Littleton tragedy is only the fault of two

Campus Times
April 30, 1999

by Simon W. Bouie
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Last week's tragedy in Littleton, Colo., has once again opened our eyes as to how cruel children are capable of being. It is hard to understand what makes two teenagers kill. The media has begun the process of trying to figure out why the killers did what they did. Why, why, why?

Some questions cannot be answered, and sometimes logic and understanding escape our sense of rationale. However, one thing comes through with clarity from last week -- the two gunmen were some sick puppies.

This is not politically correct and/or sensitive, but sometimes crimes are so heinous and so despicable, it is hard to show mercy or compassion toward those who commit them.

My heart goes out to all of the families, including those of the two gunmen. It must be quite a burden to bear knowing that their sons took the lives of so many people. The magnitude of such a cross must be just unconscionable.

However, I find it hard to believe that there were not any signs that may have led to some form of suspicion with regard to the behavior of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Call me crazy, but when two students make a video of themselves killing classmates and it is shown in class and no one takes it seriously -- hello? What is wrong with this picture?

I do not mean to say that either sets of parents had the power to stop their sons from doing what they did. They were both well beyond the age of accountability, and they alone are responsible for the harm that they have caused.

Now this being said, how many pounds of metal pipe does a son have to take to his room before the parent says, "Hmm, is he just building an intricate Erector set, or perhaps he is just redoing all of the plumbing upstairs?"

Then the argument arises of, "Well, they were high school students and the parents tried to give them their space." 'To the outer limits of hell with space.' It is no invasion of space to occasionally walk into your child's room and say, "Hi, hello, what'cha doing with all of those pipe bombs, son?"

But even if the parents had no way of knowing what their sons were up to-oh, I don't know, domestic terrorism-did no one see-oh, I don't know-the swastikas? Last time I checked, they were not kosher. So the question is, why did no one say anything along the way? Maybe people thought it was a "phase." This often-used term for describing the behavior of teens is indicative of apathy from school officials and of trifling parenting.

But maybe none of the parents or school officials are responsible. Maybe it was the fault of the teenagers who mocked the "Trench coat Mafia." Yeah that's the ticket.

As we all know, children are very cruel. So it is only logical that the bombardment of constant mocking from their peers would make these two students snap. Yeah, that must be it, I figured it out. It was the other people's fault that Harris and Klebold snapped.

Probably not. Let's just stop with the media psychobabble and quest for 'reasons' and blame-placement for a while. Bottom line, Harris and Klebold were mean. I do not care how much other people picked on them and how much lazy adults ignored them, they made the choice to kill innocent people and the world is a better place because they are no longer in it.

It is just a shame that they had to take 12 babies and one teacher with them in the process. But as always, this is just my humble opinion, and what do I know?

Simon W. Bouie, a senior broadcast major, is arts and entertainment editor of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at