Declan redux : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


-- Blue Himalayan (bh@k2.y), April 23, 1999


I thought it a pretty good, if formulaeic piece, for Declan. Declan is on the right track, in a fuzzy way... Declan will never get a Pulitzer or Nobel though. Maybe a putzer. Why? declan knows - he's a clever, cocktail party type of guy. Knows the up and up. Contacts in many places. High and low. Can't see the shoelaces in front of him. Sitting on THE HOTTEST STORY (salivating yet Declan?) IN HISTORY - and reducing it to this... piece.

As an Irishman (like myself), you have a lot to live up to.

Still waiting.

-- Andy (, April 23, 1999.

Was the feud the biggest factor?


Feud may have spawned shootings

By Kevin Johnson and Larry Copeland, USA TODAY

LITTLETON, Colo. - They wore black.

They sometimes spoke German. They traveled in a relatively small group - no more than 15. They idolized Adolf Hitler. They were so different from their peers, who ridiculed them for wearing black trench coats even in the summer, that they proudly adopted what was initially a moniker of ridicule: the Trench Coat Mafia.

Eric David Harris, 18, and Dylan Bennett Klebold, 17 - the two students who embarked on a suicide mission that resulted in the nation's deadliest school shooting - were the Trench Coat Mafia's most prominent members.

What is emerging here, however, is more than a story about how these young outcasts were simply different in their taste in apparel.

Students are beginning to describe how a long-simmering rivalry between the sullen members of their clique and the school's athletes escalated and ultimately exploded in this week's deadly violence that left more than a dozen dead and 22 wounded at Columbine High School.

The tension between the two groups began more than a year ago as seemingly harmless name-calling, according to students interviewed Wednesday. The feud gradually escalated to pushing and shoving.

Then it got worse.

"They hated it when we called them gay or inbreeds," says Mike Smith, a Columbine track athlete. "We pushed them around. They fought back."

Smith and others say tensions reached a breaking point a year ago. During the last two weeks of the 1998 school year, the groups were at constant odds. In fact, says Smith, the two groups squared off nearly every afternoon.

"It was just basically fighting," he says. "But we didn't want nobody to die. I can't help but think now that they never forgot."

Almost to a person, students and teachers interviewed seemed to be well aware of this existing tension.

"They tended to be on the anti-social side," says Leland Andres, 59, a choir teacher who knew Dylan and other associates in the group. "They especially disliked athletes. You would see him (Dylan Klebold) in verbal encounters with athletes in the hall where you knew he was angry."

They also expressed a dislike of minority students, possibly related to their reported admiration of Hitler.

Indeed, what students have told police is that when Harris and Klebold burst into the school shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday, they appeared to have targeted both student-athletes and minorities.

Others recall the Trench Coat Mafia's unusual celebrations after bowling strikes in the school league. While others gave high fives, they gave the Nazi salute.

Who were these alienated youths whose anger resulted in such a rampage?

Klebold lived with his parents in an exclusive neighborhood built into the spectacular rock formations of Deer Creek Canyon in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The gray and green A-frame sits on several acres behind a barbed wire fence in a neighborhood where house prices range up to $1 million.

"It kind of isolates us from town and you kind of think it isolates you from all that happens in the city," says Nick Miltner, 44, who lives just over a ridge from the Klebold home.

Klebold would often drive his black BMW from his subdivision to Harris' house, located in a more modest cluster of homes a few miles away. There, the houses start at about $180,000.

The youths became friends about two years ago when the Harrises moved into the area, neighbors say. They shared a deep enthusiasm for computers and enjoyed testing each other's skills in violent computer games.

Harris and Klebold also shared juvenile criminal records. They were charged in connection with a 1998 theft from a car, authorities say. Instead of jail, they were sentenced to a diversion program.

One acquaintance says that Klebold was a very smart, quiet youth whose demeanor changed in Harris' presence. "Dylan was a follower, who was constantly looking for someone to lead," says Nick Baumgard, 17, a senior.

Harris himself had found rare acceptance from the Trench Coat Mafia when he moved to the area with his family about two years ago.

"Eric didn't know too many people," says Karen Good, who lives next- door to the Harrises. "He just clung to this group because they accepted him. He had a hard time making friends, because he was so shy. This group accepted him."

Harris, described by police as the mastermind of the attack, rarely ventured outdoors unless he was arriving or leaving in his Honda, neighbors say. They often saw Klebold's BMW parked in the cul de sac outside Harris' home, a two-story, cream-colored brick house with a shingled roof. Usually, they say, the car was there for two or three hours while the teens remained indoors.

Last weekend, that pattern changed. They say Klebold's car was parked outside the Harris home for more than 36 hours. Neighbors noticed the change, but had no reason to question it.

Then, on Monday morning, Bill Konen, one of the Harris' other neighbors, noticed something even more unusual.

"I was in back quietly painting a fence," says Konen, 41. "I heard them pull up. One of them asked the other for a metal baseball bat. Then, I heard glass breaking in the garage for about 15 minutes. One of the detectives told me that's probably what they used for shrapnel in their pipe bombs."

Konen says the teens did not try to hide what they were doing. They left the garage open, he says.

If they were making shrapnel for the pipe bombs they used to booby- trap at least two cars - including Klebold's - it was perhaps the only instance when they were not highly secretive in planning the rampage.

Because of the sheer number of explosives and arms involved in the attack, a cache estimated at about 30 explosive devices and at least five weapons, police have not yet ruled out the possibility that the two were assisted by other members of their group.


-- Kevin (, April 23, 1999.

Just a couple of days ago, Declan McCullagh wrote an article entitled "Denver Shooters Were Y2K Buffs." In the currently referenced article, "Looking for Something to Blame," McCullagh says, "They were Hitler admirers, outcasts, possibly Y2K buffs, and certainly loners. They were also reportedly computer geeks, fans of Doom and Quake."

Now they're POSSIBLY Y2K buffs and the Internet is promulgated as the cause. What can we next expect from McCullagh--that trenchcoats cause violence? After all, look at those tough private eyes and detectives who wear them.

-- Old Git (, April 23, 1999.

You were right yesterday and your right now Old Git. You're a shyster Declan. We're just lucky enough that most people can see it.

-- KoFE (Your@town.USA), April 23, 1999.

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