Columbine High School Speech: President Clinton in Littleton, Colorado (1999)





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Published on May 8, 2012


May 20, 1999

The Columbine High School massacre (often known simply as Columbine) was a school shooting which occurred on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Columbine, an unincorporated area of Jefferson County, Colorado, United States. Two senior students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, embarked on a shooting spree in which a total of 12 students and 1 teacher were murdered. They also injured 21 other students directly, with three further people being injured while attempting to escape the school. The pair then committed suicide. It is the fourth-deadliest school massacre in United States history, after the 1927 Bath School disaster, 2007 Virginia Tech massacre and the 1966 University of Texas massacre, and remains the deadliest for an American high school.

The massacre provoked debate regarding gun control laws, the availability of firearms within the United States and gun violence involving youths. Much discussion also centered on the nature of high school cliques, subcultures and bullying, in addition to the influence of violent movies and video games in American society. The shooting resulted in an increased emphasis on school security, and a moral panic aimed at goth culture, social outcasts, gun culture, the use of pharmaceutical anti-depressants by teenagers, teenage internet use and violent video games.

Film Idle Hands - A teen comedy that tanked at the box office most likely because it was released immediately following the events at Columbine. The lead protagonist is possessed by his hand to murder his parents and two best friends. After severing his hand, the hand rampages through the school halls during a high school dance and kills several people before being destroyed. Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV - Went into production following the massacre. The opening scene shows Toxie battling a terrorist group known as the Diaper Mafia(a pun on the real life Trenchcoat Mafia, the clique the two gunmen were partially involved with before the shooting) who have taken hostage a school of teenage special needs children. The scene concludes with several students being gunned down with an M60 machine gun and the already evacuated school being blown to bits by a plastic explosive purchased at K-Mart(more references to the disaster at Columbine, as the two gunmen acquired their ammunition from a local K-Mart and planned to blow up their school but failed). Elephant - A film which plays in a dream-like state, following many students who are unaware of their impending death. Meanwhile, two students prepare to initiate a shooting. The Only Way - An independent film about a young man that is the victim of physical and emotional abuse and eventually opens fire on his classmates. The film focuses on the causes, effects, and consequences of school violence. While the story in the film is fictional, it features several parallels to the Columbine tragedy. Heart of America - A film by Uwe Boll, similar in story line to the more popular Elephant. Zero Day - A film shot entirely through handheld cameras or on security tape, expressing the view of the two killers leading up to the massacre. The massacre was one of the subjects of the 2002 Michael Moore documentary film Bowling for Columbine, about the 'culture of violence' and easy availability of firearms in the United States. Also in the film, Marilyn Manson is asked backstage before a concert in Littleton what he would say if he could talk to the shooters of Columbine. He responded, "I wouldn't say a single word to them. I would listen to what they had to say, and that's what nobody did." The 2002 Showtime television film Bang Bang You're Dead was also inspired by the massacre. The film stars Ben Foster as a teenager routinely picked on at school, so he joins a group of other bullied students to shoot things to make them feel better. The drama teacher (Tom Cavanagh) tries to get Foster to become part of a play he's organizing about a kid who shoots up his school, and the PTA and other adults try to stop it. The teen mentions a list of school shootings in one of his home movies, one of which was the Columbine massacre. The 2002 independent film Home Room was inspired by the aftermath of the incident and the effects it has on students and teachers. Students, faculty and parents of Columbine High School were given a private screening of the film, and director Paul F. Ryan and lead actress Erika Christensen spoke to those present. The reaction to the film was generally positive, partly because of its perspective on the aftermath rather than the shooting itself.


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