Twenty years ago today, we were told that the Columbine massacre was an “unprecedented event,” and that “the United States had never seen anything like it.” Sure, the target and the characteristics of the attack were unique and well-planned. However, mass shooting events were not a new phenomenon prior to Columbine. There were plenty of mass shootings prior to the events that unfolded on April 20th, 1999. The reason these sentiments were pushed was due to the fact that many eyewitnesses, first responders, victims, and victims’ family members had remarked on the slow response time to engage the shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Overall, it is undeniable that there was a stand-down. Where that stand-down order came from, is truly hard to say. Not to mention there were many other odd circumstances in relation to the police response. The police proclaimed, “but we’ve never seen anything like this before!”
Since the Columbine tragedy, mainstream media outlets have refused to ask hard questions. However, when the event was unfolding live, the reporting was honest. Even in the weeks after, hard questions were asked, mainly because the victims still had a voice. As time went on, more and more attention was focused on the victims’ lives and their individual stories, which is definitely admirable and necessary. Yet, this is only part of the story. There are many questions that have gone unanswered, leaving the victims and the community at a complete loss of direction. In order for the Littleton community to completely heal, it must acknowledge the stand-down, the cover-up, and other remaining lingering questions that may paint a completely different picture of the Columbine Massacre.
Here is a simple timeline of events for the Columbine shootings on April 20th, 1999:
6:15 AM: Klebold and Harris show up for school.
11:00 AM: Harris and Klebold are wearing wraparound shades and black trenchcoats as they arrive back on campus and head toward the Columbine High cafeteria.
11:15 AM: Reports begin to come in that two or three masked gunmen entering the school. Matthew Depew, son of a Denver police officer, made the first call from the kitchen, hidden so close to the killer he could hear them reloading their guns. Prior to entering the cafeteria, they already had killed Rachel Scott and Danny Rohrbough.
11:45 AM: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold have entered the library and started slowly executing students. (Teacher Patti Nielsen 911 call, report)
12:08 PM: Official reports state that Dylan and Eric Harris both committed suicide at this time.
12:00 PM: SWAT Teams arrive over an hour after the shooting began.
- It is notable to mention the strategy at this point: SWAT teams were clearing individual classrooms, but did not enter any rooms with closed doors, purportedly in fear of “booby traps.” Largely, they were taking defensive positions, and releasing students at these positions. Purportedly, they claimed they thought they were in a “hostage situation.”
- When listening to the police audio, this is not the case. Dispatchers were well aware students were dying for no reason at all, and it was immediately a mass casualty situation.
12:15 PM: Media begins broadcasting events nationwide.
1:30 PM: An armored swat car is brought to the main school entrance for cover as more students flee the building. Witness reports gunfire pg. 453
1:45 PM: Patti Nielsen reports hearing gunfire, is eventually rescued by SWAT who claims “we have not found the shooters yet.” (page 76 Columbine report)
2:00 PM: 3 youths wearing black clothes are apprehended (Dylan and Eric’s friend, Christopher Morris was one of them.)
2:30 PM: SWAT teams have yet to reach Dave Sanders, teacher, and coach, who is bleeding to death from gunshots to the shoulder and chest. Deidra Kucera wrote “Bleeding to Death” in on a sign, in efforts to get help from the SWAT team. Dispatch was assuring them help was on the way—when it wasn’t. A survivor who tried to help Dave Sanders stated: “I still do not understand how they weren’t able to save him.”
3:00 PM: Witness reports gunfire pg. 453
4:30 PM: Police finally arrive at the library, where they find Eric and Dylan dead with gunshots to the head. At around this time, Sheriff John Stone said the death toll appeared to be up to 25 and declares the site secure.
- SWAT team conducts a “slow sweep” of the building looking for survivors (5 hours later).
6:15 PM: Authorities find and disarm several car bombs in the school parking lot.
10:30 PM: Bomb on a timer in Dylan’s car blows up, police suspect the time was supposed to be set for 11:00 AM.
While comparing the timeline with the video footage of police positions, it is obvious that they have taken a defensive position at the library exit doors on the northwest side of the building. It is at this time that 12 students are being executed at point-blank range while hiding under their desks. The Jeffco Sheriff’s office has not released police scanner audio or the full length of Patti Nielsen’s phone call in the library which has every death recorded, Eric and Dylan’s taunting included. It is undeniable that the police were in a position to hear the executions and chose not to enter the building as noted by Brooks Brown’s father in the documentary Zero Hour: The Columbine Massacre.
The SWAT teams chose entry points on the east side of the building towards the school’s entrance and at the Cafeteria entrance on the Southside, painstakingly moving from classroom to classroom before reaching the library at 4:30 PM, 4 hours after the incident was over.
The infamous SWAT truck rescue, when viewed from the correct angle, clearly shows that students had to jump out of a 2nd-floor window from the library, versus being helped by the police officers standing like cowards by the library exit doors. The media shows this clip from an angle that does not illustrate their cowardice by hiding the exact location of the glass windows, which are actually the library windows that face the west side.
When listening to the police scanner audio, the dispatchers have received enough information from 911 callers and police in the building (still in defensive positions) to track the locations of Eric and Dylan, yet they choose not to take them out. At one point, the dispatcher proclaims “what is your current position now? You guys need to enter the building, we’re gonna have a bloodbath on our hands.”
Watch the full footage below to see the cowardice of the officers on scene. Please note the time in the video—proves that Brown’s assertion is correct—police could hear the killings in the library unfold and chose to do nothing except collect the bodies for the morgue.
We must never accept the excuse that the Jefferson County Sheriff was ill-prepared for a mass casualty event. We must never accept the lies Denver SWAT told that they knew to “run to the gunfire.” We know from the police audio and the full Columbine report that they chose to enter classrooms on an individual basis and were slow in their response. It was almost as if they were waiting for the event to end, to prevent themselves from being in harm’s way.
Have the people of Colorado demanded justice? No. Instead, they focus on puff piece articles to highlight the victims’ suffering, instead of asking real questions and demanding answers. In 2012, the people of Jefferson County had a choice: elect a Sheriff that played a notable role in the Columbine Cover-up in Jeff Shrader or elect a sheriff that had no ties to Columbine whatsoever (there was a libertarian on the ticket at the time.) According to one Colorado Republican delegate, Shrader took 70% of the vote within the party. Westword reported on Shrader’s ties to helping Sheriff “Stonewall” craft speeches to change the narrative of the police response to Columbine and what they knew beforehand. Brown’s parents are quoted in the article:
“I will never trust him,” says Brown, a longtime critic of the official Columbine investigation. “He placed the interests of the sheriff’s department above the families of murdered children and above the truth. Everyone at the meeting did that, and they kept the secret like the cowards I believe they are.”
Sheriff Jeff Shrader was elected in 2013 and continues to rely on the FBI for guidance on protection of the community with the Sol Pais threats that occurred this week, where the FBI knew 24 hours in advance of Pais’ intentions prior to notifying the local police and school districts thereby allowing school to remain in session on Tuesday, only to have a lockout with the public display of students exiting Columbine High School enabling another media frenzy the week of the anniversary.
More of the same.
The Conservatarian Press would like to send thoughts and prayers to the victims of the Columbine Massacre, and the justice they never received in so far as the police have never been held accountable for their cowardly inaction that day.
Years later, history has repeated itself. The Broward County Sheriff’s office also received criticism for not entering Parkland High School after a student had killed 17 students in a classroom. Before we pass erroneous gun control legislation, maybe school administrators and police should focus on how to respond to mass casualty situations, namely, not hiring cowards in the ranks of their departments, or even–arming certain staff at schools to protect our most sacred possessions (children)! The Miami Herald was quick to point out their cowardice, and the Governor eventually fired the Sheriff for his inaction.
It is too bad the people of Jefferson County chose not to do the same thing.
http://www.acolumbinesite.com – Timeline
http://www.columbinefamilyrequest.org – Timeline
Police Scanner Audio: https: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9CUIlBOca0
Columbine Video Footage: https: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fY3swDAiO4
Mr. Brown Interview, Zero Hour Documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNyX90HKWTM
Interview with Congressional GOP Delegate in Colorado.
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