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Myth Making – “Columbine” – Dave Cullen

November 21st, 2011 · No Comments · Crime, Journalism, Sociology, The Media

The narrative unfolding on television looked nothing like the killers’ plan. It looked only moderately like what was actually occurring. It would take months for investigators to piece together what had gone on inside. Motive would take longer to unravel. It would be years before the detective team would explain why. The public couldn’t wait that long. The media was not about to. They speculated.

Reporters quickly keyed on the darker force behind the attack: this spooky Trench Coat Mafia. It grew more bizarre by the minute. In the first two hours, witnesses on CNN described the TCM as Goths, gays, outcasts, and a street gang. “A lot of the time they’ll, like, wear makeup and paint their nails and stuff,” a Columbine senior said. “They’re kind of—I don’t know, like Goth, sort of, like, and they’re, like, associated with death and violence a lot.” None of that would prove to be true. That student did not, in fact, know the people he was describing. But the story grew.

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