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.
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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.
For Alan Prendergast's coverage of Columbine for Westword, see our Columbine Reader.