Essay Sample: A Brief Overview of the Columbian High School Massacre

Published: 2022-12-23
Essay Sample: A Brief Overview of the Columbian High School Massacre
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  High School Gun violence Criminal justice Social justice
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1503 words
13 min read

Columbine, high school massacre, is a significant school shooting organised crime tragedy which took place on April 20th, 1999, at Columbine high school located at Colorado, in the United States. The massacre involved two student perpetrators named Erich Haris and Dylan Klebold. The massacre claimed the lives of 12 students, and one teacher. Out of these twelve, ten of them were killed in the library, the same place where the two perpetrators committed suicide (Pittaro, 2007). Moreover, 21 students were injured in the incidence whereby they also exchanged gunshots with police, who came in later after a long period even when having had been informed earlier enough. Apart from the use of guns, the two had improvisedan homicide bombs which were set at the cafeteria and the parking lot with the intention of diverting people who could come to rescue others.

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How the Whole thing Begun

In the year 1996, Erich Haris who by then was 15 years old created a private website on the American online platforms. The website was initially intended for hosting levels that Hairs had created for video games known as "doom and Doom". In the very same site, Haris began an additional blog that made the inclusion of jokes related to his parents, school, and more so his friends. Moreover, the page detailed Haris on how he could sneak out and cause mischief and vandalism, including lighting fireworks together with his friend Dylan Klebold and others. In the year 1997, the blog positing's given light on what the idea Haris and his friend begun to show the first signs of crime-oriented moves within the website, which was depicted on his anger against society.

At the end of the same year, the website already the instructions on how to make a homicide explosive, specifically the pipe bombs. The site continued to attract more visitors. As time went by, Haris began the deadly moves of expressing his fantasies on how he could perform murderous actions. One of the memorable statements that he wrote on his blog was captured as follows: "all I want is to do is to kill and injure as many of you as I can, especially a few people like Brown," who was a classmate of his.

However, the blog was discovered, and Brown could be aware of the threats awaiting him. Browns parents hence reported the matter to the Jefferson County Sheriff's office, and the matter was deeply investigated with the discovery of numerous threats which were violently directed to teachers and his fellow student's. An affidavit was written on this matter was never put onto account until the incidence occurred.

However, the two delinquents were arrested by police officers after they had broken into a van that was parked near Littleton and made away with several tools. They consequently attended a joint court hearing whereby both pleaded guilty and hence sentenced to a juvenile diversion program. They were hence demanded to attend on mandatory delinquent classes on anger management. Besides the anger management officers offering guidance on the tow, Hari's begum arrangement on psychological therapy and soon they were both declared antidepressants by the psychiatrist. Hence, they were eventually released from the diversion program several weeks earlier than it was planned. Unfortunately, however, the incidence was operated a few moments after the two had been resale from the diversion program and turned into the already the famous Colombian high school massacre.

Social Disorganization Theory

The theory gives an attempt to explain the reason behind why there exist crime amongst juvenile delinquency. The theory, therefore, states that social control amongst the delinquents may occur due to the absence of certain social bonds within the society level.

The theory sees the entire neighbourhood in which such delinquents live as having a disorganised social and ethical touch and thus, leading to the loss of social bond amongst some young people in the society hence contributing in one or the other towards the genesis of criminal acts. In the search for truth, a process which began in the late 1920s, Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay (1931, 1942) sought to find some of the areas of Chicago which experienced some sorts of social disorganisation.

During the process, the process that characterised the communities were identified in which indications related to social disorganisation were determined to have a significant association with truancy, tuberculosis, infant mortality adult crime, economic dependency, more importantly, mental disorder, and juvenile delinquency. It was discovered that in Chicago, juvenile delinquency and adult crime were more evident in the slums near city centres, and they diminished within the areas considered to be far away from town centres.

Such conditions, therefore, are categorised as signs and indicators of social disorganisation. According to the theory of social disorder, there are three types of common components which have got the impact to cause juvenile delinquency: one of these is the communal economic status which determines the financial abilities of a certain social group.

The second one is the mobility of the residents of the community, and the final one which was identified as community heterogeneity. The theory shows how poverty, high residential mobility and also communal heterogeneity may lead to the weakening of the common social bonds amongst people, hence leading tote impacts associated with delinquents.

Strengths and weaknesses of the theory

The social disorganisation theory explains the possible causes of crime amongst the delinquents as the loss of social bond within the community. It is possibly true that one there exists that kind of social disorganisation, the probability of mental and social corruption leading to crime attributes amongst delinquents become high. However, the theory fails to explain how and what leads the young people in this case to commit a crime. Also, the argument does not find out what gap is responsible for the mental diversion of the social values of such ill actions as experienced with the delinquents. Moreover, the theory fails to explain the fact that there may exist a natural desire to kill especially with some special cases. For example, the case of Harris and his friend, once he explained his desire to kill and injure as many as possible.

Other Theories

One of the theories that clearly explain the reasoning behind crimes committed by the delinquents is the Labeling theory. The theory explains how some of the activities that such a group of young people do are a part of excitements, especially with the adolescent stage. The theory explains how police interference may end up causing more harm although such intervention aims to initiate the process of change (Schur & Maher, 1973). Moreover, the theory sees that first contact with the law, perceived to play a very significant part which is categorised as an event of whereby evil is dramatised. Such dramatisation of evil ends up separating the child from his peers and thus creating greater experiences for criminal other than corrections. What happens is that the separation, however, ends up making the delinquents think that they are the people who do such things and hence see the need to continue doing theme; actions which involve real crime.

There are more other theories which better explain the ill behaviours amongst the delinquents. Differential Association theory explains how delinquency crimes are associated with adult crimes, and that most of the actions are copied from the elderly. Control theory, on the other hand, explains how a lack of social control in the society may lead to ill behaviour especially for the delinquents (Sampson & Groves, 1989). Subcultural theory, on the other hand, explains how failure to achieve certain levels of success may cause mischiefs especially in the cases whereby delinquents fail to perform well in school and society.


It can be deduced that crime amongst the delinquents is primarily due to the lack of social control within the society. The ways in society are organised may again lead to the source of young people's desire to perform the crime. According to the labelling theory, police intervention which may lead the diluents separated from others for a while has the impact of making such a group view themselves as criminals already and hence the desire to do more. For example, the case of Harris and Klebold, they committed the famous massacre a few days after they were released from the diversion program, after having been arrested by police and taken to court. Unfortunately, however, most of the theories are based on the community organisation which leads to the social behaviour decay, but not the mental material organisation which may, yet, have the impact to lead to such actions. While the juvenile courts treat the delinquents differently from other ordinary criminals, there comes the failure to attain full correctional reforms amongst the delinquents.


Pittaro, M. L. (2007). School violence and social control theory: An evaluation of the Columbine massacre. International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences, 2(1).

Sampson, R. J., & Groves, W. B. (1989). Community structure and crime: Testing social-disorganisation theory. American journal of sociology, 94(4), 774-802.

Schur, E. M., & Maher, V. (1973). Radical nonintervention: Rethinking the delinquency problem. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

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