Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Printed out and read at lunch -- sometimes aloud -- Dave Cullen's superb article in Slate on the Columbine killers. The basic story: Harris was the psychopath, Klebold was the willing bitch, and neither were quite the pair of outcast losers they've since been portrayed as (such as in van Sant's recent film, which I rather liked.) Harris's hate-filled journal shows a young man "disgusted with the morons around him. These are not the rantings of an angry young man, picked on by jocks until he's not going to take it anymore. These are the rantings of someone with a messianic-grade superiority complex, out to punish the entire human race for its appalling inferiority." [Italics theirs.]

The two would have viewed the day's events as a failure; they had been planning, for over a year, for carnage on a massive scale.

"The killers, in fact, laughed at petty school shooters. They bragged about dwarfing the carnage of the Oklahoma City bombing and originally scheduled their bloody performance for its anniversary. Klebold boasted on video about inflicting "the most deaths in U.S. history." Columbine was intended not primarily as a shooting at all, but as a bombing on a massive scale. If they hadn't been so bad at wiring the timers, the propane bombs they set in the cafeteria would have wiped out 600 people. After those bombs went off, they planned to gun down fleeing survivors. An explosive third act would follow, when their cars, packed with still more bombs, would rip through still more crowds, presumably of survivors, rescue workers, and reporters. The climax would be captured on live television. It wasn't just "fame" they were after—[FBI Supervisory Special Agent Dwayne Fuselier] bristles at that trivializing term—they were gunning for devastating infamy on the historical scale of an Attila the Hun. Their vision was to create a nightmare so devastating and apocalyptic that the entire world would shudder at their power."

Hard as it is to imagine a greatesr tragedy, maybe it could have been:

"Harris was not a wayward boy who could have been rescued. Harris, they believe, was irretrievable. He was a brilliant killer without a conscience, searching for the most diabolical scheme imaginable. If he had lived to adulthood and developed his murderous skills for many more years, there is no telling what he could have done. His death at Columbine may have stopped him from doing something even worse."

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