Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #150 The Littleton, Colorado School Massacre

MP3 One seg­ment

This pro­gram high­lights aspects of the 1999 school mas­sacre that riv­et­ed the nation’s atten­tion in April of that year. Two high school stu­dents, Eric Har­ris and Dylan Kle­bold, real­ized a long held plan to mur­der school­mates on April 20 (Hitler’s Birth­day). Appar­ent white suprema­cists, they spoke Ger­man to each oth­er, greet­ed each oth­er with the “heil” salute and rehearsed their plan on video months in advance of the slaugh­ter. Their high school (Columbine High School in Lit­tle­ton, Col­orado) was the focal point of an ear­li­er inci­dent that failed to gar­ner as much pub­lic­i­ty as the shoot­ing.

Teacher Al Wilder was dis­missed from Columbine in 1996 for show­ing his senior class on debate and log­ic excerpts of the Bernar­do Bertoluc­ci film 1900, an his­tor­i­cal­ly and soci­o­log­i­cal­ly pen­e­trat­ing look at the rise of fas­cism in Italy. Even­tu­al­ly rein­stat­ed by the school board, Wilder was told that the film was “too con­tro­ver­sial” and con­tained vio­lent and sex­u­al­ly explic­it con­tent. The con­tro­ver­sy drew the atten­tion of major film direc­tors such as Mar­tin Scorcese and Milos For­man. Bertoluc­ci him­self tes­ti­fied via tele­phone on behalf of Wilder. Not­ing that a deci­sion to sus­tain Wilder’s sus­pen­sion would pro­pel the U.S. down the road to “amne­sia,” Bertoluc­ci voiced dis­may at the depar­ture from tra­di­tion­al Amer­i­can val­ues con­sti­tut­ed by Wilder’s dis­missal.

The pro­gram presents the pos­si­bil­i­ty that Nazi ele­ments (inside and/or out­side of gov­ern­ment) may have tar­get­ed Columbine High because of the con­tro­ver­sy over 1900 (the film is anti-fas­cist). Attempts by the right to cen­sor the cur­ric­u­la of schools have been increas­ing in recent years. The shoot­ing focused nation­al debate on the issues of cen­sor­ship of the media and video games (blamed for the mas­sacre by some observers), as well as gun con­trol.

Pro­gram high­lights Include: indi­ca­tions that the two gun­men may have had help; the curi­ous behav­ior of the police in the case; com­par­isons to Patrick Edward Pur­dy (see Mis­cel­la­neous Archive Show M55), anoth­er “school shoot­er” with Nazi incli­na­tions; the film Har­ris and Kle­bold made for a class, direct­ly fore­shad­ow­ing their killing spree (they were not able to show the film because of its vio­lent con­tent); two “pro-gun” bills pend­ing in the Col­orado state leg­is­la­ture at the time of the killing; the fact that the Nation­al Rifle Asso­ci­a­tion had planned its con­ven­tion in Den­ver at the end of the month; the con­tention that the real cause of this and sim­i­lar school shoot­ings was the ris­ing tide of fas­cism, not guns or the media. (Record­ed on 5/2/99.)


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