The Columbine Influence: How a School Shooting Affected a Nation Essay

The Columbine Influence: How a School Shooting Affected a Nation Essay

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The Columbine massacre was one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. On April 20, 1999, high school seniors Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot and killed 12 students, one teacher, and themselves. Twenty-five students were also injured, some very critically. While there had been many school shootings in America prior to this, the young age of the shooters, the number of victims, and the randomness of the people they killed shocked the nation. It has been 14 years since this tragedy and even now the word Columbine is synonymous with school shootings. The subsequent days, months, and years since this attack have proven that the Columbine massacre has influenced the United States in many areas of our everyday lives including school policies, anti-bullying programs, gun laws, and even popular culture.

Thought to have been planned around a year in advance, Harris and Klebold intended to blow up Columbine High School and harm as many people as possible. Before arriving at the school, the shooters left two backpacks full of explosives in a field about three miles away from the school. The subsequent explosion was meant to serve as a distraction to police as the events at Columbine unfolded. Once at the school, Harris and Klebold planted propane bombs in the cafeteria and waited in their cars. It is unclear how the bombs were planted without notice. The shooters also set timed car bombs in each of their vehicles and, once they realized the bombs inside the school were not exploding as planned, took their guns and walked to the top of a hill on the school’s campus. Though discovered by police and diffused in the evening, the car bombs were supposed to injure first responders and people that survived the initial bombing.


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... Browse Books, “An Interview with Jodi Picoult,” Web, undated, (accessed January 25, 2013).
Gus Van Sant et al., Elephant (New York: HBO Video, 2003); Roger Ebert, “Elephant,” Chicago-Sun Times, 2003.

Ben Coccio et al., Zero Day (Chicago, IL: Home Vision Entertainment, 2005); Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Columbine Documents JC-001-025923 Through JC-001-026589 (Golden, Colorado, July 2006), JC-001-026343.

Ben Coccio et al., Zero Day (Chicago, IL: Home Vision Entertainment, 2005); Peggy Lowe and Andrew Guy Jr., “Memorial Crosses Taken Down,” Denver Post, May 3, 1999.
“’School Shooter Game Lambasted,” The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 14, 2011.
“Game Deepens Dad’s Grief,” Albany Times Union, May 18, 2006; “Defending ‘Columbine,’” Newsweek, January 22, 2007.

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