Columbine High School Massacre

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The massacre at Columbine High School on April 20 of 1999 was one of the most tragic school shootings in American history at the time. From almost the moment the media aired the event, speculation began as to why Dylan Harris and Eric Klebold would commit such horrific acts. Surveillance camera and home video images flooded the news and the minds of people watching them, imprinting ideas of “bullied outcasts, clad in trench coats, seeking revenge on ‘jocks’ and minorities” (James, 2006). Reports provided information that the shooters questioned one girl about her faith during their rampage, leading to speculations of religious motivations. Others cited Eric Harris’s desire for respect, recognition, and superiority, pointing to his personal …show more content…
Although questioned about it over sixteen years after the event, he pinpoints one reason that the media also noted: mental illness. Ireland also contradicts the ideas of bullying and the Trenchoat Mafia as specific causes. “There’s a public perception of the fact that there [were] cliques, but it was no different from any other high school…Eric and Dylan were even shunned by the Trenchcoat Mafia.” Ireland noted that the home videos reviewed after the fact showed that “There were some lingering [problems with] mental illness.” Ireland reflects what became obvious to the majority of the public after the massacre, stating that prevention would have begun at home, with parental involvement, intervention, upbringing, attention.
No one theory can explain the cause of crime, even when “crime” is narrowed down to a specific type, like school shootings. Essentially all of the social process theories could be applied to the analyzation of the shooting at Columbine, including the social learning theory, the social control theory, and the labeling theory. Of most relevance in this case would be the ideas of the social development
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Many factors were involved in the behaviors of Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris on April 20, 1999. Psychological issues were present and known. During autopsy, Eric was found to have therapeutic levels of Luvox, used to treat depression and obsessive compulsive disorder. He had also reported homicidal and suicidal idealizations in the past (Massacre at Columbine High). Familial issues are also seen when one learns that Eric had what was essentially an arsenal in his bedroom at home, unbeknownst to his parents. Discrimination and prejudice are elements of Eric’s journaling, which also hold a place in the social development perspective. This perspective is what provides the best explanation for the events at Columbine because it is the most thorough, considering “psychological, biological, familial, interpersonal, cultural, societal, and ecological levels” (Schmallenger, 2014,

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