled around these two young men’s heads every day of their lives until their vision was blurred with hate and revenge.
And, sadly, due to the self-inflicted deaths of Eric and Dylan, we might never be able to fully comprehend what would drive these two boys to take the lives of 13 innocent victims. It’s hard to imagine a pain so deep and a fury so red that it would initiate the inhuman feelings that two teenage boys lived with for so long. Now, innumerable people are trying to see some sort of reasoning in the minds of two people whose views we will never be able to completely understand: the minds of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.