catapult magazine

catapult magazine


Was the Columbine Massacre an Act of Terrorism?


May 10 2002
11:44 am

An article by Jean Baudrillard reprinted in the February 2002 edition of Harper’s Weekly from the Paris journal Le Mond suggests that terrorism is an antagonism of globalization within and against itself. Baudrillard calls this war against terror World War IV. Since globalization vanquished communism in World War III, it must fight itself now. Evidence that this war is not what most people say it is (East vs. West, Evil vs. Good, Terrorist vs. Non-Terrorist, Uncivilized vs. Civilized, Coward vs. Courageous, Culture vs. Culture) can be found in this letter written by Columbine High School student Eric Harris before he killed thirteen schoolmates. In his words (and spellings):

“it will be like the LA riots, the oklahoma bombing, WWII, vietnam, duke, and doom all mixed together, maybe we will even start a little rebelion or revolution to fuck things up as much as we can. i want to leave a lasting impression on the world. and god damnit do not blame anyone else besides me and V [Klebold] for this. don’t blame my family, they had no clue and there is nothing they could have done, they brought me up just fucking fine. don’t blame toy stores or any other stores for selling us ammo, bomb materials, or anything like that because it’s not their fault. i don’t want no fucking laws on buying fucking PVC pipes, we are kind of a select case here so don’t thing this will happen again. don’t blame the school, don’t fucking put cops all over the place. just because we went on a killing spree doesn’t mean everyone else will, and hardly ever do people bring bombs or guns to school anyway. the admin is doing a fine job as it is. i don’t know who will be left after we kill but damnit don’t change any policies just because of us. it would be stupid and if there is any way in this fucked up universe we can come back as ghosts or what the fuck ever we will haunt the life out of anyone who blames anyone besides me and V. if by some weird as shit luck me and V survive and escape we will move to some island somewhere or maybe mexico, new zelend, or some exotic place where americans can’t get us. if there isn’t such a place, then we will hijack a hell of a lot of bombs and crash a plane into NYC with us inside firing away as we go down. just something to cause more devistation.”

As Baudrillard suggests and Harris reiterates, this is a war of symbols. People are willing to die for the symbolic message this would send to a globalized culture that does not represent them. If one can’t escape America, one might turn America against itself, making it weak by turning its greatest strengths against its symbols of strength. News media becomes more than just a parasite attached to the real events of the war; it becomes the very weapon of symbolism that makes terrorism a productive means of attack etc. etc. etc. etc….

If you read this far, you’re a trooper. There’s much more to say about this way of thinking about recent events, yes?


Mar 04 2003
07:57 am

I don’t think this is going to be very coherent, because I’m not sure exactly what I’m thinking about this. But I ran across something that really piqued my interest, and I’m not sure how/if it fits in here. however, the words “terrorism” and “art” seem to stand out.

There is a tapestry of Picasso’s famous “Guernica” hanging on the wall outside the United Nations Security Council chamber. But on Jan. 27 it was covered up with a baby-blue drape that had the U.S. logo on it.

Jan 27 was also the day that the chief weapons inspectors were at the UN to brief the council. A diplomat was stated in the Washington Times (Feb. 3) as saying:

“It would not be an appropriate background if the ambassador of the United States at the UN, John Negroponte, or Colin Powell, talk about war surrounded with women, children and animals shouting with horror and showing the suffering of the bombings.

Someone mentioned earlier the “art of terrorism.” What about “art that terrorizes”? Or, can the cencorship of “art be a means of terrorism”? Or, another thought, what symbolic message does this hold?

Only percolating thoughts right now…..

(I didn’t mean to intrude on a discussion with comments that are only loosely relevant. But I do find the link (whatever it is) between art and terrorism fascinating.)


Jan 16 2004
06:45 am

I found this article about columbine and vaguely remembered this thread…so I thought I’d post it here. It was interesting to scan through this thread again.

The Cult of Eric and Dylan