There have been other school shootings in the ten years since Columbine, horror scenes with even bigger body counts. But for some reason, Columbine is the crime that resonates; "Columbine" is the word that keeps getting repeated in the tales of similar plots -- some carried out, some foiled.
It was repeated again in a British court yesterday, where two teenagers were charged with plotting to bomb a school and a shopping center on April 20, the tenth anniversary of the killings at Columbine.
Perhaps it's because the two Columbine killers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, looked like they could be the boys next door -- next to almost any door. Perhaps it's because they left a multimedia trail behind, images that haunt us still. Or perhaps it's because the killings at Columbine -- the stark contrast between the middle-class school in the serene setting and the sudden terror that descended that day -- is still such a mystery, the turning point when we realized there is so much we may never understand.
Even a decade later.
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For Alan Prendergast's coverage of Columbine for Westword, see our Columbine Reader.