The Columbine effect
In at least 14 cases, the Columbine copycats aimed to attack on the anniversary of the original massacre. Individuals in 13 cases indicated that their goal was to outdo the Columbine body count. In at least 10 cases, the suspects and attackers referred to the pair who struck in 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, as heroes, idols, martyrs, or God. And at least three plotters made pilgrimages to Columbine High School from other states.
As one longtime security specialist explains in our investigation into a growing national effort to stop mass shooters before they strike, “It’s a cult following unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.”