Columbine Inspires Student

Acord wanted to “one up” Columbine (courtesy of ABC News)

In 1999, teenagers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold marched into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado with guns, ammunition and homemade bombs, intent on killing as many people and destroying as much property as possible. And by the time the smoke cleared and the young gunmen lay dead from self-inflicted gunshot wounds, they had done just that.

A total of 13 people died in the attack and another 24 were injured. Counseling for victims was needed and the school itself sustained somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 million worth of damage. The price tag for everything that happened that fateful day?

Roughly $20 million + emotional trauma for years—maybe decades—to come.

It’s hard to believe something like this could happen in America—even though more recent events have carried larger body counts and more extensive damage (see Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook)—but what’s worse is that Columbine also served as inspiration for another emotionally-disturbed student.

His target: West Albany High School (courtesy of KOIN 6 News)

17-year-old Grant Acord attends West Albany High School in Albany, Oregon. And on Thursday evening, he was arrested for planning to bomb his school in true Columbine fashion, only with additional planning to make this massacre more successful than the Harris-Klebold attack.

Acting on information they received that “associated Acord with manufacturing a destructive device with the intent of detonating it at a school,” police apprehended the young man, searched his home and discovered a secret compartment underneath the floorboards in his bedroom.

Inside the compartment were several different types of explosives, including pipe/drain cleaner bombs, Molotov cocktails and homemade napalm. Basically enough explosives to wreak serious havoc and hurt a lot of innocent people.

Acord will now be charged “as an adult with attempted aggravated murder,” according to District Attorney John Haroldson. He will also face charges related to making bombs and possessing deadly weapons with the purpose of using them against others.

Is it me, or do they have a long, drawn-out name for every possible criminal charge?

Anyway, Albany police are now spending their Memorial Day with bomb-sniffing dogs at the high school, trying to clear it of any danger before students return on Tuesday.

Harris and Klebold during their attack on Columbine (courtesy of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department)

And how bizarre will that be—returning to school after a holiday weekend only to realize it could have been your last Memorial Day had Acord’s plan not been foiled?

I shudder at the thought.

Of course, what I find especially disturbing isn’t the fact that another misguided teenager plotted to attack his school; it’s that he used a previous attack—in this case Columbine—not only as inspiration, but also as a launching point for his own improved attack.

What this means is that somewhere in America, another teenager is hearing about Acord’s plan and trying to find a way to improve upon it, too.

Oh God. I hope this article didn’t give anyone ideas…

Posted on May 27, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. It is sad that people really do this. I always ask myself why? What happened in their life to make them want to act this way and hurt people. I hope that when the students return tomorrow, everyhing will be okay!

  2. Thanks for posting this, minus the gun ban this is exactly the point I’ve been trying to get other people to understand that. It’s violent behavior we need address regardless of motivation. Without working towards stopping the mentality that causes people to lash out like this, it won’t stop. This kid was stockpiling bombs, easy to make and operate. I know on my own blog and here in a previous comment I pointed out that had the Columbine kids spent more time developing their bombs the death and injury tolls would have been higher. the list of things that can be used to make homemade bombs and weapons is staggering and all of our lives would be seriously impacted if we tried to ban everything that could be used as a weapon. I;m glad they caught this kid hopefully he’ll get the help he needs.

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