Columbine High School shooting archive - On April 20, 1999 Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold took the lives of 13 victims and their own lives


[ est. 4 21 1999 ]
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Basement Tapes
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March 15, 1999
Evidence item #265
Pieced together from the Columbine Report and Time's article dated 12-20-1999 (hard copy and online version).


Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold are sitting in the Harris home basement-level family room. Eric is sitting on the couch and Dylan's sitting in a chair nearby. They're drinking from a Jack Daniels bottle, which Eric points out. The boys begin to discuss a number of topics; they speak of their hope that the videos they're making will one day be shown all over the world, when their "masterpiece" is done and everyone wants to know why they did it.

Dylan: "I'd like to make a thank you to Mark John Doe and Phil John Doe. I hope you don't get fucked." (Eric laughs. Dylan continues.) "We used them. They had no clue... Don't blame them. And don't fucking arrest them. Don't arrest any of our friends, or family members or our co-workers. They had no fucking clue. Don't arrest anyone, because they didn't have a fucking clue. If it hadn't been them, it would've been someone else over 21."

They mention the time a clerk from Green Mountain Guns called Eric's home. Eric's dad, Wayne Harris, answered the phone.

When the clerk told him "Hey, your clips are in." Wayne - who owned guns himself - told the clerk he hadn't ordered any clips. Eric said his father never asked whether the caller even had the right phone number. Eric says if etiher the clerk or his father had asked just one question, "we would have been fucked.".

Dylan: "We wouldn't be able to do what we're going to do."

They then talk about Brandon Larson and how "you will find his body". The boys talk about the large propane bombs they plan to use on the unsuspecting students in the school cafeteria. They discuss bombs and two bags of "propane and napalm", and mention Mr. Stevens and the shotgun.

"We're proving ourselves," they tell the camera and go on to discuss their philosphies. Eric says he isn't spending much time with his family, so that there won't be any "bonding" and "this won't be harder to do".

Eric: "I'm sorry I have so much rage, but you put it on me."

Eric then complains about his father and how his family had to move five times. He says he always had to be the new kid in school, and was always at the bottom of the "food chain", and had no chance to earn any respect from his peers as he always had to "start out at the bottom of the ladder". He hated the way people made fun of him: "my face, my hair, my shirts." He's wearing a t-shirt that has the words "Wilder Wein" printed on it -- he references the shirt several times during the video but never explains what it means. [Wilder Wein is a song written by Rammstein.]

Eric: "More rage. More rage." (motions with his hands for emphasis) "Keep building it on."

Dylan: "If you could see all the anger I've stored over the past four fucking years..."

Dylan then recalls how popular and athletic his older brother Byron was and how he constantly "ripped" on him, as did his brother's friends. According to Dylan, with the exception of his parents, his extended family treated him like the runt of the litter.

Dylan: "You made me what I am. You added to the rage."

Dylan says that as far back as the Foothills Day Care center he hated the "stuck-up" kids who he felt hated him. "Being shy didn't help. I'm going to kill you all. You've been giving us shit for years."

Dylan: "Fuck you Walsh."

The boys go on to discuss Walsh patrolling Deer Creek (Deputy Tim Walsh primarly works the south end of Jefferson County). The teens then talk about how there's "a month and a half left". They mention Green Mountain Guns again and how they phoned the house, leaving a message on the answering machine: "Your clips are in".

Dylan and Eric brag about hiding their tools of death -- and about the close calls along the way. Eric shows the camera a black tackle box with his bomb-making equipment stowed inside. They boast about concocting their plan under the noses of unsuspecting parents and friends.

Dylan recalls a time when his parents walked into his bedroom while he was trying on his trenchcoat to see if it would hide his sawed-off shotgun. "They didn't even know it was there."

Eric tells about a day he was going to go shooting in the mountains. He had his shotgun in a gym bag: it was in his "terrorist bag, sticking out". When he walked by his mother, she saw the butt of the gun but she assumed it was nothing more sinister than his BB gun. Fooling people was a point of pride for both boys, one they gloat about during the video-taping.

Eric: "I could convince them that I'm going to climb Mount Everest, or I have a twin brother growing out of my back. I can make you believe anything."

The subject shifts and they begin talking about several people they know. They make a comment about Dustin Harris (or Harrison), and how "everything you say is pointless."

Eric: "Shut the fuck up, Nick, you laugh too much! And those two girls sitting next to you, they probably want you to shut the fuck up, too! Jesus! Rachel and Jen.. and.. whatever."

Dylan: "I don't like you, Rachel and Jen, you're stuck up little bitches, you're fucking little.. Christian, Godly little whores!"
[Hear this and the line above]

Eric: "Yeah.. 'I love Jesus! I love Jesus!' -- shut the fuck up!"

Dylan: "What would Jesus do? What the fuck would I do..?" (he acts like he's shooting the camera with his hand, with sound to accompany it)

Eric: "I would shoot you in the motherfucking head! Go Romans! Thank God they crucified that asshole."
[Hear the above 3 lines]

Eric and Dylan: "Go Romans!" "Go Romans!!" "Yeah!!" "Wooo!"

Eric discusses "Arlene", his 12-gauge Savage shotgun. "Thanks to the gun show, and to Robyn. Robyn is very cool."

The boys then decide to take a video tour of "Reb's room" and "all the illegal shit" in it. Dylan backs out of the room with the camera and pretends to be Eric's mother.

Eric: (waves at the camera) "Hi, mom."

Taping Eric Harris's bedroom, they record a desk with a hutch, where Eric points out a pair of gloves which he says he took from a doctor's office and uses for making bombs. He points out several packages of fireworks on top of a speaker, which is also on top of the hutch. He also calls attention to a soda can with several shots through it, along with quite a few shotgun shells sitting atop the hutch. He then points out a small "black treasure chest" that he calls a "good hiding place".

Eric then points out a small bullet that he says is his "first bullet", then in a drawer he shows off a stash of solar igniters, batteries, pipes, clocks, and engines. He pulls out a black two-bell alarm clock that he discusses using to build a bomb with and then takes out what he describes as "completed pipe bombs" from a Home Base bag taken from one of the desk drawers. He pulls out another Home Base bag filled with more pipe bombs he calls the "Beta batch", at which point Dylan mentions the "bunker". Dylan tries to film out the west window but it's too dark outside; all that records is the glare on the window.

Dylan: "You can't see it, it's buried there. That's why it's called a bunker."

Eric says there are "four mortar grenades, ten crickets, and three Alfa's." He then points out a blue spiral notebook that he calls his "journal".

Eric points out a blue spiral notebook that he calls his "journal". Eric opens another drawer, revealing a piece of the handle of one of their sawed-off shotguns. Also filmed in one of the drawers are two clocks which the boys describe as "future bombs". They show off a box of "crickets" -- small CO2 cartridges, duct taped with fuses.

Dylan turns the video camera toward the dresser that's against the west wall. Eric opens up a door and points out a "Hell dog drawing" taped to the inside of the door. He says it was given to him years ago. Next to it is a piece of paper on which is written an "Anarchist substitute ingredient list".

Eric goes on to describe a "25 pound bag of #8 buckshot" which is inside the dresser, but isn't shown on the tape. Eric then pulls out a BB rifle from what he describes as the hall closet (though it appears, on the tape, to be a closet in his room). He says this is where he keeps his shotgun. He also takes a box out of the closet and tells the camera that this is is his knife. From the box he pulls out a black-handled combat knife in a black sheath. He says that he paid $15 for it. Eric says there's a Swastika on the side and the camera zooms in to show the Swastika etched into the sheath.

On the east wall, adjacent to the bedroom door, the teens point out a coil of green wire that they call a "50 foot cannon fuse". They move to the bookcase on the east wall, talking about a "Demon Knight" CD case, which Eric opens to reveal a receipt from Green Mountain Guns for "nine magazines" of 9mm carbine rifle bullets that they purchased for $15 each. Eric then removes a CD rack to expose three large pipe bombs hidden behind it, which he calls the "biggest".

Eric then pulls out a black card box filled with "29 crickets" (more CO2 cartridge bombs). Eric then points to an area of the room (though the camera doesn't follow where he points) and describes a "coffee can in the corner which is full of gunpowder". The camera then focuses in on a black plastic box with the word "explosives" scratched into the side, sitting near the north wall of Eric's bedroom on the floor. Dylan mentions how Eric's parents took it away from him. Eric adds that they only took the pipe bomb out of it, and gave the box back. Inside the box the camera shows clock parts, fuses, tools, and CO2 cartridges.

They also tape a white plastic file case that holds "nails for pipe bombs, caps to be filled with gunpowder", two boxes of 9mm rounds (50 bullets in each), 12 shotgun shells in a box, another box of shotgun shells, clips for a gun, and webbing. "What you will find on my body in April," Eric tells the camera.

Later footage:

Dylan Klebold sits in a tan La-Z-Boy recliner in Eric's basement bedroom, chewing on a toothpick while Eric Harris messes around with the now-stationary video recorder. When he's done Eric moves to sit in another recliner with the bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey, and his sawed-off shotgun named "Arlene" on his lap. He takes a small drink and tries not to wince at the taste.

Eric: (in reference to the Oregon and Kentucky shootings) "Do not think we're trying to copy anyone. We had the idea before the first one ever happened. Our plan is better, not like those fucks in Kentucky with camouflage and .22s. Those kids were only trying to be accepted by others."

They go on to talk about how they hate all races: "niggers, spics, Jews*, fucking whites". They also mention enemies that abused them and friends who didn't do enough to defend them.
* [Dylan's family was Jewish.]

In one segment, Eric and Dylan spend more than an hour discussing their hatred for humanity and their fellow students, whom they vowed to kill. They name some of the classmates they hope to murder [It's unknown whether any of those students were killed or wounded during the assault].

A couple times during the rants Dylan has to warn Eric to talk more quietly so as not to wake Eric's parents who're sleeping upstairs.

Eric: "We need a fucking kick start. If we have a fucking religious war - or oil - or anything. We need to get a chain reaction going here. It's gonna be like fucking Doom man - after the bombs explode. Tick, tick, tick, tick... Haa! That fucking shotgun (he kisses his gun) straight out of Doom. Go ahead and change gun laws - how do you think we got ours?"

The boys talk about starting a revolution of the dispossessed.

Eric: "We're going to kick-start a revolution."

The teens discuss coming back as ghosts to haunt the survivors, to "create flashbacks from what we do and drive them insane," Eric tells the camera.

Eric: "You guys will all die, and it will be fucking soon! I hope you get an idea of what we're implying here. You all need to die! We need to die, too! We need to fucking kick-start the revolution here!"

Dylan: "The most deaths in U.S. history."

Eric: (kisses his shotgun) "Hopefully."

Dylan: "We're hoping. We're hoping. I hope we kill 250 of you. It will be the most nerve-racking 15 minutes of my life, after the bombs are set and we're waiting to charge through the school. Seconds will be like hours. I can't wait. I'll be shaking like a leaf."

Eric: "I hope people have flashbacks."

Eric: (making shooting noises while aiming his shotgun) "Isn't it fun to get the respect we're going to deserve? We don't give a shit because we're going to die doing it."

It's getting late; Eric looks at his watch and says it's 1:28 AM on March 15. Dylan says people will note the date and time when watching it.

Dylan: (predicting his parents' feelings of regret) "If only we could have reached them sooner, or found this tape."

Eric "If only we would have searched their room. If only we would have asked the right questions." (talks about his mother being thoughtful, bringing him candy and Slim Jims) "I really am sorry about all this."

Dylan: "They gave me my fucking life. It's up to me what I do with it."

Eric: (shrugs) "My parents might have made some mistakes that they weren't really aware of."

Dylan: (talks about how his parents taught him to be independent and self-reliant) "I appreciate that."

They talk about how they want movies to be made about their story. Eric says he wants the film to have "a lot of foreshadowing and dramatic irony". He mentions a poem he wrote where he imagined himself as a bullet.

Dylan: "Directors will be fighting over this story. I know we're gonna have followers because we're so fucking God-like. We're not exactly human -- we have human bodies but we've evolved into one step above you, fucking human shit. We actually have fucking self-awareness."

The boys speculate whether Steven Spielberg or Quentin Tarantino should direct the film.


March 18
Evidence item #265

The tape starts again and Eric and Dylan are once again in the Harris family living room. They state that it is March 18th, "in the middle of the night". They talk about "Echo and Delta" pipe bombs and whether or not they should put nails on them. They state that "religions are gay" and for "people who are weak and can't deal with life".

They say they need to discuss secondary objectives to place the bombs, places that are "out of the way". Dylan mentions a trail near Wadsworth, "by your old house" (7844 South Teller Court, according to Eric's home computer). They then talk about how they should "rig something up with a trip bomb between two trees, so when someone goes down the path it will go off." The boys then discuss the possibility of "placing time bombs down there". They mention it would be "harder and take more resources". They say, "This will add a few frags to the list" and that the "fucking fire department is going to be busy for a month".

They talk about a couple of people, one of whom Eric says he wants to "shoot in the groin area". They talk about someone named Jesse Gordon and "the Goof Troop". They then go on a racist tirade, talking about how that "nigger stopped us that day" and how black people talk in "Ebonics". They bash on "spics". Then the subject turns to bowling and how each individual in the bowling class has a designated culture group to use as a target on the bowling pins to kill, and that this helps them bowl better.

They talk about how "world peace is an impossible thing" and mention how you can look on the Internet to learn how to make "bombs, poison, napalm, and how to buy guns if you're underage". They also talk about how "Mrs. X-Y-Z bought our guns".

Eric and Dylan say that there are "only two weeks left, and one more weekend" and that "it is coming up fucking quick". They say the "napalm better not freeze at that certain person's house". They talk about "Chris' pizza's house" like they're trying to disguise a name and discuss "Yoshi" in a negative way. They say that they need a "lot more napalm" and may just use "gas and oil". They express concern that it will be tough, and opening the zipper may make it go off. They say they need some "back-ups". They talk about how the sprinkler system may "put out a fire" and Eric says he should possibly keep the battery out of the device, set the bag, put it in and leave so it doesn't "blow up in the commons".

They discuss credit card fraud; Eric raises his hand like he's admitting to having done it. Then they talk about "tests", saying: "We wouldn't be where we are without them." They talk about gas and oil and how it will be "one hell of a mental picture". They wonder about the possibility of people catching fire. The topic then shifts to graduation and how it will be a "graduation memorial service with lots of people crying". They theorize there will probably be a candlelight memorial.

Eric says he's got "100 bullets and 10 loaded clips", and that he needs lasers for his carbine.

Eric: (looking directly into the camera) "You're lucky it doesn't hold more ammo."

Dylan says he has a "50 round clip, two 36's, and a 24."

"There's a lot of shit to do." they say. They need to set up more propane bombs and get more containers. Dylan says he still needs to get his pants, fill his clips, and get his pouches to load shells in. They say they need "devices" for the propane tanks and they need more "bomb holders". Eric says they need to go to Radio Shack because he heard they had a "thing to increase the voltage" through a clock and speaker, igniting a solar igniter. Eric says that he'd tell people that he was doing special effects for a movie; "that will be a good excuse".

Insist the boys, "We are but we aren't psycho."

Dylan asks Eric if he thinks the cops will listen to the whole video. They then theorize that the video will be cut up into little pieces, and the police would only show the world what they wanted it to look like. Eric and Dylan said then that they wanted to distribute the videos to four news stations. Eric says he's going to his journal and send copies via email to distribute blueprints and maps. He then talks about "Tier" and calls it "My life's work", saying he wants to get it published. (Investigating officer Zimmerman recognized the term as "some of the direction type booklets for the video game Doom" which the officer took from Eric Harris's bedroom during the search warrant following the shootings.)