Updated: May 28, 2022
It is customary in America, every few months or so, for someone to shoot up a school or workplace. These events have become so frequent as to be unremarkable and forgettable; each event blurs into the other and is forgotten within the week. These events are normality, nothing more or less—even the occasional event that targets young children can only garner so much attention; and, indeed, these events have also become routine. I have a hunch that if these events happened in the 1970s, when the scientific sensibility was still quite strong, that we would see an attempt to tie the shooters to seasons—to phases of the moon or to sunspots—in order to uncover the “occult regularities” that govern such actions. We have become less creative, so that the explanations always fall back on “mental health” and America’s perennial gun law debate—although I have a hunch that there are fewer shooters in winter, yet that holds true for all crimes; nobody, even with mass murder on his mind, likes to get his little pinkie winkies all chilly-willy.
As aficionados will be quick to point out, the massacre at Columbine was far from the first such “active shooter” event in American history—nor even, on the global level, the most horrific. In Britain, in 1996, a child molester and scout master (the two phrases are really synonymous) murdered sixteen children at a primary school in Dunblane, Scotland—America had to wait until Adam Lanza and Sandy Hook before the primary school massacre really came on the scene; but the Scotch have always been dark, never more than a dram or two away from a highland massacre. Before high schools were the standard target, a mass shooting in America was known as “going postal”—there was even a video game with that very name—because such shootings, workplace shootings, tended to be committed by employees of the US Postal Service (perhaps a haven for American misanthropists, if Charles Bukowski is anything to go by—jolly old Cliff from Cheers notwithstanding).
Yet it was with Columbine that the modern mass shooting as we know it today really began; it happened in 1999, it was a millennial event—it set the tone for the new era to come. People forget now, but at the turn of the millennium there was considerable excitement about what was to come: there was some vague speculation—thanks to the “Millennium bug” non-event, a supposedly fatal calendrical error in the world’s computers—as regards “the end of the world”; or, at the very least, a new dawn in man’s psyche. Columbine also spawned Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine (2002), a smug and sentimental film about the massacre that advocated for gun control—and so launched Moore’s mainstream career. If we leave the fat bastard aside, Columbine became a paradigm for what was to follow; even today, over twenty years on, mass shooter events fit “the Columbine model”; for a time the media would always reference Columbine, but as the death tolls have increase and memories fade “Columbine” has become a shadow event.
I think what makes Columbine a paradigm for the modern mass-shooter event is that it involved mental alienation, inexplicable motives, and the murder of young people; previously, “going postal” could be connected by most reasonable adults with workplace stress, petty disputes, and resentment over redundancies: “Fuck you, Clive. Fuck your P267 request. Fuck this job.” “Paul, Paul where are you going? Now let’s step into my office and talk about…Oh my God, he’s got a gun!” With Columbine the focus shifted to young people and motives that were more esoteric, unfathomable.
People alive when Columbine happened will recall that much aspersion was cast on the singer Marilyn Manson, who, in retrospect, very much captured that late-1990s vibe—dark cyber punk, The Matrix, Goths with long black fingernails, and early dial-up (krrrrr-ping-ping-ping); and this was characteristic as regards the “inexplicable” nature of the crimes—as the cliché runs, “They were bright teenagers with their entire futures ahead of them...” Hence, surely, the blame must lie with Marilyn Manson—his very name a portmanteau of Charles Manson and Marilyn Monroe; murder and suicide, sadism and masochism, male and female.
Less remarked upon, more salient to my mind, is the fact that the cartoon South Park—then newly dominant, everyone at my school had a little “Kenny” doll and “Aw my Gawd, you killed Kenny,” resounded down the hallways—was set in and developed by Colorado natives. In other words, if you want to understand the mentality of young men at a Colorado high school circa 1999 you would probably do better to watch South Park than to listen to Marilyn Manson. South Park is, after all, just male adolescent humour carried on indefinitely—complete with maximum grossness (another phrase that dominated from 1998 to 2004, era of the “gross-out” comedy) and extravagant, nay cartoonish, violence (Kenny impaled on the school flagstaff this week, perhaps).
What is South Park? Unlike The Simpsons (sentimental) or Family Guy (arch), South Park is seedy and vicious. It is typical to have a character sat in his faux-wood-panelled room, hunched over early dial-up, ready to pleasure himself to gimp-mask turkey porn (an idea that adolescent boys would find funny) only for his climax to be so extreme that he ends up with cum globules all over his checked lumberjack shirt—at that moment his wife, accompanied by several other upstanding community members and led by a supposedly innocent South Park kid, enters the room. Recriminations and awkward excuses follow. “Eric? Dylan? What have you kids been looking at on AOL?” “Nothing, Mom.”
Well, technically not looking at anything—just posting a few Doom levels and spitting out my Nietzschean manifesto about how I hate the human race and everyone needs to die, die, die…Indeed, South Park is also Nietzschean and very white—rather Aryan, in fact. If you watch the show, there is one black character and he appears in a very subordinate role—a chef who is very sexual and sings (“Tha negro is known for his musical abilities, his sexual desire, and his cheerful work demeanour in his simple tasks.”). The Jewish characters are very much foregrounded as Jews, very visible as such—whereas Hollywood usually tones down Jewishness; indeed, as Jack Kerouac once remarked, while drunk and so accidentally telling the truth on the William F. Buckley show, “That’s the standard answer, isn’t it? Name them.” The queers are also very much foregrounded as well, in stereotypical form as limp-wristed pederasts; if I say, “Mm’kay,” then you know what I mean—if you are of a certain age.
South Park is very much, to deploy the slightly unconventional orthography used to represent the word’s pronunciation by the refined white nationalist Jared Taylor, a hwyte world. It is a mountainous snow world where people have secrets—quite often squalid secrets—and where cartoonish violence is very funny, along with utter grossness; remember that South Park brought us “Mr. Hanky, the Christmas Poo”, an animate turd that showed his affection for the children by smearing himself all over them—only to leave little brown dabs about the cheeks. Again, this is the mind of the fourteen-year-old male fully animated.
For a brief period, as often happens when conservatives attempt to be “down with the yoof”, there was talk that there was such a thing as a “South Park Republican”—supposedly a free-wheeling libertarian who was down with profanity, sex, and drugs (of course, a real libertarian, a Hoppe or a Hayek, would deny such decadent indulgence has anything to do with liberty). Nonetheless, there is a grain of truth in the association: The Simpsons is a very progressive cartoon, with perfect-pants little Lisa and hopeless dad Homer; and Family Guy is almost The Simpsons crossed with South Park—The Simpsons for college students, after all the cartoon’s real audience surrogates are the arch and superior Baby Stewie and Brian the cocktail-drinking dog. South Park is much harder, bleaker fare—bleak like Colorado, I suspect. Indeed, an early project by South Park co-creator Matt Stone was a musical called Cannibal! about Alfred Packer, a pioneer turned cannibal. Now this is Colorado, this is The Oregon Trail—“Your wagon is stuck in Arollo Pass this winter and your grain has run out, press ‘1’ to eat your children or ‘2’ to eat your wife.” Unlike the other kidult cartoons, South Park is not urban—the characters are little frontiersmen, albeit little frontiersmen who live in technology world and so have turkey-gimp porn on dial-up.
Cultural context can only take us so far, concretely Eric Harris was a psychopath with narcissistic tendencies. He was definitely the leader, the alpha male in this operation—and, in fact, he took the lion’s share of kills that day. My view is that his accomplice, Dylan Klebold, should be regarded as innocent in essence—Klebold was pretty much Harris’s puppet. So the cunning Harris arranged a diversionary explosion before the main attack on the school—partly this was to distract the police, but it was also a zero-casualty action to rope the ambivalent Klebold into the main event; once they set off that bomb, even though there were purposively no casualties, Klebold would be psychologically committed to the main event. As a genuine psycho, Harris knew how to rope people into his schemes by increments and double-binds—a trait he shared with Charles Manson.
The basic dynamic between the two boys was sadism-masochism: Harris was the sadist (masculine), Klebold was the masochist (feminine). In accordance with this division, Klebold’s private journals record suicidal thoughts and endless love hearts for a girl he totally crushed on (to use the high school vernacular)—by contrast, Harris’s journals contained vitriol against the human race as such, precise records as regards his experiments with explosives, and observations about natural beauty.
The ultimate division: Aryan and Jew—just to hit you with the most controversial part right up. My view is that Harris instantiated a Gnostic warrior-like Aryan archetype, whereas Klebold, whose mother is Jewish, reflected a priestly our-Father-who-art-in-Heaven Hebraic archetype. Indeed, this Colorado combination is also instantiated in South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone—the dissident Mormon who decided to let rip with vulgarity as only renegades from a terribly strait-laced world can do, and his Jewish sidekick with an interest in cannibals. The South Park creators are Harris and Klebold without the murderous edge—just slightly more stoned and laid back.
In line with the Aryan-Semite division, Harris venerated nature from a young age—although his primary interest, classic psychopathic pyromania, related to fire and explosives; his first memory was July 4th fireworks. However, he worshipped nature—lakes and rocks—in an inhumanist Robinson Jeffers fashion; he worshipped nature because it was not human, it had purity—and he despised the suburbanites who egotistically fouled up the lakes and mountains every weekend. Klebold, by contrast, always spoke in his journals about a God who might be “out there”—the personal Jewish God, Jehovah; it took a while for Harris to manipulate him to adopt his more Gnostic approach: “We are Gods”—i.e. we are nature knowing itself, the “our-Father-who-art-in-Heaven” is an illusion or just one personification of nature among many.
What united these disparate boys was Doom; they could both match each other on the original shoot-‘em-up—although it is often said video games have no influence on shooters, personally I think this defies common sense. The boys honed their skills on Doom very finely and developed their own levels—along the way, they played Quake and Duke Nukem 3D as well…nobody can forget the thrill at age twelve when your classmate showed you how if you approach a stripper on Nukem and press spacebar she opens her little spangled bra and waves pixel-nipples in your face—I can still feel the acute ache down the front of my body, the forbidden….<<“Quick, your Mom’s coming.”>> Doom is, of course, set in Hell; and the boys identified Columbine with Hell itself—their fellow students with demons; the game was a simulator for the actual event: either to slay legitimate demons, if you sympathise with the boys—or to lead them literally into Hell, if you don’t.
The reason the boys could both match each other on Doom was that they were both ferociously intelligent: reaction time correlates with intelligence, so to find a player who could match you on Doom meant to find someone as intelligent as yourself—Harris dominated online Doom, but he was fortunate that his community was a hwyte one; and it offered, in its selectiveness, more opportunities for peers than the whole, then relatively parochial, online world. In particular, it attracted people—people like his father, in fact—who worked for the defence industry as statisticians and programmers; the elite of the white-collar elite.
I say it was a ”community” because the area the boys lived in was itself interstitial and provisional, not a town or a village: it is near Denver and is technically designated as “Littleton”, but this itself covers quite a large postal area—the boys lived in a locality constructed in the 1970s, constructed partly to accommodate hwyte flight from bussing, that took its name from the most prominent local institution—the high school, Columbine. The school’s mantra is “We are Columbine”; and, in fact, this goes for the whole area—they are Columbine. With this in mind, you come to see how Harris and Klebold’s strike at the school was really a strike at the whole suburban area as such—not just one school among many.
So it was within this smarter-than-average community that Harris found his match. However, I suspect that Harris was smarter than Klebold and also had a tilt towards visuospatial intelligence; his father had been, after all, Major Harris—an airforce test pilot, an elite occupation where one is required to be ice cool (psychopathically cool, in fact). Klebold’s father, by contrast, had originally studied sculpture and had married outside his race, married a Jewish woman—you already see the personality differences, more open to experience and less martial. Indeed, the Klebold family comes across as warm and basically soft, whereas the Harrises are imperious and aloof. The difference can be detected in the post-massacre communications from both families:
“Our thoughts prayers and heartfelt apologies go out to the victims, their families, friends, and the entire community. Like the rest of the country we are struggling to understand why this happened and ask that you please respect our privacy during this grieving period.”
“We want to express our heartfelt sympathy to the families of all the victims touched by this tragedy. Please say prayers for everyone touched by these terrible events.”
I think you have already worked out, given the above information, which communication came from the Harrises and which from the Klebolds—the latter is curt and military, a definite communique; and, indeed, quite cold in the circumstances—analytical to the last. “A negative event has occurred in this family unit and we will now evaluate our operational situation and update our procedures for this unit. These will be implemented 07:00 Zulu. End.” This was very much how Harris, who was in serious trouble with the police long before the massacre, was parented; his father would make analytical statements about the situation, reflect, and then implement his actions—all very OODA loop, very cold; the icy warrior among the Colorado peaks.
This is why I say Harris was Aryan: he was Eric the Viking, a Harris hawk, a Natural Born Killer—the tag he adopted for the team, NBK. Meanwhile, Dylan was name after Dylan Thomas, the sodden and emotionally volatile Welsh poet—and his brother was named after Lord Byron. Dylan’s name reflected the same sensibility as a fellow Jew, Bob Dylan (Zimmerman)—he also took his name from Dylan Thomas. The families were divided not only down racial lines, Aryan-Semitic, but also by the intelligence type each embodied—scientific-technical and artistic. Indeed, in accordance with his poetic-artistic nature Klebold tended to have emotional outbursts when caught out by teachers, whereas the android Harris cooly evaluated the situation and produced a plausible lie to avoid detection (lies that would later be parsed in his notebooks, very analytical—debrief from the mission: engage, learn, overcome. Semper Fi).
In social terms, Harris was known to be successful with girls; he was considered an anomaly because he was “smart and popular”—not on any sports teams, but not a pure nerd. This was down to his psychopathy; he would approach girls in malls and charm them—he was a glib charmer, the classic psychopath. He even managed to sleep with a twenty-three-year-old, despite being seventeen. This might seem like an odd achievement, but you have to think yourself back to secondary school where “jailbait” allure does not apply: girls your own age or younger are unsophisticated—still half-children, still trying to master makeup (often to comic effect); in these particular circumstances, the older college girl has a situational erotic allure—as, indeed, do the younger teachers (looking at you, President Macron). Yet to achieve this feat, as with his cold approaches in the mall, showed a certain disregard for social norms—another typical psychopathic trait; and, indeed, if Harris was rejected—or insulted—he took it as an affront and felt it acutely; he was narcissistic, and carefully recorded all the girls who ever rejected him (who therefore deserved to die, a touch of fellow narcissist Elliot Rodger here).
Klebold, by contrast, was known to offer girls cookies to indicate that he liked them—and he was, in the presence of Harris’s college prize, too shy to even speak. He fixated on one girl in particular, and in his journal before he died spoke about them being “together”—united in eternity. Yes, being named after a poet he was what the PUAs call “a beta with oneitis”, whereas his compatriot was an “alpha” who saw women much in the same way as he saw his explosives experiments—objects to be manipulated and used for his gratification. The typology fits in with the sadist-masochist divide: Klebold was a suicidal depressive, depression is unexpressed anger; hence he sat and dreamed and dreamed about the “one girl” and ruminated about “soulmates” (it was the ‘90s, you had to be there), all the time filled with self-loathing and despair—at the same time, he mulled whether or not there was a loving entity, “God”, out there to rescue him.
Harris, on the other hand, completely externalised his anger—he hate the world, the morons; he acted on the world to achieve concrete goals, and often carried out petty night-time revenge attacks on people who crossed him—a paintball splatter here, a toilet roll there...There was no God coming to help him, no sentimental attachment to “the one”—the one God, the one girl.
The boys recorded themselves for video production classes and before the attacks in a series known as “the basement tapes”. In these films, Klebold takes the lead and some would say he is the ringleader: this is because he was the shy artistic type who, once he warmed up before the camera, could be very emotionally expressive—poetic, even. Harris remained inert before the camera, simply because, as a psychopath, he did not understand emotions and found it hard to improvise and mimic the appropriate responses on the spot.
Nevertheless, with his cold and analytical eye, Harris was always “the director”—Hitchcock with his actors, his “cattle” as he called them. Harris would brush and fiddle with the camera as it recorded, just to make sure you, the viewer, knew who set up the shots and orchestrated the grand plan—a director with narcissism, with a need to put himself in the picture (just like Hitchcock with his cameos). Klebold, for all his on-camera emotional bluster, would glance at Harris after his little outbursts against the “stupid herd” to check with the director that the lines had been delivered correctly and with appropriate force.
The camera’s cold eye objectivises, just as Harris objectivised his school. His basic worldview was Nietzschean-Darwinian: vaccines, sanitation, and general technological improvements have preserved the weak and stupid for too long—nature needed to winnow out the herd, Eric Harris was the hand of nature; he was here to restore balance. Nietzscheans will jump up and object that Nietzsche was not Darwinian and they would be right about that—except the above “social Darwinist” take on Nietzsche is not an uncommon one, not unlike HL Mencken’s Nietzsche, and would also be the most likely interpretation for a very bright teenager to develop (remember most teenagers get nowhere near Harris; he quoted Medea, Shakespeare, and spontaneously developed “Mencken’s Nietzsche” on his own at seventeen).
Then again, intelligence is not knowledge: Harris had consumed plenty of books about Hitler, knew about natural selection from his science classes, and had a smattering of Nietzsche—it was not hard to put together a “winnow the herd through natural selection” view spontaneously; if he had lived and read Nietzsche at college he might have modified his view. Harris’s Nietzsche was the Nietzsche you will find among bright seventeen-year-olds even today. In this respect, it should be noted that Harris was very clever but not as clever as he thought he was—his plan actually failed; he wanted to blow up the school and kill hundreds of students and staff, yet his bombs substantially failed to detonate. Although he became best known as “a shooter”, Harris really wanted to be “a bomber”—and in this aspiration he failed, as with his taste for Nietzsche he was still a precocious adolescent and not a master.
So Harris saw himself as nature personified, natural selection personified, come to wipe out the brainless herd—people who were effectively zombies, not even human. Rather like Scruton, Crowley, and Schopenhauer, Harris protested about the awful noise thrown up by these stupid apes he was forced to live with; of course, given the catchment area for the high school, Harris was among—this is borne out by the statistics on college admission—the brightest America had to offer. Then again, given his father’s occupation—the combination of elite intelligence and rigorous discipline found in military aviation—even the cream of America seemed rancid to Harris.
Harris produced several very violent short stories, but he also produced a rather evocative tale—related to a girl via IM, irc—about how he dreamed that he lived in a huge abandoned ship on a depopulated earth, a great hulk that contained jumbled computer screens among jungle creepers; and through the broken superstructure the moon shone down. His ideal was the earth cleansed and purified of all the filth—and an ideal the girls he chatted to online often endorsed (“Every woman adores a fascist, the boot in the face”). To me the scene feels almost Zen; and there is an element in Harris that is nihilistic in the sense that he pursued Nirvana: all life extinguished, the great clean peace, the great blackness—in Landian terms a return to the primordial chaos and Choronzon; the Moon is Sophia, dark knowledge from nature.
To balance out his tendency towards pure social Darwinism, it should be noted that Harris did talk about “evolution” in the sense meant by, for example, the British writer Colin Wilson or by George Bernard Shaw—in the sense that there needs to be a spiritual evolution, we need to strive towards a higher man; we need to step over ourselves. This tended to be more muted than his straightforward social Darwinism, but it implies a subtler take on Nietzsche than the superficial observer would suspect; and, of course, if natural selection is applied in a very disciplined way then some would rise towards a higher type—if we assume that nature’s great chaotic war ultimately selects for intelligence, discipline, and psychopathic cunning.
Indeed, sometimes I wonder if men like Eric Harris—who was probably very like his father; the intelligent warrior, the military test pilot, the cool technological aristocrat of the sky—constitute normal male behaviour; or, certainly, normal Indo-Aryan male behaviour—perhaps merely suppressed, as Harris would doubtless say, by noise and junk food and inane chit-chat from the monkey-masses. There is a parallel with Harris in the recent British serial killer Wayne Couzens, a policeman who rocked a bald Zen-like head and several black sun tattoos (usually a nod to Hitlerism). There is a sense that men like Harris and Couzens exhibit transgressive normality; they are so normal—so quintessentially male, being cold hunters—that they become transgressive and anti-social. This paradox is summed up in Harris’s nickname: he was called “Reb”, the Rebel—and yet this was also the name of Columbine’s mascot, as in “the Rebels” versus “the Redcoats”. Harris was transgressive, but he was transgressively normal—he rebelled so much he became identified with the school mascot, even though he hated the school.
Couzens existed in warrior mode, to hunt criminals—Harris dreamed from an early age that he would be a Marine; yet, in modernity, being a very tepid place, both cut loose and started to cull the herd—society being so soft that they perceived the primary threat now came from within, not without. In short, psychopathy is just maleness—especially Luciferian Indo-Aryan warrior-technological maleness, and it is severely disprivileged and frustrated in the femcentric and Semitic contemporary West. The desire to “go ape” bubbles below the surface, often manifests itself in curious ways—the barbarian ape-like impulse paradoxically being the desire the reach a higher transcendence than can be found in the mass “sludge”.
South Park takes place among the Colorado mountains, among the peaks—and Columbine abuts a vast mountain. Men among the peaks, the sentiment evokes Evola and Serrano—mountaineering as the quintessential Indo-Aryan experience; we do not need churches, we find Luciferian communion on the mountaintop beneath the stars—Dante goes down to Hell and pops up in Heaven, we Aryans go up to the Heavens to find Lucifer; esoterically, it all works by opposites. The air is thinner up there…I once drove from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe in a day, I jumped from the jeep and picked up my keycard at the hotel desk; yet as I climbed the stairs my feet became leaden and my head light. I was drunk, drunk on altitude; everything seemed very thin and clean now—two-dimensional, just like South Park; everything is an object to manipulate, war matériel, psychopath fodder. Oh my God, you killed Kenny…
Earlier, I equivocated when I mentioned Doom, Hell, and high school—did the game lead the boys to Hell, or did it stand for the Hell that was high school? I cannot answer this question because I have never been to an American high school or anything like an American high school; and I am not about—as in a cute Hollywood picture—to dress down, sling on a baseball cap backwards, throw a skateboard over my shoulder, and say: “Hey, fellow kids!”. All I can say, as mentioned elsewhere, is that high school seems to grossly distort people—the American high school system was used as the basis for the Soviet secondary education system and British comprehensive schools; and both systems, as with American high schools, produced deeply unhappy people and contributed to the youth culture depicted in A Clockwork Orange.
The high school is integral to a movement towards, atheism, socialism, and the destruction of the transcendent; it helps to spawn the feral youth depicted in A Clockwork Orange. Further, Hollywood seems to pump out a steady stream of films about high school that are highly ambivalent about the entire experience, to say the least—and it seems, as with British public schools, that many people are damaged for life by the experience; however, I am not sure what it is exactly that causes so much distress—often homicidal or suicidal distress. Yet something, as Shakespeare buff Harris would say, is rotten in the state of Denmark.
The schools certainly look like prisons from the outside. In line with the community’s provisional nature, Columbine was originally a multi-purpose industrial space—it happened to be adapted into a high school, and when Harris and Klebold attended it the school had only just attained solid permanent walls. The very structure of these buildings resembles, in my view, a Doom level; the corridors recall the claustrophobic rat-mazes found in early shoot-‘em-ups. There is an unreality about the buildings, a radical impermanence that is quintessentially American. I always think that America itself is provisional and looks like it could be swept away overnight; the American world is European, it does not really belong to the continent and one day nature will rise up and sweep it all away; and in this I am more in sympathy with the ecologists who tack up posters that feature Big Chief Seattle with a tear a-rollin’ down one eye—see what white man do to Great Spirit dream country…
However, this gets us no nearer the universal negativity inspired by high schools—as attested to in Russia and Britain as much as in the New World. One hint, I think, lies in the ra-ra-ra attitude present in these institutions: the cheer team, the cheerleaders, the school chant—“We are Columbine”. It all seems, to be very British about it, “a bit much”—just as it always seem a bit much to have the Stars and Stripes in every picture; for example, if you see an American aircraft in the hanger there will be the Stars and Stripes up in the rafters; why? It all feels a bit like…North Korea. I think this partly explains the situation: America is a confected country, it is not organic—it rejects the divine as commonly understood, the “God” in America’s founding documents is a sterile Deist conception.
To bind together this racially and religious heterogeneous society you need nonstop propaganda, nonstop “cheer” and “team spirt” and “Go, Columbine, go! Yay!”. Democracies, as de Tocqueville probably said, tend towards conformism; and America is very democratic and so very conformist—for certain people this amounts to psychic suffocation; and perhaps this suffocation surfaces in periodic waves, Columbine happened in the year American Beauty came out; not a great film, not a film I like—and yet a film that captured the Columbine zeitgeist, suburban prosperity and anomie and despair with a murder-suicide pact edge.
The American scene is very totalitarian and, sorry to sound like a wet hippy, genuinely fascistic—quite soulless and, as Harris would doubtless say, peopled by conformist zombies who are effectively dead while being technically alive; they run the high school rat-maze with alacrity. Unfortunately, the Americans who rebel against the conformity tend to rebel in the wrong direction—they become hippies or leftists who demand uniformity in another direction, or more comprehensive egalitarian uniformity to combat pre-existent middle-class conformity; of course, if they had their way—and they usually do—they would only make it worse.
I think this gets quite close to the nub. As with the erroneous Marilyn Manson link, Harris and Klebold were not bullied at Columbine—actually, they seem to have dished out their fair share of bullying, stalking, and terrorisation. So they were not alienated “Goths” or “gay” (their gayness being a rumour spread to journalists by aggravated jocks shortly after the massacre—the standard male go-to insult, “u r gay”). The media coverage was distorted because the journalists relied on two thousand or so highly emotional teenagers for their “facts” —as anyone who has seen teenagers gossip and bullshit knows, the chances anyone was going to get anything remotely like a straight story was remote; and so many legends were made about Columbine by, as Harris would doubtless note, “a hysterical bovine mob”. Harris—the Faustian genius behind the operation—was not bullied or gay or a Goth; he just loathed the inanity, crudity, and unnaturalness found in homo highschoolansius.
Naturally, you want me to provide an occult angle to this whole affair; and yet, unfortunately, Columbine was not a very supernatural event—aside from Harris’s Gnosticism (he misunderstood, precociously—to become God means, for Gnostics, union with the perceptive Godhead; Harris intellectually unified with the exoteric demiurge, he became vengeful Jehovah—often seen as “evil” by Gnostics). There is one significant fact in this regard: Klebold’s mother felt, just after he was born, that her son would bring her great sorrow—she felt a shadow pass over her; and premonition is appropriate for the more artistic family.
Columbine was very much an event at the cusp of the mass information society: in a time when the Internet was a relative luxury, as were cellphones, this prosperous and technologically adept community was fully penetrated by the net and cellphones (Harris posted his rants online, garnered information on bombs from The Anarchist’s Cookbook on the web). A few occult titbits: Harris and Klebold worked part-time at Blackjack Pizza, a sort of poor man’s Domino’s—you can take that as in the game blackjack, or as in the blackjack an SS stormtrooper might whack you over the head with. Klebold, being the poet, played around with his name and his favourite drink “VoDKa” —“DK”; and Harris adored the film Event Horizon—a flick about demonic inter-dimensional intrusions on a spaceship. I watched it on the telly in the same year as Columbine, and it left me in a warm sweat that night; Harris chose it as a film for a date night and there is a sense in which Harris was a demonic intrusion into middle-class placidity—just born different; born bad, as he himself observed in his goodbye video—as uncanny as the bald quasi-demon in his co-favourite film, Lynch’s Lost Highway.
He knew what he was: in a typically psychopathic move, he overtly said he was not a “sociopath”—it is typical for psychopaths to foreground the issue to divert attention from it; and many idiot journos took Harris’s videotaped apologies for sincere contrition, doubtless, if he exists on another plane, he had a good smirk about that. Harris left a final micro-cassette filled with his observations and marked it “Nixon”—a clever reference to the Watergate tapes, to the isolated man everybody vilifies but who really had to do it to save the doggon country (Eric Harris: misunderstood loner and genius—as with Nixon, as with Hitler). Clever boy.
The conclusive spiritual slant on Columbine comes from an ultra-religious father who made his name when he hacked down two crosses erected on a nearby hill after the massacre—the crosses stood for the killers, but the father maintained “no forgiveness without repentance”. As it turned out, the man who erected the crosses, a carpenter, had a regular PR gig where he erected crosses at the scenes of various horrific events. The prickly father proved to be a real independent thorn in the side of the whole post-massacre jamboree—along the way he led a local antiabortion group but saw the group expelled from the national organisation for being too radical; and he stood for an obscure third party during a presidential election.
His final controversy was to use his son’s slot on the memorial to condemn the country’s “Godless education system”. His business, a business he expected his slain son to join him in post-graduation, was to install audio systems in cars—he loved, journalists reported, to achieve perfect harmony between front and rear speakers. It strikes me that this sensibility—the desire for musical harmony—remains absent from the American school system, absent from the countless churches that dot Columbine, absent from the wider West; for nature is not just, as Harris saw it, indifferent rocks and trees—it is a chord.