This week authorities busted up three Columbine copycat plots, at least one of which seems to have been pretty serious. I doubt this really surprises anyone who’s been paying attention (see prediction #5 here), but it’s still pretty disturbing.
Mark it down – some April 20 in the near future, the conspirators are going to be smart enough not to warn anybody, not to IM about it to strangers, and not to post their plans on MySpace. Worse, they may be technically gifted enough to pull off something much larger than Columbine (which was a real fizzle, fortunately – had the bomb gone off in the cafeteria the body count would have been a lot higher). It doesn’t take a genius to make the prediction and it won’t make the predictor a modern-day Nostradamus when it comes true, either. It’s just a case of looking at the situation and realizing that if X leads to Y, more X stands a good chance of leading to more Y.
Seven years ago I lived in Denver, and although I didn’t know anybody involved, anybody who was there can tell you that it felt personal. (I do have a friend who’s a Columbine grad, and if she’s reading this she’s invited to chime in.) I visited the school and Clement Park twice in the days after the shootings, and those visits produced a little essay that attempted to understand what had happened and why. Reading back over it today, I’m struck by the disparity between the tone of the piece and what I know I felt at the time I wrote it. Hunh.
Seven years on, and these arrests indicate that we still don’t get it, I guess. Let’s make a pact to check back this time next year and see if one got through the net…