The Columbine Massacre
In 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13, wounded 24, then killed themselves
When it occurred, the Columbine Massacre was not just the deadliest school shooting in history at the time ( the body count was surpassed in 2007, when 32 people were murdered at Virginia Tech). According to Dan Cullen, who wrote a book about the case, it was also “a means… to terrorize the entire nation by attacking a symbol of American life”.
The atrocity gave rise to a moral panic about goth culture, nihilistic music, violent video games and school bullying. Furthermore, it induced important debates about the role the media plays in the depiction of violent crime, and drove changes to police protocols, school safety and discipline policies, and gun laws.
Devastatingly, Columbine also appears to have provided a template through which troubled teenagers can voice their hatred and despair: a 2014 investigation by ABC News found that Columbine has served as inspiration for at least 50 subsequent school shootings or plots – and there have been many more cases since that study was concluded.