- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 16, 1999

 Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold hated just about everyone. Blacks, Hispanics, Jews, whites, teachers and counselors, family and friends. All were easy targets in their scheme to create the bloodiest rampage ever in a modern-day public schoolhouse.

 The “natural born killers,” as Time magazine calls them in an exclusive report in its Dec. 20 issue, the boys had, over the course of several weeks, schemed, manipulated, boasted even joked about the rampage planned for April 20 at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. In the end, 15 persons were dead far less than the 250 Harris and Klebold had hoped to slaughter. The massacre was made even more chilling when you consider the fact that the boys cited violent movies, music and video games as their inspiration. And, to be sure, someone is already scripting a film, perhaps, “Judgment Day,” that would indeed grant those killers infamy as only Hollywood can.

 But there is no proverbial switch to flick off what really happened at Columbine, and there is no documentary that can do justice to the hundreds of relatives and friends who witnessed the so-called dark side of Harris and Klebold, evil that was well-documented on their web sites, in journals and from innumerable interviews with relatives and friends. Yet, if you remain skeptical of the boys’ motivation, look at the five videotapes, which Time reports on.

 The tapes, which the killers themselves recorded, prove they were no ordinary teens with thoughts of college, girls and manhood. They talked about the tricks they played on their parents, how they fooled teachers and schoolmates, and why they wanted to conduct the massacre in the first place. The two teens felt persecuted by jocks, their families, their schoolmates just about anyone they came in regular contact with. In their deranged young minds, a mass killing of 250 or so people was the only way to seek the ultimate revenge on what they called “Judgment Day.” They were deliberate, they were vicious, and the warning signs were all over.

 As Klebold says on one of the videotapes, “People have no clue.” But people, lots of people, had several clues. The dots, however, were not connected by the counselors, who deemed the boys rehabilitated by community service after the boys broke into a van in 1998, or by the police, who were aware of the threats on the web sites but failed to take the threats seriously, by Klebold’s parents who, walked in on him during a dress rehearsal with his sawed-off shotgun, or Harris’ mother, who saw a gun handle sticking out of his gym bag and assumed it was his BB gun.

 Harris and Klebold’s initial plan called for a bombing to occupy police and fire crews from what would imminently occur at the school, another bombing at the school to stir further chaos and a third bombing after emergency vehicles arrived at Columbine to ensure even more bloodshed. When none of the bombs went off, they boys improvised.

 They shot one girl in the parking lot and, inside the school, where a fast-thinking teacher had seen Harris and Klebold approaching the library, told students to “Get Down!” before calling 911. She left the phone off the hook, so for half-an-hour or so the dispatcher could hear all that was going on, including listening in as Harris and Klebold laughed while their victims screamed. “Peekaboo,” Harris said to a girl hiding beneath a table before shooting her. “Do you want to die today?” he asked another trying to seek cover. The police, meanwhile, did little more than secure the perimeter in the first 15 or so of the rampage.

 Authorities expect to release a report in coming weeks, which is much-anticipated from a law-and-order perspective. It can never tell us as graphically as the two killers’ own tapes, though, what evil and mad thoughts motivated their actions.

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