->''"I wouldn't say a single word to them; I would listen to what they have to say, and that's what no one did."''
-->-- '''Music/MarilynManson''' when asked what he would say to the students at Columbine, ''Film/BowlingForColumbine''

The Columbine High School massacre, committed in 1999 by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, saw the deaths of fifteen people -- twelve students, one teacher, and the killers themselves -- and the injury of another twenty-four people. After it happened, everybody ran around like a headless chicken trying to explain it. Here's [[Wiki/TVTropes our]] attempt.

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[[folder: Background]]

With so many claims about them coming from every direction, what ''is'' known about the killers and their motivations deserves to be discussed. This is a far easier task than with most spree killers, as Harris and Klebold left behind a treasure trove of home videos, diaries, and more detailing their thought processes, attitudes, and plans for the massacre. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this mountain of information is also largely responsible for the mystique that has built up around the two and their crimes, especially in comparison to massacres with higher body counts; psychologists, cultural critics, and the killers' MisaimedFandom have spent years examining and picking apart Harris and Klebold's personal artifacts.

First of all, the two boys were juvenile {{delinquents}} who had a history of trouble with the law. The year before the shooting, the two had been arrested for breaking into and stealing tools from a locked van. They made such a good impression on the police that, in exchange for having their criminal records expunged, they would go through a program that included community service, psychiatric treatment and, for {{Ha|irTriggerTemper}}rris, anger management classes. Again, they made such a good impression that they were discharged from the program a few months early. In the memoirs they taped before the shootings, they bragged about how well they had [[ISurrenderSuckers fooled the police into thinking they had reformed]]. Later, the two would make a video for a school project called ''[[http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2259303/eric_and_dylan_hitmen_for_hire/ Hitmen for Hire]]'', in which they played two {{Bully Hunter}}s, and Harris would write a violent ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' FanFic for a creative writing project. In addition, Harris had been caught the year before making threats on his website to various students and teachers, and Klebold had a long history of cursing at teachers and getting into fights with his boss at the pizza place he worked at.

Harris and Klebold were victims of bullying, including homophobic remarks, but as it turns out, they gave as good as they got -- they often wrote in their diaries about how they themselves had bullied underclassmen and "fags." In early reports, they were said to be members of the "Trenchcoat Mafia," a clique of gamers and self-styled outcasts who all wore trenchcoats. In reality, they were only friends with one member of the group, and most of them had graduated by the time of the massacre. The killers weren't the {{loners|AreFreaks}} that early reports described them as -- they had a number of friends, and three days before the massacre, Klebold had taken his female friend Robyn Anderson to the prom. They were avid gamers, particularly of ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' (which Harris had even made [[GameMod mods]] for), and used the names "Reb" and "[=VoDKa=]" (the former was Harris, the latter was Klebold) as both their online handles and their nicknames.

The general consensus among investigators regarding their motivations is that they (particularly Harris) were [[StrawNihilist diehard nihilists]] who wanted to leave their mark on the world. A personality profile of Harris stated that he was an anti-social, paranoid, [[ItsAllAboutMe narcissistic]] [[TheSociopath sociopath]] with unrestrained aggression, while his journal reveals an {{Ubermensch}} mindset, with frequent references to [[TheSocialDarwinist "natural selection"]] (the shirt he wore during the massacre even had that slogan on the front). One entry in Harris' journal contains a discussion on how he wanted to put everyone into a super-''Doom'' game and see to it that only the strong survive.

Klebold's diaries likewise talk about how he and Harris were [[EvolutionaryLevels more highly evolved]] than the rest of humanity, though overall his entries reveal that he was self-loathing and possibly suicidal, with a tendency to obsess over female classmates he was barely acquainted with. Gifted intellectually but with a tendency to "snap" when confronted, it seems that Klebold desperately sought affirmation from his friend, and was equally influenced by Harris's sociopathy and personal vengeance against "the world". The planning the shootings required was an act of cold calculation rather than rage, and attempting to tie the events to a singular incident oversimplifies the killers' psyches.

Both diaries make frequent reference to the Oklahoma City bombing, the Waco Siege, and other disasters, noting how they wished to "outdo" these events. Their codename for the massacre was "{{N|aturalBornKillers}}BK," taken from a film that both of them were huge fans of, in which the main characters go on a killing spree and become celebrities in the process.

The chosen location and timing of their massacre was no coincidence, and emphasizes the lack of specific targets. If jocks and the school's social elite were the targets, presumably the killers would have attacked a school sporting event or the prom just three days earlier. Eric's journal specifically mentions wanting a [[IfItBleedsItLeads media-friendly killing]] that would shock all of America in their everyday routine, not something [[HorrorDoesntSettleForSimpleTuesday tied to a specific event]], and what experience could be more universal than a normal day at school?
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[[folder: The Massacre]]

Harris and Klebold had begun planning their attack a year in advance. Their plan was to build large bombs that they would plant in the cafeteria and then detonate at lunch time, destroying the cafeteria and the library above it and killing hundreds of students in what would have been the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in American history (the reason why they thought they would "top" Oklahoma City). After that, they would pick off the survivors outside as they fled the burning school. Notes in their journals also contain thoughts about heading to Denver International Airport, hijacking a plane and crashing it into a building in UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity, as well as fleeing to Mexico. The date of the massacre, April 20, coincides with AdolfHitler's birthday, leading some to speculate that the killers were neo-Nazis. However, there is more evidence to suggest that they had originally planned to attack the school on April 19, the anniversary of both the Oklahoma City bombing they hoped to top and the end of the Waco Siege, but were forced to push it back a day, due to a cadre of ammo only being delivered on that evening. Others have speculated that they chose April 20 because it was the day that many of the school's [[TheStoner stoners]], whom they had never had much of a problem with, would be cutting class to get high ("4/20" and all).

The killers arrived at the school at 11:10 AM and went to the cafeteria with the large duffel bags containing their bombs, each wired to detonate at 11:17 shortly after the start of lunch. They headed back to their cars to wait for the bombs to go off... [[WheresTheKaboom which they didn't]], thanks to [[EpicFail their lack of finesse at the finer points of bomb-making]]. Indeed, the only bomb to detonate was a decoy one they had placed in a nearby field earlier that morning. Set to explode at 11:14, it caused a small fire, but, since its detonation occurred so close to the time the shooting began, it did nothing more than vaguely alert the authorities that ''something'' was going on.

Realizing that their bombs were duds, the two broke out their guns (a 9mm carbine and [[SawedOffShotgun sawed-off pump shotgun]] for Harris, and a [[GoodGunsBadGuns TEC-9]] and sawed-off double-barrel shotgun for Klebold) and headed to the school's west entrance. Here, they took off their trenchcoats, killed two students and a teacher, and wounded nine others as they went through the halls. At 11:29, they headed to the library, where the main body of the massacre took place. When they walked in, Harris told everybody wearing a white baseball cap (a tradition among all school athletes) to stand up. Ten people were killed in the library, and twelve were injured.

These would prove to be the last victims of the Columbine massacre, as the killers left the library at 11:42 and spent the next twenty minutes wandering the now-empty halls and cafeteria, shooting and throwing pipe bombs seemingly at random. They went back into the library (which had since emptied out) at 12:02 and briefly exchanged fire with the policemen who now surrounded the school. Harris and Klebold then committed suicide; one fired his gun in his mouth, and the other shot himself in the side of the head.

There was early speculation that there had been a third man involved in the shootings, based on reports that a strange man had been seen on the roof on the school (later shown to be a repairman who locked himself up there after he heard gunshots), and claims that the two killers couldn't have hauled all of the bombs into the cafeteria by themselves. While all evidence points to Harris and Klebold being the only culprits behind the massacre, this hasn't stopped countless {{conspiracy theorist}}s from speculating otherwise.
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[[folder: Aftermath]]

Although school shootings are a relatively, some would say distressingly, common occurrence in the US (there had been one almost every year [[OlderThanTheyThink since 1966]])[[note]]Although, in a grim irony, the worst-ever US school massacre remains [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster the bombing of an elementary school]] in Bath Township, Michigan, which happened in 1927.[[/note]], this one quickly entered the halls of infamy for its then-unprecedented scale. Future school shootings, even those with far greater body counts (such as the Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook Elementary shootings), would find themselves in Columbine's shadow. The {{irony}} of all this media attention is that this is [[ThanatosGambit exactly what Harris and Klebold wanted to happen]] -- they desired to see their names burned into the history books. Almost immediately, a whole number of [[UrbanLegends apocryphal events]] began finding their way into the PopularHistory version of the shooting, MoralGuardians of all stripes used Columbine as an excuse to rant about whatever it was they felt was evil (or whatever would get them [[MoneyDearBoy the best book deals]]), everybody was searching for answers, and American high schools came under the thrall of a number of Columbine-related concepts, some of which had never happened. The word "columbine," once the name of the state flower of Colorado, entered the vernacular as a euphemism for a school shooting, and many future school shooting plots made reference to "pulling a columbine" and a desire to "top" Harris and Klebold. Police forces, having witnessed firsthand how ineffective traditional police tactics were against spree killers who [[KillEmAll weren't interested in taking hostages]], saw themselves developing new ways to respond to such threats.

The image of the BadassLongcoat spree killer took off, not helped by the fact that ''Film/TheMatrix'' had been released just three weeks earlier. In reality, the killers had [[TheCoatsAreOff taken their trenchcoats off]] as soon as the shooting began, and wore ball caps, T-shirts, and jeans, leading many to believe that the coats were more about projecting a scary, iconic image to the victims and the media than anything. ([[GenreSavvy It seemed to have worked.]]) The change of clothes also succeeded in confusing early reports as to how many shooters took part in the killing.

Thanks to the media's early rush to judgment, students who were [[LonersAreFreaks socially isolated or outcasts]] suddenly became viewed as potential mass murderers in waiting, even though Harris and Klebold weren't outcasts or a particular target of bullying. Muddying the waters was the fact that there ''had'' been a pair of heavily-publicized school shootings in the two years prior (one near Paducah, Kentucky and one in Springfield, Oregon) in which the killers did fit the profile of the "lonely outcast," so the media automatically assumed that the Columbine killers were loners as well before all the facts were known. In addition, despite early reports of the spree being a vengeance killing with a particular targeting of jocks, Christians, and minorities, all facts point to a random killing spree with no specific category of victim. (In fact, of the aforementioned shootings, the only one in which a specific category of victim was targeted was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heath_High_School_shooting the Kentucky shooting]], in which the perpetrator fired upon a Christian prayer group.)

In particular, the {{goth}} subculture suffered a huge backlash as a result of the shooting, with their outcast status and "dark" persona earning them the suspicion of many. There was no indication that either Klebold or Harris embraced the goth subculture, preferring a more militaristic vibe in their personal style. (Also, goths as a rule tend to be passive and pacifistic, the old stereotype being that they are violent towards [[SelfHarm themselves]] rather than others.) Still, schools modified their dress codes to ban trenchcoats and restrict the amount of black clothing a student can wear.

More insidiously, many schools started to assume that all school shooters fall under a certain list of stereotypes and can therefore be identified before they kill (similar to a terrorist watchlist). In a Congress-mandated study, the {{FBI}} found that not only is this idea not true, but it is also a dangerous line of thought -- while schools focus on trying to find students who fit a predetermined list of traits, real potential shooters go unnoticed. Even so, if a school shooter is portrayed in the media, he (and [[AlwaysMale it's usually a "he"]]) will ''always'' be a shy, bullied student who keeps to himself, and it's almost entirely because of this misconception.

[[MurderSimulators Violent video games]] were one of the most popular scapegoats for the massacre, with much hay being made out of the fact that the killers were fans of ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' and ''VideoGame/Wolfenstein3D''. Armchair psychologists were claiming that the killers had become desensitized to and obsessed with violence as a result of playing video games. The infamous Florida attorney Jack Thompson first emerged as an anti-video-game figure as a result of the massacre, setting himself on the trajectory that would ultimately lead to his dismissal from the legal profession. Once it came out that Harris had made [[GameMod various levels]] for the game, the media was almost immediately claiming that they had been based on Columbine High School, with the demons replaced with students and teachers. As it turned out, they weren't. The most elaborate of the so-called "Harris levels," titled UAC Labs, can be read about and downloaded [[http://www.doomworld.com/10years/bestwads/infamous.php here,]] third down the list, with commentary on the massacre and its effect on the gaming community.

Certain popular movies also came under fire. Among the targets were: ''Film/TheMatrix'', with its stylized action scenes, its story about our reality being a lie, its proliferation of BadassLongcoat heroes, and the fact that it had been released just three weeks prior to the killings and was still a box office hit; ''The Basketball Diaries'', which contained [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sfAZYmMig4 a fantasy sequence]] in which Creator/LeonardoDiCaprio's character shoots up his school while wearing a trenchcoat; and ''Film/NaturalBornKillers'', which both of the killers were huge fans of, and whose plot eerily mirrored the aftermath of the shooting. Less associated with the massacre, but a strong influence, particularly for Klebold, was the David Lynch film ''Film/LostHighway''.

The debate on [[UsefulNotes/AmericanGunPolitics gun control]] was reignited by the massacre, with each side repeating its talking points. Gun control advocates claimed that the tragedy could have been averted had there been more restrictions on the purchase of firearms, noting that Harris and Klebold had acquired their weapons through mostly legal means, specifically counting on the lack of background checks at gun shows.[[note]]It is important to note here that, by "legal", we mean in the sense that they didn't steal their guns or go through the black market to get them instead, they had Klebold's friend, Robyn Anderson, purchase the guns for them (a straw purchase), which is a felony offense in the US. (Ever see one of those "Don't Lie for the Other Guy" posters at gun stores? This is why.)[[/note]] On the other side, gun rights advocates claimed that gun control, particularly the "gun-free" zones around schools, had left the students and teachers defenseless, making the situation worse than it had to be. In any case, while Colorado would soon close the "gun show loophole" in-state, no significant federal gun control legislation was passed as a result of the shooting, and the federal Assault Weapons Ban would expire without being renewed just five years later.

Schools, meanwhile, took security into their own hands, installing metal detectors at school entrances, hiring security guards, mandating see-through backpacks, running "intruder drills" (similar to fire drills) in order to practice what to do if someone were to attack the school, and instituting "zero-tolerance" policies regarding violence or the threat of it. Such policies quickly became highly controversial, with many people, particularly students and social scientists, feeling that they got out of control and infringed upon the rights of the students. A report by the Secret Service stated that schools were taking false hope in such security measures, and that they wouldn't do anything to deter another massacre in fact, they concluded that zero-tolerance policies getting an unstable student [[DisproportionateRetribution suspended or expelled for a minor infraction]] may very well push him or her over the edge. In addition, minority students were almost always disproportionately targeted by such policies. However, many schools still have zero tolerance policies in place, since the criticism received for punishing the relatively innocent is infinitely easier to deal with than the perceived culpability for letting a violent situation escalate.

Various conservative Christian groups proclaimed the massacre to be the result of the secularization of society, the [[ScienceIsBad teaching of evolution]] and sex education, and the lack of religion in public schools. Many within such circles are more inclined to accept initial accounts claiming that two of the victims, Cassie Bernall and Rachel Scott, had been killed because of their Christian faith, having been asked if they believed in God and answering "yes" before they were shot. Most authoritative investigations of the massacre have concluded that these stories of how the two died are [[UrbanLegends apocryphal]], and based on the experience of Valeen Schnurr, a girl who ''was'' asked by the killers if she believed in God, but survived the massacre. However, many continue to consider the two to be martyrs and symbols of faith in the face of death, and a number of Columbine-inspired works have portrayed their killers as specifically targeting Christians.

One of the most popular targets of social backlash was [[TheNewRockAndRoll shock rock, metal and other "Satanic," "unhealthy" or "violent" music]], with Music/MarilynManson acting as a main lightning rod. In reality, Harris and Klebold viewed Manson as a sellout and a poser, but this didn't stop people from claiming that their music had somehow influenced the two to shoot up their school. Ultimately, this became a case of NoSuchThingAsBadPublicity for Manson, as the massacre greatly increased their pop culture profile; their front man's interview with Michael Moore about the shooting (quoted above) may have been his SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome.

Some alleged that the killers were either [[ThoseWackyNazis neo-Nazis]], or had a fascination with AdolfHitler and [[UsefulNotes/NaziGermany his regime]]. Supporters of this theory point to the fact that the attack had taken place on April 20, Hitler's birthday, and the fact that the killers were fans of Music/{{Rammstein}} and Music/{{KMFDM}}, two bands often hit with accusations of being MusicToInvadePolandTo. Robyn Anderson, a friend of Klebold's, denies that the killers were Nazis, although she claims that there was a lot that she didn't know about them. It is worth noting here that Dylan Klebold's mother was Jewish (although he was raised Lutheran), and that, as noted above, it is likely that the attack had been planned for April 19. Most likely, the killers found the Nazi regime's [[TheSocialDarwinist social Darwinism]] and policy of genocide and extermination philosophically appealing, but viewed their enemy as [[MisanthropeSupreme all of humanity]] rather than any specific ethnic group. Eric Harris, in particular, had a distinct tendency for PuttingOnTheReich with Nazi salutes and quotations, if apparently mainly for shock value.

The fact that Eric Harris had been taking the anti-depressants Luvox and, before that, Zoloft was a point of note for many people critical of the perceived over-prescription of psychiatric medication in today's society, particularly among teenagers. It would later be discovered that Harris had been rejected for military service due to his use of these medications, and it was speculated that this is what drove him over the edge, or else going off his medication in an attempt to be accepted. (This was later shown to be untrue Harris had not received news of his rejection by the time of the massacre, and, in any case, had begun his planning long before the recruiter had cold-called him.)

There were also allegations of [[AdultsAreUseless neglectful parenting]] thrown at the killers' parents, as people claimed that, had they been paying any attention to their kids, they could have stepped in and stopped it. In the so-called "Basement Tapes" recorded before the killing, Harris and Klebold absolved their parents of responsibility, and joked at how adept they were at fooling them. At the very least, they wanted their deed to be perceived as all their own.

Finally, one of the most popular culprits for the shootings was [[SocietyIsToBlame society in general]]. For the first time, there was genuine examination and criticism of the [[PopularityFoodChain social hierarchy]] of high school, particularly the high status that athletes enjoy in it. Schools began to crack down on bullying within their halls, and most people who were of school age soon after Columbine will most likely recall all of the assemblies calling for tolerance and respect for fellow classmates. The fact that we still have the PopularityFoodChain shows that such efforts ultimately proved futile, as 1999 became ancient history for a new generation of high school students who were only in elementary school when the shooting took place it took [[HereWeGoAgain another cycle]] of bullying-related suicides a decade later before people started asking these questions again. (Ironically, though bullying ''has'' been a factor in other school shootings, Harris and Klebold had not particularly been victims of bullying, as noted above.)

And before anybody asks, yes, there are UsefulNotes/ConspiracyTheories claiming that Harris and Klebold had been {{brainwashed}} by TheIlluminati, serving as patsies to advance draconian new gun control laws. (As noted above, very little serious gun legislation passed in the wake of the shooting.)

One of the most disturbing trends to happen after the shooting was the DracoInLeatherPants aura that developed around Harris and Klebold, with many students on the bottom of the high school food chain calling them [[HeroicSacrifice heroes and martyrs]] who stood up to the [[JerkJock privileged jocks]] and [[TheBully bullies]] that ruled high schools across the nation. Trenchcoats became [[TheRedStapler a popular fashion accessory]] among such students, with schools responding by banning them under their dress codes. A series of [[FollowTheLeader copycat shootings]] took place, carried out mostly by people who wanted to get revenge on their classmates and, like Harris and Klebold, leave their mark on the world. Even a decade and a half later, a quick search will find a surprisingly large number of tribute sites and videos for "Reb and [=VoDKa=]."

Perhaps the most important effect of the massacre was the way that it would shape American popular culture for years to come. The most noticeable and immediate change was a trend of [[MediaWatchdog stiffer censorship]] against violence in movies and TV shows that lasted into the early TurnOfTheMillennium. The teen {{horror}} genre, popularized by the likes of ''Film/{{Scream 1996}}'', began to [[DeaderThanDisco die out]] as depictions of young people being brutally murdered suddenly became [[TooSoon very unsettling]]. After a period of TooSoon, school shootings became [[AxesAtSchool popular subject matter]] for RippedFromTheHeadlines programs, the canonical example being the ''Series/LawAndOrder'' episode "School Daze" (one of the first to be advertised with such a slogan). It can be argued that the Columbine massacre marked the beginning of the end for the viewpoints and culture of TheNineties (much like how [[AllBikersAreHellsAngels the Altamont disaster]] is said to have killed TheSixties), and that the time between April 20, 1999 and [[TheWarOnTerror September 11, 2001]] was a time of transition between TheNineties and the TurnOfTheMillennium.
[[/folder]]

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!!Media that is about, references or was affected by the event:

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[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* The unpublished September 1999 issue of ''ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}}'', entitled "Shoot", depicted a study of a series of fictional school shootings. Seeing as how it was set to come out just five months after Columbine, it's not that hard to speculate [[TooSoon why DC withheld it from publication]].
** The fact that the plot was basically [[spoiler: the idea that modern life is so banal and empty that many school shooting victims WANT to die, the title of the story being one of them giving an instruction to the killer]] might also had something to do with it.
* The cover of ''{{Preacher}}'' #52 was originally supposed to depict an 8 year-old [[ActionGirl Tulip O'Hare]] getting a handgun as a Christmas present. After Columbine, it was changed to a standard facial shot of an adult Tulip.

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[[folder:Film]]

* Creator/MichaelMoore's documentary ''Film/BowlingForColumbine'' examines [[AmericanGunPolitics America's obsession with guns and violence]], and suggests that it had played a role in the shooting, pointing out that the [=NRA=] has done little to restrict the purchase of guns and ammunition for less-than-wholesome purposes. However, he does go out of his way to state that guns themselves are not the problem, showcasing how {{Canada|Eh}} has a comparatively low rate of gun violence despite gun ownership rates being almost as high as in the U.S. (As the saying goes, guns don't kill people, people kill people.[[note]]This is not to say, however, that someone with a gun, or even a knife, won't kill another living thing much more efficiently than someone who has no such thing.[[/note]]) The film's general theme is that there are no easy answers for the massacre -- after all, both Harris and Klebold were bowlers, so [[HitlerAteSugar could that not have driven them to kill]]?
** He also sharply criticizes [[StrawmanNewsMedia the American media]] for doing nothing but broadcasting [[IfItBleedsItLeads sensationalized stories]] and ramping up [[YouCanPanicNow national paranoia and fear]] to the point where, rather than the Columbine massacre being a warning sign screaming for societal re-address, it fuelled terror and finger-pointing by MoralGuardians that wouldn't be seen again until [[TheWarOnTerror 9/11 made terror into a war]].
** And one of the scapegoats, MarilynManson, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM_WuQdg-sY gives his insight on the deal.]] (See also his entry on Music, below.)
* A number of indie films have been made that are basically retellings of the Columbine massacre and the events that followed with the names changed.
** The Gus Van Sant film ''{{Elephant}}'' is probably the most well-publicized of these films.
** ''Heart Of America'' is Uwe Boll's version of the concept.
** ''ZeroDay''. The killers' preparations and home videos as a {{found footage film|s}}.
** ''Home Room'', which focused more on the aftermath of the shooting.
** ''American Yearbook''.
** ''April Showers'', which was directed by a man who was a senior at Columbine when the massacre took place.
* The BlackComedy ExploitationFilm ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck!_The_Carbine_High_Massacre Duck! The Carbine High Massacre]]''. Released exactly one year after Columbine, ''Duck!'' was the first film to be made about the killings, and without a doubt [[CrossesTheLineTwice the most]] [[BlackComedy tasteless]]. The makers of the film were arrested and briefly imprisoned for bringing guns onto school grounds to shoot their movie -- something that they proudly boasted about on the film's cover. What else would you expect from a film made by two guys from {{J|oisey}}ersey calling themselves William Hellfire and Joey Smack?
* The MadeForTVMovie ''Atomic Train'' wasn't shown in UsefulNotes/{{Denver}} out of apparent sympathy for the Columbine massacre. The movie had absolutely nothing to do with schools, shootings, or anything like it, being about, y'know, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin a nuclear train]], albeit one wherein the inevitable wrong-going happens near Denver.
* Officially, the reason that it took Toei Company so long to give ''Film/BattleRoyale'' [[NoExportForYou a proper release]] in the United States is because of their demands that it get a national theatrical release and a marketing campaign on par with the average SummerBlockbuster. However, many fans of the film can't help but feel that lingering squeamishness regarding the film's subject matter (high school kids being forced to kill each other) also played a role in the 13(!)-year delay.
** This is also probably the number one reason why the American remake is stuck in DevelopmentHell. Nobody wants the controversy that would accompany a film like this. In fact, when the remake was announced, one major ''Battle Royale'' fansite had the headline "HELL FREEZES OVER".
* Creator/TimBurton's 2005 adaptation of ''Film/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory'' had Mike Teavee (now a video game addict, as opposed to a TV addict in the original) be from suburban Denver, Colorado. One can't help but feel that this was a subtle reference to the Columbine massacre, particularly the role that [[UltraSuperDeathGoreFestChainsawer3000 violent video games]] [[MurderSimulators allegedly played]] in it.
** Then there's the fact that the first thing you see is the exterior of a house, with the sound of bullets echoing through the air and flashes of light through the windows; you don't realize it's a video game until you're inside. The caption saying "Denver, Colorado" doesn't help.
* ''TheBoondockSaints'' wound up seeing its American theatrical release limited to just five theaters partly as a result of the Columbine massacre[[note]]The chief reason, however, was because of PrimaDonnaDirector Troy Duffy's gigantic ego, which led him to burn all his bridges with Miramax, his distributor.[[/note]], causing it to become a DirectToVideo film for all intents and purposes.
* Being released just ten days after the massacre is often cited as the reason why the [[SlidingScaleOfComedyAndHorror horror-comedy]] ''Idle Hands'' flopped at the box office. Its plot involves a boy's hand being [[DemonicPossession possessed by a demon]], causing him to kill his parents and his best friends, and the climax involves the hand going on a bloodthirsty rampage at the HighSchoolDance.
* The film ''Dawn Anna'', starring Debra Winger in the title role, was about the mother of one of the victims of the shooting, detailing her struggles with brain cancer not long after meeting her future husband. After being cured of the disease, her daughter, Lauren Townsend, is [[DiabolusExMachina killed in the Columbine massacre]]. Yes, it's a [[LifetimeMovieOfTheWeek Lifetime movie]] -- what, are you surprised?
* ''The Life Before Her Eyes'', starring UmaThurman and Evan Rachel Wood, is about a woman who survived a Columbine-style massacre fifteen years prior and whose present-day life is falling apart due to her SurvivorGuilt.
* The [[http://www.imdb.com/media/rm377260288/tt1390535 original poster]] for ''TheFinal'' was clearly designed to invoke the massacre. It's no surprise why it wasn't used on the DVD release.
* ''Film/GingerSnaps'' was hit with Columbine-related controversy [[CanadaEh north of the border]]. News that Telefilm Canada was funding a "[[CowboyBebopAtHisComputer teen slasher flick]]" (and one with a {{goth}} [[AcceptableLifestyleTargets protagonist]], at that) right after both Columbine and a copycat shooting in Alberta caused a media frenzy, forcing Telefilm Canada to publicly defend their decision. In the end, all this may have helped a small, independent horror film [[NoSuchThingAsBadPublicity gain wider recognition]] -- it wound up becoming the fifth highest-grossing Canadian film that year.
* ''Film/{{Scream 3}}'' had to be heavily rewritten in the wake of Columbine in order to tone down the violence. According to [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HaYYh-aIz0 this interview]] and other sources, the original script revolved around Sidney's return to Woodsboro with [[spoiler:Stu from the first film]] returning as the main killer.
** The effect of the massacre is also discussed within the film itself. One of the producers of the [[ShowWithinAShow Film Within a Film]] ''Stab 3'' notes how violence in cinema has become a touchy subject recently, Columbine being the unstated-yet-obvious reason why.
* The director and writer of ''Film/TheDirties'' were largely influenced and haunted by Columbine.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]

* Creator/StephenKing has referred to [[Literature/{{Carrie}} Carrie White]] as a DistaffCounterpart to the Columbine gunmen.
* The book ''GiveABoyAGun'' is about two high school students who plan to shoot up their HighSchoolDance. The killers idolize Harris and Klebold and hope to outdo them with their massacre.
* ''Literature/WeNeedToTalkAboutKevin'' is written from the POV of a school shooter's mom reviewing her relationship with him over the course of his lifetime. Late in the book he speaks of the Columbine shooters as [[SpotlightStealingSquad having stolen his spotlight]].
* Parallels are drawn between Columbine and the school massacre that Freddy is responsible for in ''[[Franchise/ANightmareOnElmStreet Dreamspawn]]''. The massacre was blamed on the (now insane) protagonist and her dead friends, because they were [[LonersAreFreaks outcasts]]. Its handled ''really'' {{Anvilicious}}ly.
* JodiPicoult's ''Nineteen Minutes'' is the story of a boy who shoots up his high school after being bullied and his crush abandons him to join the in-crowd responsible. At his trial, a psychiatrist cites Harris and Klebold as an example of school shooters.
* DouglasCoupland's 2003 novel "Hey Nostradamus!", in which four characters describe the effects a Columbine-like shooting had on them, was written out of the author's concern that not enough attention had been given to the victims of Columbine. His narrative pointedly avoids exploring the motivations of the novel's two shooters.
** [[spoiler: Cheryl, who narrates the first vignette during or soon after her death at the hands of the two shooters,]] debunks an apocryphal explanation that Christians had been specifically targeted. This appears to allude to the same myths that encircled the Columbine shooting.
* Andrew Solomon's non-fiction book "Far from the tree: parents, children, and the search for identity" profiles Dylan Klebold's parents and how they dealt with the aftermath of their son murdering thirteen people and then killing himself.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Any TeenDrama or RippedFromTheHeadlines show in the late-'90s/early-2000s has probably made reference to the massacre or school violence in general, with many of them doing a VerySpecialEpisode on the subject.
** ''Series/LawAndOrder'': "School Daze"
*** The SeriesFinale "Rubber Room": {{Subverted|Trope}} in that [[spoiler: it's a sacked ''teacher'' who snaps and plots a rampage]]
** ''Series/DegrassiTheNextGeneration'': "Time Stands Still Part 2"
** ''Series/ColdCase'': "Rampage" (it pretty much is Columbine, but [[RecycledInSpace with a shopping mall]])
** ''OneTreeHill'': "With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept"
** ''{{Numb3rs}}'': "Dark Matter"
** ''Standoff'': "Peer Group"
** ''Flashpoint'': "Perfect Storm"[[note]]Ultimately a subversion, as the "shooter" never intended to kill anyone, just terrorize them the way they'd terrorized him. His "victims" are surprised to be alive, but ultimately speak out for him when the police show up.[[/note]]
** ''JoanOfArcadia'': "The Uncertainty Principle"
** ''Series/BostonPublic'': Surprisingly enough, despite being a series primarily set in a school, this show has had only one episode involving a school massacre plot. In one episode, a student's notes describing a plan to bomb the school were found, but nothing actually happens nor does this get mentioned again.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' saw two episodes in season 3 affected by the shooting. One episode, "Earshot", which was set to air just four days after the shooting took place, was quickly pulled, due to the fact that a) the story was an AxesAtSchool plot about Buffy gaining telepathy and overhearing somebody thinking about killing students, and b) it featured a student climbing up into the school's bell tower with a sniper rifle [[spoiler:(he was actually trying to kill ''himself'', not the other students, but was stopped by Buffy)]]. The second was the SeasonFinale, "Graduation Day, Part 2", which had Buffy, with help from the entire senior class, blowing up Sunnydale High School in order to kill [[BigBad the Mayor]] after he [[OneWingedAngel turned into a giant snake monster]]. Fans would have to wait until July and September of 1999 to see both episodes air.
** "Earshot" also featured Xander musing "who hasn't idly dreamed of gunning down their fellow students," and Oz remarking how school shootings were "bordering on trendy," which would have almost certainly evoked the [[TooSoon wrong]] [[DudeNotFunny reaction]] had it been shown on the original airdate.
** An irony at the time was that, when "Earshot" was pulled from airing, TheWB aired a rerun of the episode "Bad Girls" in it's place. The fact that said episode featured Faith murdering a guy by accident, then nonchalantly telling Buffy that she didn't feel any guilt or remorse, made some people wonder what kind of message the [=WB=] was trying to send kids.
** TheWB also made Joss edit the final episode of the season, ''Graduation Day'', to make the school explosion less spectacular, and remove some dialogue from the denouement about how neat it was that they blew up the school. After the changes were made, WB still dithered, right up to nearly the last minute before deciding not to show the episode until later in the summer. They waited so long that the episode had already been sent out to stations in Canada that carried the show, and been placed into their broadcast schedule. And because it was a holiday weekend in Canada the people with the authority to take it out of the schedule were "unavailable."
* An episode of ''Series/TheCloser'' featured a group of just-out-of-high-school boys who talked about doing what the Columbine boys tried to do. [[spoiler:While most people assumed they were planning a school shooting/bombing, Major Crimes realized that they were planning to blow up a building and pick off the survivors as they fled. Unfortunately, they only figure out what the target is (a shopping mall) [[OhCrap while inside it, when they spot the planted bombs]].]] Notably, the focus isn't on high school dynamics, but on mass-murdering terrorists, [[spoiler:and the high school is only important as that was how the boys knew each other]].
* The ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' episode Bait, starts off with a boy bringing a bomb into his classroom and holding the other kids hostage. [[spoiler:He's also a hostage. The bomb's controlled by members of organized crime.]]
* ''Series/SilentWitness'' did one of these too, but in the university where the pathology lab is situated. The two gunmen are clearly based on the Columbine shooters, [[spoiler: but in a twist, the Klebold-expy didn't know that the Harris-expy was serious, and ended up shooting ''him'' to put a stop to the massacre. There was also a third guy who tried to back out, and the Harris-expy murdered him prior to the massacre.]] As with Columbine, after a certain point the halls are cleared and everyone is hiding in locked rooms, cutting the massacre short. [[spoiler:And while Columbine was supposed to start off with a massive explosion, the university shooting was supposed to climax with a chemical weapons attack, but this time it was caught and stopped.]]
* The ''Series/CriminalMinds'' episode "Painless" revolves around the anniversary of a school shooting, with the Unsub targeting the survivors. Their motivation turns out to be that [[spoiler:they were a fellow survivor that got ignored by the media in favor of more 'photogenic' students, one of which stole his story of standing up to the gunman. The other 'top ten' survivors were aware of this (in a sense- they couldn't remember who ''did'' stand up to the gunman, but knew their story was fake), but refused to clear up the truth]]. The original gunman [[AGodAmI thought he was God]] and was killing people ForTheEvulz before blowing himself up [[spoiler: and the second killer's other grievance is that said-explosion cost him his ability to feel pain (hence the title)- he suffered more than the other survivors and was braver than them, but they stole all the credit and attention.]]
** Earlier episodes featured a disgruntled and bullied student going on a killing spree, though in this case throughout his small town rather than at his school. A first season ends with a guy setting his school on fire, and another featured an action climax as a cult broke into an elementary school to try and massacre all the kids inside, but found the Feds waiting for them instead.
* ''Series/AmericanHorrorStoryMurderHouse'' features a Columbine-esque shooting as [[spoiler:Tate's backstory. Driven to kill by the spirits inside the "Murder House", he shot up his school while wearing a trench coat and skull-like face paint, killing fifteen people before he got killed by the police.]] The episode where this is [[TheReveal revealed]] has [[spoiler:Tate's ghost]] confronted by the spirits of five of the victims, having built up years of rage, grilling him on why he did it. One girl, a former cheerleader, recounts a tale similar to the "do you believe in God?" incident often associated with Cassie Bernall; she answered "yes", only to find out, upon becoming a ghost rather than entering heaven, that she was wrong.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Music/MyChemicalRomance's "Teenagers" mocks both the tendency to demonize school violence and "outcast" groups in the wake of school shootings, and teenagers themselves who take umbrage at being treated like [[TeensAreMonsters vicious little monsters]] when they continue being casually cruel to one another.
* After being MisBlamed for the massacre, Music/MarilynManson proceeded to write the album ''Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death)''. Most of the lyrics and subject matter were direct responses to Columbine, with Manson calling it "a declaration of war" on the MoralGuardians.
* On ''The Marshall Mathers LP'', Music/{{Eminem}} defended Manson and himself from the public backlash that erupted from Columbine with the single "The Way I Am". He claimed that middle-class suburbanites were hypocritical for only caring about violence once it started happening in their kids' schools rather than [[InnerCitySchool the "ghetto" schools]]. Other lyrics more specifically mentioning the incident were censored in the song "I'm Back", even on the explicit version.
* The Music/{{Nightwish}} song "The Kinslayer" is about the massacre. [[http://nightwish.com/en/band/lyrics?id=25 The lyrics]] even quote real dialogue between the killers and their victims. The fifteen candles mentioned near the end refer to those who died on that day -- four pink ones for the female victims, nine blue ones for the male victims, and two black ones for the killers themselves.
* Music/FiveIronFrenzy was from Denver, and one of the band members lived three blocks from the school, and his sister was one of the students present on that day. So the incident hit home for them. They wrote the song "A New Hope" in response.
* The song "Youth of the Nation" by Music/{{POD}} was inspired by Columbine and the Santana High shooting in California.
* Five For Fighting's "Easy Tonight" was a response to the incident.
* ChristianRock band Music/{{Flyleaf}}'s song "Cassie" is an ode to Columbine victim Cassie Bernall and Rachel Scott, which perpetuates the skewed narrative by describing Cassie as being shot for believing in God, even though Valeen Schnurr was the one who had that conversation and survived.
* Music/PearlJam's "Rival" is guitarist Stone Gossard's reflection on Columbine.
* ChristianRock musician Michael W. Smith wrote the song "This Is Your Time" as a reference to the (apocryphal) story of Cassie Bernall's martyrdom.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Stand-up Comedy]]
* In his "Bigger and Blacker" stand-up show, Creator/ChrisRock [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33E9e25KUew mocked]] the gunmen's InformedLoner status[[note]]"The Trenchcoat Mafia! They're like 'no one would play with us! We had no friends, the Trenchcoat Mafia...' Hey, I saw the yearbook picture, it was six of them! I ain't had six friends in high school. I don't got six friends now! Shit, that's three-on-three with a half court."[[/note]], the MoralGuardians trying to make hay from the situation[[note]]"Who gives a ''fuck'' what they was watching? Whatever happened to ''[[AxCrazy crazy]]?''"[[/note]], and the people who treat violence in rich suburban (i.e. white) schools as anomalies while ignoring the same violence in {{inner city school}}s[[note]]You're gonna have little white kids sayin', 'I wanna go to a black school where it's safe!'"[[/note]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* The one-act stage play ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bang_Bang_You%27re_Dead Bang Bang You're Dead]]'', about an imprisoned high school killer who is confronted by the ghosts of his victims, was actually written ''before'' Columbine (although based on other school shootings) to raise awareness about school violence. However, the timeliness of its subject matter caused it to become incredibly popular, being performed 15,000 times in the three years after Columbine. The play was later adapted into [[TheMovie a film]] by the {{Showtime}} network.
* ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbinus Columbinus]]'', a 2-Act play, focuses on Harris and Klebold, and some other students at the school. The first act has generic names for the characters: Poser, Goth, Loner, Freak, etc. The second act has the characters named and follow the actual shooting. The Play is based on information from friends, family, and documents.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The [[WebOriginal freeware]] game ''[[http://www.columbinegame.com/ Super Columbine Massacre RPG!]]'', made using RPGMaker, is based on the events of the shooting. The first half follows Harris and Klebold through the massacre, from their morning preparations to their suicides, with flashbacks to past events interspersed throughout. {{Chiptune}} [[SuspiciouslySimilarSong versions]] of Music/MarilynManson, Music/{{Rammstein}}, and Music/{{Nirvana}} serve as the soundtrack. The second half has the two being [[PlanetHeck sent to]] [[FireAndBrimstoneHell Hell]], which turns out to be remarkably like ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'', and ends with them killing a Cyberdemon and becoming Satan's minions.\\
\\
According to interviews with the creator, Danny Ledonne, the game was made to explore hyperreality and the treatment of death in video games, and allow people to explore the massacre and the killers' mindsets in a way that only a game can do. The game is set up like an old-school, turn-based RPG, denying the players the visceral thrill of watching teenagers (who are all represented by crude 8-bit sprites) getting brutally gunned down. The consequences of the killers' violence are shown -- the first half ends with photos of their dead bodies, and the entire second half has them, literally, in Hell for their sins (though it's [[BrokenAesop slightly undercut]] by [[AHellOfATime what they wind up]] [[LikeABadassOutOfHell doing in Hell]]).
* One of the things that first put {{Newgrounds}} on the map was site creator Tom Fulp's Columbine parody game ''[[http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/310349 Pico's School]]''. The setup : a bunch of goth/punk/neo-nazis kids went postal and turned the school into a battlefield. It's up to VideoGame/{{Pico}} to save the day by mowing down anything that moves (including InnocentBystanders if you want) and killing the leader of the goths [[spoiler: who is an alien in disguise]] by ''[[GroinAttack shooting her in the baby factory with an assault rifle]]''. TheStinger reveals that the school opened again [[spoiler: and the goths are replaced by gangster kids.]]
** To this day, Pico remains the mascot of Newgrounds. Scroll halfway down on any Flash video on the site, and you'll see an option to rate the video. There he is! He has a whole holiday on the site devoted to him, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "Pico Day"]], and even [[ExpandedUniverse a spinoff series]] with an evil twin known as "Piconjo" (an extremly pale Pico with a BFS and [[GagPenis a dong the size of a tree]], resulting in 99% of his apparitions culminating in a penis joke or something related), described by Newgrounds itself as the VideoGame/{{Wario|Land}} to Pico's [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Mario]]. Pico, Piconjo, and Pico's best friends Darnell (a black PyroManiac and MadBomber kid) and Nene (a suicidal Chinese girl with [[KnifeNut quite an addiction to blades]] and a comical tendency to catch herpes due to her [[ReallyGetsAround loose morals]], who is often portrayed as Pico's LoveInterest) are only the main characters of the whole Picoverse, which includes gems such as the Uberkids (cloned "genetically perfect" kids who duel Pico and friends in a ''rock-paper-scissors RussianRoulette tournament in their first apparition''), the goth kids (which includes a neo-nazi one-eyed punk, a Ninja who loves fighting in the dark and aiming for the crotch, a medium/telekinesist and [[spoiler: the alien mentionned before]]. Now THAT'S RefugeInAudacity.
* ''VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution'': In the CrapsackWorld of the setting, it apparently happened again, as one [=NPC=] will mention "the second time."
* You can't even use ''official {{Sega}} lightguns'' on the American [[SegaDreamcast Dreamcast]] because the console was released a few months after Columbine and gun support was region locked out. You had to use the scant few shitty third-party guns that were quietly eked out to Funcoland in order to make games like ''[[VideoGame/HouseOfTheDead The House of the Dead 2]]'' playable.
* ''VideoGame/{{Persona 2}}'' was released as two games in Japan. The first game involved students armed with semiautomatics and Uzis fighting against a resurrected AdolfHitler, as well as being given the option to kill their school's principal. The second game was cleared for release in America only because two of the characters got a PlotRelevantAgeUp and everyone else was ignored.
** Others have claimed that that the first game was mostly banned because the main character [[GayOption could be homosexual.]] Which would normally be okay, but unfortunately, [[DoubleStandard the main character is male.]]
* The ''{{Emogame}}'' series makes a number of references to the shooting. In the first game, the Hot Topic store sells Trenchcoat Mafia fashion accessories (including a Columbine High T-shirt), and Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold appear in the second game.
* One of the longest sections in flash game ''[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Game]]'''s sequel is an extended parody of the moral outrage following the shootings. Featuring ''VideoGame/Left4Dead''[[SpoofAesop -based caricatures]].
* PerfectDark faced this problem in terms of there being plans to take photos with the GameBoy camera and use them in game. After the massacre the idea of shooting students and teachers came up and Rare had to pull this feature.
* ''[[http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/108065-Inside-the-Sick-Mind-of-a-School-Shooter-Mod School Shooter: North American Tour 2012.]]''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* The initial StoryArc of ''Webcomic/{{Jack|DavidHopkins}}'' is based on the shootings.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The initial censorship of parts of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyondReturnOfTheJoker'' was done as a direct response to Columbine.
* The ''StaticShock'' episode "Jimmy" had a bullied student shooting at a group of football players. It was one of several {{very special episode}}s on the show, and ended with a public service announcement about gun safety.
* In one of the WesternAnimation/SouthPark DVD commentaries, Trey Parker and Matt Stone say that although they've actually paved the way for many things to be acceptable on television today that were not in the 1990's, (such as certain swear words, AIDS, homosexual characters, etc.) but due to the Columbine shooting, it was no longer acceptable for them to depict the boys with guns, as the subject was no longer considered funny.
* The theatrical poster for ''WesternAnimation/TitanAE'' had Cale Tucker running around shooting a laser gun, followed by love interest Akima. Unfortunately, this was released on film during the fallout of the Columbine High School massacre and movie companies were coming under heavy criticism for violence in films; as a result, the writers had Cale make the same running pose, but this time showing Akima the map with his hand outstretched toward it in place of the gun for the VHS and DVD box art.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Other]]
* ''TheOnion'''s take on the subject: [[http://www.theonion.com/content/node/29298 "Columbine Jocks Safely Resume Bullying."]]
** In 2013, Columbine was part of the "10 Things That Will Make You SUPER Nostalgic For The '90s" slideshow of real photos, along with the Rwandan genocide, Oklahoma City bombing, Waco siege, etc. in a brutal mockery of the NostalgiaFilter for the decade in TheNewTens.
* The card game ''{{Chrononauts}}'' has Columbine as one of the events on its timeline. The expansion has an identity where one of the goals is making sure the shooting happens, and the base base game have several that require stopping it.
[[/folder]]
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