Welcome to the online companion to Columbine, and a powerful research tool. It's like the bonus DVD version of the book, but free.
I covered Columbine for ten years—in the field reporting, and then researching and writing the book. The sheer size of the Columbine evidence was overwhelming. And most of the early reporting on why it happened was wrong.
I culled through thousands of police files, pictures, journals, videos, interviews, 911 calls, crime scene photos, etc. As I organized the information, I decided to share my research online.
For this site, I compiled the most significant evidence and tried to make it easy to find. I hope this helps you navigate the maze of myths, distortions and the truth. Good luck on your search.
Each section of the site is summarized below, following a warning on the myths. Material you will not find anywhere is enumerated at the bottom.
Warning on the myths
Two warnings are in order before you proceed to the main contents:
Myths: Most of what you "know" about Columbine is probably wrong. Within six months of Columbine, virtually all reporters on the case—including me—accepted that we had gotten most of the basics wrong. This was mostly due to a lot of assumptions, and jumping to conclusions based on fragmentary evidence. The result makes researching Columbine problematic. When you google the early coverage, and you'll get all the myths. Dig up later material, and much of it was based on the bad early stuff. The myths are self-propagating.
The good news: lots of clean material is out there. It has been identified. You just need to know which is good, which is bogus, and which has bits of each. The Media Reporting section sorts much of that out for you. But you will be wise to set aside most of what you've read, and start with a clean slate.
Contradictions: In total, the journals, videos and other writing present a crisp portrait of each killer. But beware of quotes out of context. Eric and Dylan were teenagers. They rambled, contradicted themselves and changed their minds as the plan developed. I link to lots of evidence on this site, and for many items, I provide some analysis, so you can see how it fits into the larger picture.
Sections of Columbine Online
Journals: Includes all writings by Eric & Dylan
This includes the most revealing written material Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold left, including their journals, sketches, diagrams, Eric's website, Dylan's creative writing story essentially describing what they were about to do, and their 1998 yearbooks (where they wrote about the Columbine attack in each others' books).
Nearly a thousand pages of the killers' writings were released. I sifted through it all to point you to the best stuff, and indexed it and uploaded the best stuff for you to get it quickly.
All the basics on Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold, including photos, capsule bios, autopsy reports, and links to longer published profiles.
The subject of Eric and Dylan's parents provoke the most debate at my events, yet unfortunately, this will be the shortest section on the site. That's because Wayne & Kathy Harris, and Tom & Sue Klebold were vilified after the attack, and responded rationally: with brief written statements and then silence. (Exceptions are enumerated in this section.) I would earnestly love to learn more from them but I understand their position. (A few days after the Virginia Tech tragedy, I published a New York Times op-ed suggesting a different approach with the parents there, hoping for a different outcome.)
The bottom line is a dearth of information, in comparison to the rest of the case. However, if you dig a bit—and I certainly have—some really useful information has come to light about them. It will be outlined here. (This section under development, Oct. 2010.)
Victims / Survivors / Resources
No graphic photos in this section! This is a trauma-free zone. (For pix of victims on April 20, see the Killers/Attack section.)
This section provides:
Info on the victims, including profiles on each of the thirteen killed at Columbine, passages from the lawsuits, video footage, results of the Danny Rohrbough inquiry, links to memorial sites.
A resource package on trauma, PTSD, identifying potential shooters, and psychopaths. It includes a link to Dr. Frank Ochberg's excellent "PTSD 101" article, designed for the layman, and the FBI's report on identifying threats.
This section is being redesigned and some of the material is temporarily down.
Warning: This section is graphic and can be traumatic. Exercise caution.
Everything about Eric and Dylan's plan and attack on Columbine, including pictures and descriptions of the bombs, the guns, knives, photos from the attack and of the crime scene, Eric's sketches of their battle gear, schedules, budgets, plans, etc.
Graphic/traumatic photos of victims and survivors from April 20 are included here, in order to keep the Victims / Resources section trauma free. Links to transcribed passages from The Basement Tapes are included.
This is the most important subject related to Columbine—the great unlearned lesson of the tragedy. We devoted a major section in the Instructor Guide to it, and we're adapting that into a section on resources here. Coming soon.
All official government reports about Columbine and several broader reports.
Enumeration of all evidence released by authorities, including all police reports, the DA's Diversion files on the killers (with session notes), 911 tapes, videos made by the killers, their journals and daytimers, all the search warrants, autopsies, field notes, photographs, a grand jury investigation, etc. These total over 30,000 pages, so I provide an overview, highlights, links to scans of 11,000 pages of them, and several indexes, so you can find your needles in this enormous haystack.
Instructions on how to get your own copies of the above (on paper, DVD, cassettes, etc.)
This section includes a great deal of material:
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Photos of Columbine High: then and now, and at different times since the tragedy.
Videos, including: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold in the Columbine cafeteria, Patrick Ireland tumbling out the library window, and helicopter shots from April 20. Links to transcribed passages from The Basement Tapes are included.
Analysis of media reports: What to believe, what not to. (Returning soon.)
Information on my book,Columbine.
Resources for schools and The Columbine Instructor/Teacher's Guide. (It's also useful for students for papers or class projects).
Recommendations reading: books, films and other writing on the subject.
Not Here: What you won't find in Columbine Online:
Video of The Basement Tapes. Long, representative passages have been transcribed and published, and I provide quite a bit of that. But the videos have not been released. You will not find them anywhere.
The "Nixon" microcassette tape that Eric Harris recorded the night before the massacre. It has not been released. A few lines from it were transcribed, and appear in my book. Lead Investigator Kate Battan told me there is nothing else significant on it. She has generally been straight with me.
Testimony by Eric and Dylan's parents. As a final settlement with five holdout families, Wayne & Kathy Harris, and Tom & Sue Klebold answered questions in a deposition that lasted several days. It was a closed session, and the plaintiffs gained entry by agreeing to a gag order. In April 2007, a federal judge ruled that the transcripts would be sealed for another 20 years, then released. Only the small audience in that room knows what the parents divulged, and there have been no leaks. I'll post them in 2027.
Crime-scene photos of Eric and Dylan's bodies. These were never officially released, but leaked. They are graphic and horrific. You can easily google them, but I won't post them here. The ones that appear at the top of most searches are legit. That's really how they died. I've gone through diagrams and talked through the details at length with Battan and other investigators. We know how they died. I describe it in the book, but I'm going to forego that here.
Just about everything else that's been gathered is available, and I'll try to point you to most of it here.
Over the years, this site was called: The Columbine Guide, Columbine Almanac and Columbine Navigator. If you're looking for one of those, you're here.