Columbine High in Littleton, Colorado, was part of a peaceful community nestled between Denver city and the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
That peace ended on April 20, 1999, when two teenage gunmen went on a shooting spree at the high school, killing 13 people before turning the guns on themselves.
The death toll was severe and the fall out from the killing spree is still rocking the community almost 20 years later.
But it could have been much worse.
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In the immediate days, weeks and months after the shooting the media, guided by misleading witness statements and general confusion, created profiles of the two suspects which were widely accepted for a long time.
We were told they were social outcasts who were bullied by the “jocks” and the popular kids. We were told they listened to Marilyn Manson and were part of a group called the ‘Trenchcoat Mafia’. And we were told their goal, when they entered the school that day, was to target specific students in an act of retribution for the way they had been treated throughout high school.
Years later we would learn that none of this was true.
According to Slate, confused student statements, along with a police cover up, had led the media to create the kind of narrative we wanted to hear.
People wanted to think the killers were social outcasts, from bad backgrounds, who had been tormented to the point where they snapped.
But this was just not the truth.