After Aurora, Lessons from Columbine

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Kevin Moloney / Getty Images

Columbine high school shooters Eric Harris (L) and Dylan Klebold appear on a surveillance tape in the cafeteria at Columbine High School April 20, 1999 in Littleton, CO during their shooting spree which killed 13 people.

Thirteen years ago, I was part of the team of Dateline NBC reporters who covered the 1999 Columbine shootings not far from Aurora, Colorado, where today’s horrific shooting occurred.

At the time, much was made of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold taking inspiration from The Matrix, donning long dark coats for the shooting. And I’m sure much will be made of the fact that the alleged Aurora shooter, identified by police as 24-year-old James Holmes, wore a mask and selected a screening of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises to execute his bloody rampage. As the movie’s star told Entertainment Weekly about playing Bruce Wayne and his alter ego Batman: “It was a man playing multiple parts, and a man who dressed up as a monster for a reason, because he feels monstrous, and so he must become a monster in those moments.”

One consequence of the Columbine shooting was a national conversation about violence in movies and video games that changed nothing in Hollywood. And, to be fair, having see The Dark Knight Rises at a Time Warner screening earlier this week, Nolan does not use violence in his movie gratuitously. His message is one of economic disparity and of desperate people driven to desperate acts.

Another result of Columbine was a debate about gun control, climaxing with Michael Moore’s documentary, Bowling for Columbine. But, again, though Colorado and a handful of other states changed some gun laws in the tragedy’s aftermath, national lawmakers did little. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already called on President Obama and Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney to lead the country in a  discussion about gun control, which Bloomberg has long advocated. But, as the Washington Post’s Chris Cilizza was quick to note, Congress is unlikely to overhaul the nation’s firearms laws.

The most significant policy change in the fallout from Columbine was the installation of metal detectors in many schools across the nation. Certainly, Colorado’s legislature took long strides to beef up school security in the wake of that shooting. Mayor Bloomberg has announced that all Dark Knight Rises screenings in his city will have security, in case someone tries to emulate the attack. Will the consequence of these killings be a metal detector in every theater in America? Unlike Israel, where police cordone off most large gatherings, the U.S. has historically resisted such restrictive security measures. If the Aurora shooting changes that, Holmes, like Harris and Klebold, will have accomplished something Islamist jihadists have not since 9/11: changed the way we live and how we think about our freedoms.

137 comments
Joseph Gibbs
Joseph Gibbs

I know I would feel alot safer with metal detectors everywhere. Maybe inconvenient but better then being dead!

Guest
Guest

False Flag Attach, Again

Richard_im_Himmel_bei_Gott
Richard_im_Himmel_bei_Gott

 The problem with sociopaths/psychopaths is

that they look just like you. They act just like you. They think and

speak just like you. Thats how they succeed: by making you think they

are just like you. So you don't notice them as separate and apart, but

notice them as someone who is worthy of trust and friendship. It is

nearly impossible to detect such personalities, which, by the time they

are 20, are almost incurably and permanently infected with their

disorder. It does not yield to treatment. Often not even to drug

therapy.  How do you identify a sociopath? By listening to him.

Sociopaths are notorious liars. They build a facade of acceptability,

and sometimes charm, by lying about themselves, their lives, their

jobs, their education, etc. etc. etc. And sooner or later, they are

inconsistent in their lies. Picking up on those lies is the first major

indicator. The second is erratic/abusive behavior toward those they

"love". The third is dangerous behavior towards those people, and

towards animals.  And when you observe these things, what do you

do? You notify the police. They will do nothing -- they can't until

the sociopath does something illegal -- but they will make note of your

comments and observations, and they will be filed...and eyes will be

watching. Its not much, but there isn't much to do -- until a disaster

strikes. That is the nature of the problem. And it is a real mental

illness, having little if anything to do with upbringing, genetics,

childhood abuse, etc.

paulejb
paulejb

Pnnto,

"The silly scare mongering and Fake Joe Fake Plumber aside it was a good listen. Thanks." 

-----------------------------------

Glad you enjoyed it, not so glad that you maintain the same disdain for the Constitution that Barack Obama does.

All that stands between Americans and the liberal totalitarian impulse is the Constitution which Barack Obama is intent on tearing up one page at a time.

http://www.theblaze.com/wp-con...

Pnnto
Pnnto

That you co-mingle the ACLU and anti-Constition sentiments makes me laugh. 

Thanks for that.

Richard_im_Himmel_bei_Gott
Richard_im_Himmel_bei_Gott

The problem, of course, is not whether the Second Amendment should be repealed.  The problem is the word "arms" associated with membership in "a well-ordered militia." 

First, we no longer have militias that expect/need their members to provide their own arms.  In that respect, at least, our militias are "better-ordered" than those of James Madison.

But the word "arms"....  In Madison's time, "arms" pretty much meant swords, and/or cannons and/or muskets.  Today "arms" means handguns, assault rifles, bazookas, grenades, surface-to-air missles -- even stealth bombers.

Are we to allow private citizens to own any "arms", especially when they are not now tied to constitutionally-required membership in a militia?

Clearly it is time to rewrite the Second Amendment.

Richard_im_Himmel_bei_Gott
Richard_im_Himmel_bei_Gott

The mega-rich Republithug pastor of the Saddleback mega-Church, mega-fat

Rick Warren, took to Twitter on Friday to express his thought about the

recent shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater. Warren blamed the

shooting on the teaching of evolution in public science classes:  “When

students are taught they are no different from animals, they act like

it.”

He may have a point: certainly the NRA are teaching our children

that, like other predatory animals who kill, sometimes for food and

sometimes for sport, that killing is fun. And our kids are evidently learning that lesson.

Thanks, NRA.  More death and bloodshed that we can lay at your feet.

MrObvious
MrObvious

deleted, wrong place

AfGuyReturns
AfGuyReturns

Doncha just love Disqus? 

I've had the screen refresh and wipe out an entire posting that I had put some minutes into.

Selvar
Selvar

The drug war is wrong because people will just buy drugs illegally, but gun control is good because.....

Richard_im_Himmel_bei_Gott
Richard_im_Himmel_bei_Gott

 These people are dead because the open policy about guns in this

country made it possible for this guy, who was a psycho, to slaughter

people-- WITH GUNS.

Its that simple, and NRA obfuscations won't change that fact.

Thank the NRA for this most recent bloodshed.

This is the PERFECT time to talk about control of guns. Sorry if that is an inconvenient truth for the NRA.

drorbenami
drorbenami

they say that guns don't kill people, people kill people, but I think that is exactly the reason to change the gun laws. the average american in 2012, is not the same type of person as was found in colonial america in 1789.

if a government can force people to get vaccinations, then it can force store owners to stop selling guns....

the president swears an oath to enforce the constitution and the opening lines of the constitution speak of providing domestic tranquility.....since the right to own guns is merely an amendment to the constitution, i believe it can be argued that, in 2012, this amendment is unconstitutional in that it destroys domestic tranquility.... 

Calrissian Foxx Steele
Calrissian Foxx Steele

I remember when Columbine happened. I was just a kid and still to this day I have no belief that movies, music, video games, tv has anything to do with suicides, assassinations, or mass murders. 

One of the men who was accused the most for the cause of Columbine was Marilyn Manson. An underrated intelligent being. Out of all the things he said about those 2 kids, he said he best.

"I would not tell them anything, I would listen."

Dylan Kleibold was not a young kid driven by angry music or violent games.

He was a complete sociopath, manipulative enough to hold a quiet schizophrenic kid in the palm in his hand to make him believe that a school shooting was the right thing to do.

You can read Dylan's personal blogs and journals on the internet and you can see that he was just a beyond angry kid wanting to kill everyone. I do not want to hear the blame game. It's so easy to do and makes people forget that some people are just f*cking insane on their own.

Mike20006
Mike20006

A small minority of  people with paranoia, delusions, schizophrenia, perhaps depression, etc.---drug-treatable, endogenous, mental illness in other words---might gravitate toward dark knight/matrix movies.  The same minuscule subgroup might be tempted to go on a shooting spree.  That doesn't mean that dark knight/matrix movies cause shooting sprees.   Indeed, plenty of people go to such movies without committing mass murder.   So, let's not waste time banning such movies and/or beefing up security for them.

What we can do is ban assault weapons, impose strict waiting periods for buying guns, tighten laws concerning the purchase of these weapons and the ammo that goes into them.   Take a look at www.bulkammo.com

Katie
Katie

paulejb is back carpetbombing the blog with nonsense.

He accuses everyone else of 'exploiting' the deaths but of course he's not doing it himself.

Blind as alwaysBy the way My friend gets more than $2500/Month working few hours on his personal computer , Read his Article =>  dai1ynews.blogspot.com

paulejb
paulejb

MrObvious,

"It's been done and tried."

------------------------------------

Not lately. Now convicted murderers, sentenced to death, enjoy the hospitality of the taxpayer, including cable TV, gym equipment and libraries, for decades while ACLU types waste more of the taxpayers' money trying to preserve their useless lives.

MrObvious
MrObvious

'Lately' is irrelevant. take any timeframe and you'll see the same scenario. Keep on ignoring reality, the data and all the facts. But you are wrong.

paulejb
paulejb

MrObvious,

Your arguments are counter-intuitive. 

Indisputable FACT #1 - An executed murderer never kills again.

Indisputable FACT #2 - An armed citizenry reduces crime.

P.S. This is especially for you, Ob.

"Uber-liberal* George Lucas, thwarted in his plans to build a film studio on his 6,0000 acre ranch in Marin County, announces that he’s selling the whole place to a developer of low-income housing. His liberal neighbors go nuts."

 http://christopherfountain.wor...

Now tell me that I didn't have George Lucas pegged in my article.

MrObvious
MrObvious

paueljb

Again - I gave you the data and the facts. You're wrong.

Your post was long on irrelevant rants. Just deal with the fact that you're wrong and move on. Anything else and you show over and over how ignorant you are.

oldoregonguy
oldoregonguy

oh boy.............pually is giving us more "pualiefacts".  you remind me of a ankle-biting dog trying to mark his territory.

Pnnto
Pnnto

"ACLU types"? I enjoy a parody as much as the next guy but channelling George Herbert Walker Bush is beyond silly. 

paulejb
paulejb

Pnnto,

Yeah, ACLU types. Pointy headed, pencil necked geeks like this one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... 

Pnnto
Pnnto

I actually clicked your link. Dang BHO was smart back then. I wish he was still as forward thinking. Interesting take on the Warren court too. 

The silly scare mongering and Fake Joe Fake Plumber aside it was a good listen. Thanks. 

amandaadams538
amandaadams538

What is the point of keep arguing for years about the negative impact of violent movies, games and easy gun availability when no real action has ever been taken?

In a society that champions freedom and individualism without limit, anything goes. There will be more of such carnage, equally without limit.   (vzc1943, mtd1943)  By the way My friend gets more than $2500/Month  working few hours on his personal computer , Read his Article =>  .......dai1ynews.blogspot.com

Frank_Doghearty
Frank_Doghearty

The Columbine shooting was due to bullying. School bullying can be prevented by adult supervision.

I cannot stand journalists using the word 'we.' Who is 'we,' after all?

f_galton
f_galton

That's a myth, we know now Harris and Klebold were not bullied.

Frank_Doghearty
Frank_Doghearty

Can you be specific about your resources? I would like to read them too.

Frank_Doghearty
Frank_Doghearty

 Just how do we know myth from fact? You seem to know a lot; I have only read all the reporting on it, because I am concerned about my own kids...

Frank_Doghearty
Frank_Doghearty

 Thank you; there is actually a website with the full transcript. The two kids were sadly deranged; they seemed to rebel against conformity and became more necrophiliac than the average American conformist psychopath...

f_galton
f_galton

Read some more recent reporting. Among other things, journalists have been able to view Harris and Klebold's diaries.

Frank_Doghearty
Frank_Doghearty

 There must be still a reason why they went for the jocks first...

f_galton
f_galton

That they targeted the jocks a myth, too.

Frank_Doghearty
Frank_Doghearty

 85% of all US students are bullied at one time. That is NOT a myth.

f_galton
f_galton

Klebold and Harris were not bullied, and their killing spree was not revenge for being bullied.

Squeesheiro
Squeesheiro

Once more the absurdity of a country where health is not a basic right but owning guns is. What do you need guns for? Protecting yourself? From whom? People with... guns?

Rebecca Joshua Rodriguez
Rebecca Joshua Rodriguez

Well some people actually use their guns to go hunting for food cause they like wild meat. And For protection from anyone trying to break into our homes who have intents of rape, torture, and murder. That is why I have guns in my home. So if someone tried that I could protect myself and my infant son. And as far as health care yes it should be a priority. But dont take away our guns.

paulejb
paulejb

Squeesheiro,

"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing."- Adolf Hitler

"One man with a gun can control 100 without one."

Vladimir Lenin

rokinsteve
rokinsteve

OTS, I'm not SteveO.  I do Oldies radio shows on KVMR-FM 89.5.  I've been RoCk amp; RoLL SteVe for over 40 years.

paulejb
paulejb

rokinsteve,

I just asked. Don't get your panties all in a wad. It's just that you and Steve0T are always singing from the same hymnal.

boonteetan
boonteetan

What is the point of keep arguing for years about the negative impact of violent movies, games and easy gun availability when no real action has ever been taken?

In a society that champions freedom and individualism without limit, anything goes. There will be more of such carnage, equally without limit.   (vzc1943, mtd1943)

paulejb
paulejb

boonteetan,

Is the wholesale slaughter in Muslim countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan a result of violent movies?