I don't normally reshare but this one snagged me.
I've been slowly but surely updating the Search Engine, both to include some of the newer pages that hadn't been added yet and also to make the rest easier to search for.
* Search Engine tips: It searches for every word you enter. The more common the word, the more pages you'll return. This can sometimes be good but put something like "the" in your phrase and a quick search becomes a 150+ results nightmare. Try to avoid using common words like "that", "of", "the", and similar unless they're parts of actual names and titles. Instead of "Photos of the victims of the Columbine shooting" try "victims photos".
Also: Spelling matters. If you search for "Colombine" here, you won't find anything. Spell it correctly and you'll find hundreds of pages. The Search Engine doesn't have the capability to guess at meaning like some certain bigger ones do. Hope this helps you in your search for knowledge.
Someone gave me a DVD converter in the hopes that I could use it to copy my Columbine-relevant VHS tapes to DVD. I tried to do just that and had no luck. Turns out that method of converting is tricky at best. From the reviews of various brands, it seems like over half of the people who try to do it can't make it work. I'm in that majority.
I did learn, however, that they now have DVD VCR recorder players that can copy both ways. Many folks on forums about the subject have said this is the most "headache-free" way to convert old VCR videos to DVD. Unfortunately these machines are not cheap and with the economy being what it is, this site's donations haven't been completely covering its costs recently so it may be a long time before I can save up to get one. If and when I do though I will make the content of those tapes (mostly interviews, memorials and day-of-the-event news footage) available to folks who contribute to the site's "stay on the web" fund.
Unrelated but still important: Tom Mauser's book release has been pushed back to May 1 as of this update.
Tom Mauser; Brooks Brown; books4.12.12
Tom Mauser is having a book published; its release date is set for 4-20 of this year. It will be called "Walking in Daniel's Shoes". In it Mr. Mauser details his family's experiences, from the day of their son's death to what they've dealt with since. Mr. Mauser told me that he's used this site's timelines in order to establish his own. It's always a pleasure to know when the collected info on this site has helped some researcher but knowing it's been useful to someone directly involved, that I've been able to help them even in a minor way, makes every minute of time spent data-collecting worth it. I only wish there was more I could do. When the book comes out I'll make Amazon links available here. You can read more about the details of the upcoming book at Daniel's memorial website.
In other site-related news, I've put up a page about Brooks Brown. I've been meaning to for ages but most of what I would say about Brooks he's said best in his book, No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine. I also find it difficult writing about people who are still living. This is because I don't wish to pester anyone who had to deal directly with the event so I don't try to make contact with them usually and because most folks who did live through it don't want to look for websites like mine. I would welcome the opportunity to talk to anyone who wants to about what happened but as I said... I really don't want to bring this to anyone who may want to put it behind them.
I had an interesting question from a site visitor in France and I thought I'd post the gist of my reply, in case anyone else is interested. It's an obscure bit of trivia: What was the weather like on April 20, 1999?
The weather was pleasant, clear and warm; a beautiful spring day. Excellent weather to sit outside to eat lunch. Too warm, really, for the leather dusters the shooters wore for their appearance.
The weather of April 21 was strange. The day started warm and sunny - like the day before. But when the shooters' bodies were brought out of the school that afternoon, an unseasonable blizzard started. The snow continued to fall through the night, burying memorials in the parking lot and neighboring park.
An April Fool4.2.12
Only April 2nd and already some idiot's gone and killed at least 7 people at the university he used to attend. I'm not going to bother printing who he is here. Anyone who really wants to find out about it (or any other modern violence) can easily find the information for themselves these days, thanks to how much the internet has grown up. Back when the shootings at Columbine happened, that wasn't the case. In the future I won't be going out of my way to blog about incidents such as these. It's just not worth my time to write about copycats who obviously just Don't Get It.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You better run, better run, outrun my gun
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You better run, better run, faster than my bullet
The chorus of "Pumped Up Kicks" has been floating in and out of my thoughts for days. That happens to me a lot: I'm a very musical person and often a tune or even just a few verses of a song will get stuck in my head for a while, kind of like a head cold.
A few days ago I heard about a 9 year old girl who was critically injured at school when a gun in another kid's backpack went off accidentally. She's expected to live but everyone is understandably traumatized. Then yesterday I heard about the kid in Ohio who went to school and shot several kids he used to be friends with. At the time 4 were injured, 1 was dead. As of this writing that number's now shifted to 3 dead, 2 injured. The suspect's in custody. Everyone is understandably traumatized.
And that song is still stuck in my head.
Armed 8th Grader Fatally Shot1.5.12
You can read the whole story here, if you're not already familiar with it. His parents are understandably upset at his death but they don't understand why lethal force was necessary. I posted a comment there that I'm going to paste here because it sums up well how I feel about the whole situation.
Anyone who goes to school in the USA knows there's been a "zero tolerance" policy since Columbine. Anybody bringing anything remotely gun-like into a school knows they're poking a stick into a hornet's nest. The fact that the boy walked into a classroom and punched another kid while school was in session is proof that a) he was dangerously unstable, even unarmed and b) he was deliberately instigating trouble by way of violence.People who knew him say they didn't know he was troubled, that he never acted like anything was bothering him. Obviously something was. Even if he was just "looking for attention" as some have speculated, why wouldn't he put down the gun when confronted with armed officers? The only times I've heard about people doing that, they were looking for Suicide By Cop. Looking at the bigger picture here, that's what this seems like too. So sad.
Happy New Year!1.1.12
I'm very happy to say that Maggie's surgery went well. We still have one more scan to get through in a couple of months before we can call her cured but so far all seems to be going as hoped. This has been the best Christmas present to all of our friends and family. I've been scared a few times in my life but I've never felt fear like what I felt when the surgeons wheeled my toddler off to the operating room. Even the most well-planned out procedures done by the most caring doctors can go wrong. Nobody's perfect. But, fortunately for us, everything seems on the right road. I'd like to thank those of you who've sent support her way. We all appreciate the positive energy. I hope your new year gets off to a good start too.
Kidney surgery for 4 year old11.9.11
I'll be offline starting November 14, for an indefinite period while my toddler, Maggie, undergoes surgery to correct Stage 3 reflux in both of her kidneys. Without this treatment she could suffer kidney failure, which could be fatal. She has an older cousin who had to have the same surgery when she was 2, who is doing fine today so we have high hopes for her recovery. As soon as she is fully recovered I will be back online to catch up on email and fill CD requests. I'll post here when I'm back.
Movies, Films and Plays9.28.11
I've updated this section of the website. I added relevant images and some back story where available. Fixed some broken links too.
On another subject, I heard that Hollywood's going to reboot/translate Kinji Fukasaku's Battle Royale, like they've done with films like Ju-On (The Grudge) and Ringu (The Ring). This makes me go 'hmm'.
I don't know if you're familiar with the movie but it's possibly one of the goriest things out of Japan not directed by Takashi Miike. The basic premise of the film is that Japan has a 'lottery' in which the winning class has to go to a remote island where they're fixed with electronic collars that can explode. They're all armed and sent out with instructions to kill or be kill. There can be only one winner. Just one survivor. All of it is televised on a reality show that all of Japan watches. I know all of this because I own the movie. I'm actually a real fan of it and the manga, though I didn't care for the sequel.
So why do I go 'hmm'? Because either Hollywood's going to have to drastically alter the plot and violence or there's going to be an outcry from parents who might see the film as encouragement for teen-on-teen violence. I like the film. I like Pet Sematary and many other horror films as well. I just don't think that America's ready for Battle Royale as it was designed to be told. Not in a mainstream sense. This is one reboot (of many) that I think shouldn't be made.
Professionally speaking, I do many things. Two things I do are build and program computers. As such, it's been nearly 10 years since I've had a computer completely die on me. Well, that streak's over. Mine went to sleep on me almost 4 weeks ago and wouldn't wake up again. I tried every trick in the book to get it to revive and even made up a couple. Nothing worked. I got a new computer about a week later but that's where trouble really started. My last computer was a Vista 64-bit machine. The new one (the one I'm writing this on) is Windows 7.
Who knew such incompatibility could exist?
Seriously, I haven't seen this much trouble with software since Windows ME. Frankly if Windows 7 wasn't so superior to Vista, I'd have wiped the drive and started from scratch. But really, it is. I'm admitting this grudgingly as someone who never wanted to migrate from XP to Vista. But the previous hardware I had came with it installed and Microsoft was phasing out XP support... but I digress. After several weeks of setbacks and problems I've finally got stuff fixed on this system so I can edit this site again (you would not believe the issues with that alone, from missing "Open with..." context menus to having to find a new FTP client). CD packages have been shipped. It's become painfully clear I'm going to have to purchase new label-making software. What I have is A) not being supported by its creator any longer and B) isn't compatible with Windows 7. Of course. Welcome to the future.
Back... with an Update8.6.11
I ended up being offline a bit longer than I'd planned. On the way back we decided to go through Roswell, NM to see what all the media hype's about. Roughly a half hour between Hobbs and Artesia I was unfortunate enough to witness a horrible accident. A tanker semi and a car hit head-on. The semi was in front of the car that was in front of mine. The car that hit it was coming from the opposite direction. The car sprayed all over the 3-lane highway. Fortunately no one in the wreck was killed. The driver of the car and his passenger were hurt badly but were both awake and able to talk to people. The driver's legs were trapped under the dashboard initially but he was able to pull them free. Truckers on the scene were able to put out a burgeoning engine fire and many people (myself included) called for help on our cellphones. I passed my phone to a trucker who happened to be a local. He was able to give the dispatcher exact directions to the middle of nowhere, where we were. I took the picture to the left while we were waiting for the emergency vehicles to arrive, to show my family why we couldn't just "go around" the crash. The car pieces were literally completely across the highway. Oncoming traffic had to re-route down an exit that happened to be right there. The semi had gone off the road and was taking up the whole side of the road next to an untraversable embankment. Traffic coming from my side was backed up for miles by the time we turned around to head back to Hobbs. As we went, we told everyone in the stopped lane who had their windows rolled down what had happened and how officers had told us it would be at least an hour before the road was clear.
We did eventually make it to Roswell. Unfortunately by the time we got there all hotels were booked up (thanks to military training in the area - for some reason the training facility has no barracks) and all of the tourist traps were closed for the night. We did see some aliens in downtown, sitting on the canopies of a few businesses. I didn't get a chance to take their pictures though so I guess we'll have to go back when it's not training time.
In other news, three Louisiana teens were detained by law enforcement for their involvement in a plot they called 'Day Zero', in which they planned to shoot students indiscriminately on the first day of school next Monday. They intended to kill themselves afterward. If convicted of conspiracy to commit terrorism, they could be held in juvenile detention until they're 21. Way to start the new school year, boys. Read more about it here.
I'll be offline for the next 2 weeks. If you're wanting to order CDs, please wait till after 8.3.11. All previous CD requests have been shipped. I hope everyone has a safe summer. Can you believe it's almost "back to school" time again?
Caylee's LawCaylee Anthony was missing for 31 days before anyone reported the disappearance to the police. Caylee's Law would require the guardian of a minor to report a disappearance within 24 hours. I encourage you to sign this petition to get this law rolling. The link leads to the official petition being talked about on the news, if you've been following the case.
I received a link from reader Will to some video footage he made of Littleton during the recent anniversary. The half-hour long video features Clement Park, Columbine and other sites. The footage is clear and sharp; the cloudy day made a very pretty backdrop. The background sound of windchimes and birdsong brings home the dichotomy of such a violent event in so tranquil a town. The second video is a little over 40 minutes long and features the Columbine Memorial at Clement Park. Thanks for sharing, Will.
Littleton, April 19, 2011
Clement Park 2011
Littleton Mall Bombs4.20.11
A man described as having graying hair and a silver mustache was seen on mall surveillance cameras placing 2 propane tanks and a pipe bomb in a stairwell. He tried to detonate them but was only successful at starting a small fire, which a maintenance man put out before calling authorities. The explosives didn't go off; no one was hurt. What a yahoo. Let's hope they catch him before he actually succeeds in hurting some innocent people.
More about it here.
Armed Texas Kindergartner Injures Self, 2 Others4.19.11
A 6-year-old Houston boy brought a loaded gun to his elementary school. It fell out of his pocket and went off, injuring him and 2 other kindergarteners, a boy and a girl, with shrapnel. Police are investigating how the child got a hold of the weapon.
Read more here.
Charter School Shooting4.13.11
Apopka, Florida, USA
Went a whole day without more nonsense. This time it's a shooting outside of Apopka Charter School for at-risk students. One person was injured. Three people are in custody. It's not known at this time whether anyone involed was actually a student at the school.
On another topic, I've disabled the Guestbook feature. The site that hosts it is going through some major changes and in the process they've broken it. I am not sure at this point whether I'm going to re-link it even if the host site does fix it. I know some of you use it to connect and chat with others about the subject of Columbine but I also know there are better-moderated forum sites with better features that are devoted to this subject so I'm not sure that it's necessary. We'll see what happens once they've got their stuff together.
If you've been here before you've probably noticed a slight change in the site's layout. In addition to a color change I'm trying to tidy the site up in general, fixing bits of broken code, updating old code and the like. Most of the site has already had the color change propogated but there may be a few pages here and there that have the old color scheme or just don't look quite right. Please be patient: This site is huge, with hundreds of pages to go through and very little free time to do it in. Hopefully by the end of the month everything should be streamlined and looking as it should. I'm also hoping to get some 'new' stuff up - things I've had sitting in my archive that want to be posted to the site. I'll post interesting updates as they happen.
And now for something (not quite so) different4.9.11
Alphen aan den Rijn, Holland
I've posted this as a special request from someone in the area. Saturday a lone gunmen, identified at this time as "Tristan V", opened fire at a shopping mall, killing 7 people and injuring 16 others before shooting himself in the head. The 24 year old shooter's victims were random and included children. A suicide note was found at the home of the shooter's mother. In the note he said he had also put explosives in several commercial areas around town but a thorough search found none. No motive for the shooting was offered in the note. The shooter had previous run-ins with law enforcement. When he stormed the mall, the shooter was described as wearing a black jacket and camouflage pants.
Read more here.
In the news today: A man confesses to an Alabama parking lot shooting that left an elderly woman dead, two women and a 4-year-old injured (read more here) and a 23-year-old man went to his old elementary school and murdered 9 girls aged 12-14 years before killing himself (read more).
Hard to believe a whole 'nother year has gone by.
A 16 year old boy, teased and bullied for years, has become an internet hero after standing up for himself when a bully attacked him in a 40-second video clip that was uploaded to YouTube. Casey, whose bullying included being called fatty and being duck-taped to a pole. After one too many attacks, the boy finally had enough. Years of anger built up and Casey snapped, bodyslamming his attacker to the ground. That ended the fight. Hopefully it will end the bullying once and for all. Millions are now cheering him on across the globe - the clip's been trended into all kinds of viral videos. Check out Casey's story yourself here: http://digitallife.today.com/_news/2011/03/21/6311716-emotional-interview-reveals-why-boy-bodyslammed-bully.
Christopher Franko Sentenced2.14.11
The teen would-be copycat has been sentenced to three to nine years in prison after admitting he plotted a Columbine-type assault on his former high school for the second time in three years.
Omaha School Shooting1.7.11
Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Just 7 days into the new year a 17-year-old student Robert Butler Jr. shot and killed assistant principal Vicki Kaspar at Millard South High School. He also critically injured principal Curtis Case. Butler, the son of an Omaha police detective, had been called out of class to discuss a criminal trespass citation he had received New Year's Day after he drove over the school's track and football field. He was escorted by security out of the building about an hour after the meeting but returned 3 and a half hours later and signed in to speak with the assistant principal again. He was in her office roughly four minutes before shooting her and the principal. Butler was seen by a security guard who recognized him when the teen was leaving the building after the shooting.
About an hour later Butler's car was found about 2 miles away, still running but the driver was dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The weapon belonged to Robert Jr's father. An update to Butler's Facebook page, posted soon before he returned to the school, said (unedited, including spelling errors): "Everybody that used to know me I'm sry. Omaha changed me and fucked me up and the school I know attend is even worse ur gonna here about the evil shit I did but that fuckn school drove me to.this I wont u guys to remember me for who I was b4 this ik I greatly affected the lives of the families I ruined but I'm sorry.goodbye."
Read more here.