Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Senseless Tragedy

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Senseless Tragedy

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Senseless tragedy


An editorial from the Prince George Citizen, published July 21:

Mass deadly shootings are always shocking, from the horrible Norway massacre last year to this week's attack in suburban Toronto to the early Friday morning tragedy at a movie theatre in Denver.

Friday's shooting, with a dozen killed and scores injured, naturally brought comparisons to the more famous Denver mass murder from 13 years earlier, when two students from Columbine High School killed 12 classmates and a teacher.

In the coming days, information will slowly stream out about what happened in those moments at the theatre Friday, when the gas filled the air and the bullets started flying. We'll learn more about the shooter and maybe we'll learn about his motive. Hopefully, we'll hear from the victims and their pain.

We'll also hear incorrect information that will take on a life of its own and become part of the general knowledge of the event, even if they're completely wrong.

So many myths came out of Columbine that much of what people remember from that event is either off-base or completely wrong. Thankfully, Dave Cullen's award-winning book Columbine clears up much of the historical inaccuracies still reported as fact about the 1999 high school massacre.

For starters, Columbine was less of a shooting and more of a failed bombing.

The killers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, planted a duffel bag full of pipe bombs in the school cafeteria and set it to go off at the height of the lunch rush, when 500 teenagers would have been in the room. Between the bomb and the shrapnel, most of the students and teachers in the room would have been killed by the blast. The remainder would likely have died when the roof would have collapsed, since the bag was placed between two major supporting columns.

Both killers loaded their cars with bombs and parked then where they expected emergency personnel to mobilize. The timers they put on those bombs were for threehours after when the initial bomb in the cafeteria was supposed to explode. In other words, they planned to keep killing people even after they were dead, imagining themselves taken down in a blaze of police bullets. …

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