I'm slowly but surely converting the site to more modern coding. I hope it'll actually show on the user side before the end of the year. In other news, the site will no longer offer single CD packages to folks who donate. The Post Office has made it too cost prohbitive to ship, especially overseas. Sorry about that.
Have a safe Falloween.
Greg Zanis, the fellow who crafted the original crosses for Columbine that stood in the park has crafted more crosses, this time for the victims of the shooting in Orlando.
My condolences to those affected by the Florida massacre. Props to the Florida cops who took out the gunman. My oldest kid was just in Orlando 2 weeks ago. It's a small world.
5.12.16I'm doing a complete site-wide redesign to bring the site up to current web standards and to make it more accessible on mobile devices. It's a change that will be enacted once the whole thing is done rather than page by page because I'm switching to ASP from HTML (for those that care about such things). I'll be working to make media easier to get to as well. Stay tuned.
Sue Klebold 20/20 Interview2.22.16 ABC 20/20 interviewed Sue Klebold. You can view it here if you missed it. Whether you agree with what's said or not, it's a stirring return to Columbine.
As a parent myself I can tell you it's hard to know when to butt in and when to step back and give a kid their space. What you believe to be trust and allowing them privacy, they might interpret as being ignored or a 'solved problem' who only gets attention when they're acting out. Going from "everybody gets a participation trophy!" to "do it on your own without recognition for doing your job" on reaching adolescence... It's harsh. We praise and dote on small children but hardly touch teenagers. One thing you hear about a lot of shooters: "He spent a lot of time alone". If we take nothing out of any of this, it should be that we shouldn't leave each other alone. Humans need other humans to keep us grounded in reality and in love with life.
That said, I've heard from the family of Judith Kelly, Dylan's Creative Writing teacher who is the one who received the violent essay mentioned in the story run in O Magazine and again in the 20/20 interview. According to the Kellys, Judith did tell both Sue and Tom (now divorced) about the essay "at length", despite what Sue claims. Judith even told investigators as much on May 4, 1999 when they came to interview her. You can see her statement in the Columbine Report here. You can find the actual assignment in Dylan's section. The family insists that Sue's account is just one version of what actually happened.
It's come to my attention that some of the CD packages I shipped out over the past couple of months have not reached their destination. Apologies for not getting on top of this sooner - managing my father's affairs has been a lot larger of a responsibility that it was for mom. I've been putting the heat on the Post Office I ship through as this has not only affected my outgoing mail but the incoming as well. They haven't been very helpful in telling me what's being done to investigate and prevent this so I've switched which station I'm shipping through. I can't imagine it's theft given the nature of the items going out but something's definitely not working the way it should there. I'm stuck with the PO Box till the contract is up.
Happy New Year1.1.16
Welcome to the new year. Hope it finds you in good health.
For the new year I've gotten a new computer. I didn't want to but my old one decided to die and took out part of our network in the process somehow (long story). I've finally gotten things up and running again. I'm looking at overhauling the site to update it for better mobile viewing now that I've gotten that project done. Stay tuned.
My father passed away Sunday the 18th. He would've been 82 this November. His birthday was a day after mine. This will be the first time ever I haven't shared my birthday with him. Both he and my mother died due to complications of lung cancer. The church my father went to has had 6 deaths the past month including his. 5 out of those 6 were from cancer. My uncle died from renal cancer a few years back. My grandmother and aunt on my mom's side both had breast cancer. Pretty scary stuff.
I am still getting caught up on email. Please forgive the lapse. It's been tough managing things these past few months with both parents suffering from similar slow collapses. All CDs have been shipped. Folks in the continental USA should see them in the next few days. Overseas will take longer but they are on their way.
To honor my father's wishes, any remaining donations beyond the site's bill this month will be donated to the High Sky Children's Ranch foster program in Texas.
In dealing with the loss of my mother I found this chart interesting. It's not a set-in-stone path; though the grief cycle tends to go this route, a person may wander in and out of all stages even after they're well on the road to 'normal'. I quote this because 'normal' isn't something you go back to. Life is always going forward. When someone you love dies, you make room in yourself for that loss. It doesn't go away. You just learn to adapt to it.
It's been sixteen years.
Think about that for a minute.
The youngest victim at Columbine would be 31 today if he'd lived.
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold would be 34.
Many of the survivors are married now and have school-aged children of their own.
Most of the kids who now write me about doing papers on Columbine weren't even born when the shooting happened. It's textbook history to them.
Thanks for remembering Columbine.
JEFFCO DESTROYED BASEMENT TAPES2.15.15
You read right: The Basement Tapes are gone.
Sheriff Ted Mink decided back in 2011 that the tapes were too risky to keep around so he secretly had them destroyed.
If that wasn't enough he also decided that the rest of the evidence from the Columbine shootings was too inflammatory too so he had that destroyed as well. Yep: Weapons, bullet casings, everything.
It's all gone. Just like it never happened.
So why are we only hearing about it now, when it happened in 2011??
I generally try to keep my feelings off this site but I'm going to say straight up: This pisses me off. I haven't been this upset about Columbine since 2000. The fact that they did it on the sly on 2011 only makes it worse. I can't even string together a proper analysis of this development, I'm so upset. So I'm going to cut this short for now and just give you the link so you can read the details for yourself. I'll post more when I'm composed enough to share my thoughts without it devolving into a rant starring several four-letter words.
I don't often comment about other school shootings anymore but I have to say that this one just confuses me. I'll be watching for more details but it just doesn't make sense. Here's a kid who was the Homecoming Prince two weeks ago. Popular. Gunned down people others describe as "good friends" of his. While there's been some suggestion that he might have had a recent encounter with a bully, that wouldn't seem to explain why he would suddenly pull out a gun and start shooting his friends.
And, as ever, the question that remains is... Why?
Washington state shooting details
Sorry about that spot of downtime. Seems the 'auto-renew' button got unchecked and, of course, this SNAFU had to happen during a holiday weekend while I was out of town. Murphy's Law. Sorry if the outage scared anyone. Everything should be back to normal now.
I noticed a couple of off-site video hosts went down so I updated the Sounds and Video page. Never fear - I have archived backups of the videos that were lost. Also, I added some information about the Fire Department training tape as I noticed I'd neglected to put that on the page. Sorry about that.
Most months this site brings in just enough to pay the costs associated with hosting the website online. Some months, the cost falls entirely on the webmaster. On the rare occasion that it pulls in a little extra beyond what it needs to stay up, I put the overage toward a charity cause. This past month I was able to pass a small amount on to a worthy cause: The battle against childhood cancer. In this case, it went to a fund-raiser that is trying to get a "backpack IV" made for distribution to children with cancer. Kids with cancer often have to lug around a bulky, inconvenient IV pole with wires that they trip on. Some kids who have to move on crutches always have to have someone push the IV for them.
11-year-old Rhabdomyosarcoma survivor Kylie Simmonds designed a "backpack IV" with kids in mind. It would make the IV more portable and turn it into something even those on crutches could carry themselves, giving them more independence and mobility. In short, it would bring them one big step closer to being able to enjoy more that childhood offers a healthy child.
I encourage you to check out this campaign and, if you can, help support it by donating. After all, if a guy can raise $50K to make potato salad, a girl trying to help other victims of cancer should be able to raise $20K for a life-changing IV backpack. Here's the link to the campaign: http://www.gofundme.com/bz01ds. Here's more about Kylie and her award-winning idea: Tween cancer survivor invents chemo backpack.
Still working on getting the left-hand side of the pages fixed up. I'm starting to think about moving it all into a single include file to make future edits easier. I'm also toying with the idea of converting the whole site to PHP. It's worked well for other sites I work on. We'll see.
In other news, I was sent a link by a reader who found a documentary about Columbine that has a picture of Isaiah Shoels in it that hasn't been all over the media. I haven't actually seen the whole documentary yet so I can't vouch for the actual content but the pic's legit. You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvORsTiuUqM.
One of the earliest news broadcasts following the shootings. It's over 12MB so it may take a while to download. You can find a whole bunch of other clips on the CDs I offer to folks who donate.
On the 15th of April, just 5 days before the anniversary of the Columbine tragedy, there will be a "blood moon". It's a lunar eclipse that turns the moon a rusty red shade.
I'm updating my XML sitemap. I have 334 pages indexed so far. I had no idea the site had grown so big. All told, there are more than 500 pages and text documents here. I don't know what's more amazing: The fact that I've managed to compile that many or that you have the patience to find and read them all.
That said, I cleaned up the Films section and added some pertinent links.
In unrelated news, Easter falls on April 20th this year.
I finally got Wayne Harris' diary clipped from the Columbine Report and posted on this site. You can see it here. I did update Eric's page with a paragraph of information about his father's diary. I noticed while I was doing this that several of the screenshots of Eric's journals and rants have degraded over the years so I'll be working to replace them with easier-to-read copies in lossless format images.
Petition to Release the Basement Tapes2.21.14
I was made aware that there is a petition online that will be forwarded to Jefferson County, asking them to release the Basement Tapes to the public. I don't know that it will do any good but I signed it regardless. If you want to add your name to the list, here is the petition: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/release-the-basement.
I've updated the Aftermath section and tidied up this front blog a bit. For those who've never been here before: This front page is just where I post updates. If you're looking for actual information about Columbine please use the links above or the search box or to the left there.
So apparently I already made a Twitter account... roughly 5 years ago. I just forgot it was there. https://twitter.com/acolumbinesite if you're interested. I will try to update it more regularly than once every 5 years. Wow. How time flies.
I've gotten 7 hours of news footage converted into video clips on 2 CDs, free if you help keep this site online. Find out how here.
If you noticed an outage recently, sorry about that. There was a glitch with my host. All's well again (as you can see). I'm planning to get a Twitter account soon so I can post there when stuff like this happens.
Friday the 13th12.13.13
All I'm going to say about today is that I feel badly for anyone who had to work at Littleton Adventist Hospital today. They received at least one victim from the Denver shooting today, nearly 15 years after they had to treat several of Columbine's victims. What a depressing legacy.
Success. After several weeks of wrestling and wrangling and, yes, a little swearing, I'm finally able to convert the news footage to internet-worthy video clips. It's taking a minor eternity to cut, join and convert all the footage but I hope it'll be worth the wait. As of now I have 36 different news clips equalling about 4 hours. Once I've gotten them all converted I'll make them available to you. It's amazing... In an age where scientists can clone sheep, I had a devil of a time getting software that would convert and clip/join videos without tremendous loss of quality or sound.
I'm tweaking the site layout a little to make it a little more mobile-friendly. I'm not big into mobile web browsing myself but I know a lot of folks are so hopefully the site'll be a happy medium on just about any machine. In other news, I've gotten 8 hours of news footage converted to digital files. I'm working on clipping them now. It's a slow process since every video editing software I've tried to use to do this has had some fatal flaw in it that made it useless for this. One that I tried killed the sound completely and another threw it out of synch with what was playing. I'm tweaking settings and such but it's an uphill battle.
Search at Last! and...10.8.13
I know the Search feature of the site's been less than thrilling for a while. After a few months of searching and testing and wrangling and even a little swearing, I've finally got a Search feature that works without me having to program everything by hand. It's Google. It's fast. It seems accurate. My site's been crawled by theirs since Google first was born (yeah, this site predates Google - talk about a dinosaur!) so it makes sense it'd find everything nice and easy.
When I tested it I tried searching for names first then ideas. I tried the phrase "who said yes?" and came up with all relevant answers. I hope this helps you find what you're looking for. Give it a go. The search bar's over there to the left.
NOTE: You may need to add aColumbineSite.com to your pop-up blocker in order for the Search feature to work. My site doesn't have any pop-up ads - the Search results just open in a new window.
In other news, I was able to get a piece of converter software so I can break the DVD conversions up into the smaller files. Once I get them broken up into pieces I'll be making them available. Woo! A big thanks goes out to the wonderful people whose donations helped pay for the hardware and software needed for the conversions.
Also! Sorry about the broken Brooks Brown page. I fixed it and updated it. The Guerra documents link works now too. Big oops there. Don't know how that got so mangled.
More News of the News9.30.13
Here's the scoop: I've transferred 8 hours of news footage to DVD. The quality of the original deteriorated somewhat over the years so it's a little fuzzy and the sound's not HD but you can hear and see everything that's onscreen. The clips include footage from the day of the shootings that was re-aired the next day, starting when the news crews got there - about the time students were being released from the teacher's lounge. Also includes interviews with Brooks Brown, Michael Shoels (victim Isaiah's father), memorial services and other stuff. There's a lot in 8 hours, and most of it's very depressing or otherwise upsetting so I wouldn't recommend watching it straight through unless you have to for work or something. You can find information about how to get the DVDs here.
News of the News9.25.13
I was able to successfully hook things up. It actually went so easy I was sure I did something wrong. But everything's good to go and I've been transferring stuff onto DVD. Right now I'm burning the 6th one and I haven't even finished converting the first tape. So. I think the next step will be to convert the DVDs to video files, chop them into specific segments (there are a LOT of clips and stuff) so I can at least get them up on the site for you guys to see. I'm going to see about collecting the conversions onto CDs, which should take up a lot less space, but I really don't know if it'll be practical or cost-effective to try and offer this batch on DVD.
One of the problems I'm having is the quality. The VHS tapes have deteriorated over time - part of why I'm converting them. The quality varies depending on the original broadcast quality in the first place. Age has added a little noise distortion. The sound is a little muddy. I have to record from the tapes at highest quality to DVD to keep the footage from getting even worse. Maybe once I've made the initial conversions I'll find a way to duplicate them at lower quality without losing quite so much. But the DVDs I've made so far do look and sound exactly like the stuff coming off the tapes so that is a success. It's just unfortunate I can only fit 1 hour of footage on a single DVD.
Bear with me, folks. I know some of you have been waiting years to see some of this stuff, again or for the first time. Hopefully I'll have it up within the next couple of weeks.
I got a hold of a used DVD upconverter, at last. What it is: A machine that will turn my old home videos on VHS into DVD. I've got about 5 tapes of stuff here that was recorded in 1999 and 2000, following the shootings. Once I have everything converted I'll post information on how you can get copies. I have to rework my television set up to include the upconverter, which will take about a day thanks to the labyrinth of wires I have to negotiate. More as it develops.
I noticed today that the page translator I've had on my site for a while has gone belly-up or something. It's slowing everything to a crawl. So I'll be taking the translator off. It's a hold-over from before there were sites like translate.google.com. If you run into a page that won't load right, come back in a couple of days. It should be fixed by then.
In other news, both of my parents have been diagnosed with cancer. My dad has cancer on both lungs and my mother has to have a breast removed. They've been divorced for years and don't even live in the same state so this has made caring for them a bit tricky. I am getting to email as I can. I appreciate the patience.
New Look and 9114.16.13
Year 14. It's been a while since I changed the site's look so I made this the year. There may still be some sub-sub-pages that haven't been fully converted to the new look but it shouldn't interfere with anything. If things look funny, try refreshing your browser or clearing your cache. Firefox needed me to refresh before it showed things correctly.
As for 911... I received a link to a video clip from a reader. It appears to be an unreleased portion of the 911 call Patti Nielson made from the library while the shooters were in it. I've listened to the audio and it sounds legitimate. It also has 2 pages that look like they're from the same files as the Columbine Report. They contain additional transcript that follows the portion that I have posted, which is cut off where people start dying. This also looks real, in my opinion. What's said in the transcripts matches what I've researched and what's there that I haven't seen before matches the MO of the shooters. I understand the way this was obtained was an officer let a reporter listen to the audio and the reporter recorded it. The officer's voice is the one you hear in the foreground. I know that same sort of leak happened with the Basement Tapes and the photos of the shooters dead in the library, so I'd believe it could happen with this as well.
I've copied the transcripts for ease of reading. They are exactly like the tiny ones in the video clip, right down to dropped caps and weird punctuation. In some instances the multiple ...'s mean that something's happening that couldn't be made out by the original transcriber. I'm not sure they all mean that though. At the end of the 2nd page where Dylan says "One more thing" and there's a sound of something smashing -- that's the chair he slammed down on the circulation desk. Also, it would seem that Daniel Mauser died trying to be a hero. From the transcript it sounds like he tried to take Eric by surprise and got caught.
Below you'll find the transcripts. Click on them to see larger, easier-to-read sizes. Please be advised that they are graphic. I've also included a link to the video clip. Again, it's not something for everyone. Please be careful playing it around others.
"Speak to the king within the man and within the man the king will appear."
I've long believed that we will find what we look for -- in each other, in what surrounds us, in life. If you look for good in a person, in most instances, it can be can found. Sad that this quote comes from Travis Alexander, a young man whose ex-girlfriend is now on trial for his murder.
A big-hearted man in the Sandy Hook neighborhood provided shelter for several of the kids and a bus driver. He said the kids told him they couldn't go back to the school because their teacher was dead. All of the kids were crying and upset. And in the midst of the despair one of the boys managed to compose himself long enough to tell the man: "Just sayin'... but your house is really small!"
God, I love kids.
Well. Crap. Just.. bah.
Check CNN if you don't know. Bah.
Next weekend, on the 21st, the Earth and the Sun will align with the Milky Way's center (NASA says otherwise). The 5th baktun will officially end (though some would say that it ended when the Information Age began). According to Mayan tradition, the sentient people of the world will be more enlightened and socially conscious. I wonder.
On a more cyber level, apparently I broke a couple of links in Dylan's section the last time I was updating it. If you encountered missing writing of his, it should be there now. You may need to refresh your browser.
In other news, I got an email from a reader who asked me about the forensics of the crime scene. I wrote them an explanation of the investigation as it rolled out while I was watching it on the news. I know some of you would be interested in a quick summary (as opposed to the lengthy one in the Event section. So I thought I'd paraphrase it here. Skip it if you don't care or if you find criticism of law enforcement a tender topic.
I was glued to the news broadcasts and internet reports back then. There was live coverage of Columbine pretty much around the clock if you knew where to look. From the moment the SWAT took over, the law side of things got very scared. They took a long time creeping through the school because they had the bomb squad go ahead of them and clear every inch before they'd move forward. It took forever. Live coverage of the event got very tedious. Which is why so much incorrect "news" came about during that time: Reporters had to say -something- while they were waiting.