Columbine Whose Fault Is It Essay

1125 words - 5 pages

On April 20, 1999 in Littleton, Colorado, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris turned the hallways of Columbine High School into a killing field. Starting in the school yard and ending in the library, they went on a shooting rampage which resulted in 15 deaths, including their own. Who is at blame for this tragedy? This is now the topic of debate across the nation.Klebold and Harris were both seniors at Columbine High School. According to students, they were members of the Trenchcoat Mafia. The Trenchcoat Mafia was a group of high school kids who reportedly wore black trenchcoats and black clothes with swastikas on the sleeves, spoke German, and often spoke of whom they hated, which included minorities and jocks. Student also reported that they were a group of outcasts, who were often teased and harassed by the "jocks" (the social elite of the high school). Eric Harris had a web page that detailed how to make pipe bombs and told of how he wanted to place bombs over the entire town, not caring if he lived or died. Harris and Klebold were said, by friends, to pass time by playing extremely violent videogames, including Doom II. Both had previous criminal records for breaking into a van and stealing electrical equipment.Many things can be attributed to this massacre. This nation has many aspects contributing to the early loss of children's innocence, which in turn cause adolescents to develop earlier and which, in this case, can have grave consequences. This paper will explore how peers, the media, and access to guns, may have played a huge role in this tragedy.Klebold's and Harris's peers played two very important and different roles in their lives. Peer rejection by the majority of the school's population was a very notable issue. The boys were social outcasts at the school and obviously had pent up rage about this fact. Research has shown that peer rejection makes the rejected children more likely to engage in criminal activity and experience mental health problems (Balk, p.285). According to Balk (1997), rejected children are not given the opportunities to fulfill many social needs and because of this they do not have social standards to compare their behaviors to, which may, in turn, keep up the problem (Balk, p.285). If this theory is true, the boys never learned how to interact with majority of the school's population and never will because they do not have anything to learn from, leaving a seemingly hopeless and repetitious cycle. Hartup (1996) organized a study about friendship and its developmental significance (MP14). His study showed that normative transitions and stress seemed to be handled better by children that have friends. Not having friends to share their problems with led to abnormal development. Peer rejection by the majority of the school's population probably drove the boys to associate with friends who had a bad influence on them, the Trenchcoat Mafia. According to Bernht (1992), adolescents are directly influenced by their friends...

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