Crime

Columbine Killers' Basement Tapes Destroyed

They were the most notorious yet least-seen artifacts from one of the worst school shootings in American history — roughly four hours of home videos made by two teenage killers-to-be, shot in the last weeks of their lives and offering glimpses into the methods and motives behind the 1999 attack on Columbine High School that killed thirteen people and seriously injured two dozen more. The so-called "basement tapes" of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold have been the subject of intense litigation and media speculation, morbid curiosity and outrage, half-baked psychoanalysis and earnest requests from violence-prevention researchers to make them available for study.

And now they're history — but not the way the gunmen thought they would be.

See also: Are Columbine's Remaining Secrets Too Dangerous for the Public to Know?

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Alan Prendergast has been writing for Westword for over thirty years. He teaches journalism at Colorado College; his stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies.
Contact: Alan Prendergast