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1309American Behavioral ScientistVolume 52 Number 9May 2009 1309-1326© 2009 SAGE Publications10.1177/0002764209332548hosted atAuthor’s Note:I would like to acknowledge the help of Debra Larkin, Peter Freund, Glenn Muschert, and Raymond Calluori, who edited earlier versions of this article.The Columbine LegacyRampage Shootings as Political ActsRalph W. LarkinJohn Jay College of Criminal Justice, the City University of New YorkThe purpose of this article is to explore how the Columbine shootings on April 20, 1999, influenced subsequent school rampage shootings. First, school rampage shoot-ings are defined to distinguish them from other forms of school violence. Second, post-Columbine shootings and thwarted shootings are examined to determine how they were influenced by Columbine. Unlike prior rampage shooters, Harris and Klebold committed their rampage shooting as an overtly political act in the name of oppressed students victimized by their peers. Numerous post-Columbine rampage shooters referred directly to Columbine as their inspiration; others attempted to supersede the Columbine shootings in body count. In the wake of Columbine, conspiracies to blow up schools and kill their inhabitants by outcast students were uncovered by authorities. School rampage shootings, most of which referred back to Columbine as their inspira-tion, expanded beyond North America to Europe, Australia, and Argentina; they increased on college campuses and spread to nonschool venues. The Columbine shoot-ings redefined such acts not merely as revenge but as a means of protest of bullying, intimidation, social isolation, and public rituals of humiliation.Keywords:Columbine; rampage shootings; school violence; bullyingIn the 1980s and 1990s, Americans witnessed a new and disturbing social phenom-enon: school rampage shootings executed by disturbed and alienated present or former male students who had decided to settle grudges against peers, teachers, or administrators with bullets and sometimes bombs. Such shootings seemed to culmi-nate with the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, which had a toll of 15 dead and 23 wounded. Although school rampages have abated somewhat, numerous serious conspiracies have been uncovered. Rampage shooters have cho-sen other venues, such as shopping malls and churches. In addition, rampage shoot-ings have spread from North America to the Western world and from secondary schools to university campuses. In this article, evidence will be presented on how the Columbine shootings have attained a mythical existence and have influenced subsequent rampages.
1310 American Behavioral ScientistRampage ShootingsWhat is a school rampage shooting? Muschert (2007b) described rampage shoot-ings as “expressive non-targeted attacks on a school institution” (p. 63). Newman (2004) defined rampage shootings as follows:Rampage shootings are defined by the fact that they involve attacks on multiple parties, selected almost at random. The shooters may have a specific target to begin with, but

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