This site is USA incorporated as a non-profit organization, with monies from donations going toward the site's funding so it can stay online, free for everyone in the world to use. Its purpose is to be a resource to researchers and interested parties who want to study this grim time in history. The site is written and maintained by C. Shepard
. Founded April 21, 1999, it is updated on a frequent basis. Check the blog on the main page for the most recent news.
As for the author, you won't find much about me on this website as this site isn't about me. It's about the Columbine High School massacre: What happened before, during and after the shootings, and the people who were directly affected. I only added this page because I've had so many emails over the years asking about how and why I started what's become a behemoth of an information resource.
So what motivates me? Why did I start it in the first place?
There are a number of reasons. First, in the days immediately following the shootings I was less than satisfied with the way the media was covering the event. Rumors and speculation were presented as fact; mainstream television and corporate news sites initially seemed more interested in sensationalizing things than finding out what actually happened. What's more, the only non-corporate websites I found about the subject immediately following the event were either hate-mongering sites that worshipped the shooters (complete with drippy bloodbars and flaming-text logos) or were sugar-coated tributes to victims without names. There was nowhere to find the actual story. No one had any solid information or answers.
I knew the true story was lurking out there somewhere so I started digging around, online and off. I put up a website on a free web host: A single site with a list of the known names of the dead, updated as they became available, and information about where the event had happened. In the days that followed I dug as deep as I could to get the real story that the media just couldn't seem - or didn't want - to piece together. I snooped around in the directories of Eric's websites since they were still online at the time. I copied everything I could to my hard drive, till the webhosts pulled them down for good. I listened to what people who knew the shooters personally were saying about them. I visited forums and hackers' sites, hoax sites and newsgroups. I made contact with people who lived near the school at the time of the tragic event. Since I was only one state away at the time and had contacts in Littleton, I was able to monitor news broadcasts for the area. Later magazines and more concise newspaper articles, as well as other researchers provided more details. The site grew and grew and grew.
The first "full" version of this website was an overview of Who, What, Where, When, and Why (though that's not a question I've ever been able to fully answer). Beginning April 21st, 1999, I spent hours and hours - the equivalent of a full-time job - compiling information together so I could see the bigger picture. It's been like putting together a giant, depressing jigsaw puzzle. What's really astounding is it's been over a decade and I still haven't gotten everything I've found posted yet. I still work on the site regularly though I don't have nearly as much time as I used to. Perhaps by the time I'm a retiree I'll have it all up. If not, it could be my Old Person Hobby.
I suppose what continues to hold my interest the most - apart from having a digital horde of information left to post - is that I'm waiting to see whether Jefferson County will ever release the infamous Basement Tapes
to the public. That, I think, represents the final chapter in this tragic book of history. It's the last episode left to be seen. It won't offer much closure but it might provide a little more insight and understanding. There was once concern that releasing the tapes might inspire copycat shootings but I'm guessing anyone who'd let that inspire them is already inspired enough. Not releasing them certainly hasn't stopped people trying to "pull a Columbine".
So beyond a Columbine expert, who am I? I'm an artist, a writer, a musician, a parent, and a geek, amongst many other things. I never went to Columbine High School. I don't live in Littleton and never have. I doubt I ever will. I didn't know the shooters or their victims. As a kid I did attend a school very much like Columbine and I came from a town that was similar to Littleton. I knew people just like the victims and I was friends with people who, in retrospect, were eerily similar to the shooters. It's all too easy for me to see something like the Columbine shooting happening where I lived. I have a strong interest in seeing this sort of thing avoided in the future. I devote time, energy, and money to intervention and awareness programs to help educate kids and adults on what they can do prevent school violence in their areas.
I do have my opinions
about the events of and leading up to the shootings at Columbine but I try to censor my personal feelings out of the site for the sake of presenting unbiased historical reference. As they used to say on TV: "Just the facts, ma'am." If you have questions, feel free to email me. While I may not have time to respond to every email due to my chaotic schedule, I do read everything I receive (spammers and the like not included).