Seven years ago, the entire country was rocked by the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. Hundreds of news stories and hours upon hours of cable news dwelled upon the horrid and senseless slaughter perpetrated by diabolic teenagers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Thirteen were killed and 20 were wounded on that awful, awful day -- April 20, 1999.
That black story is back in the news, with a twist that is at once shocking and, sadly, unsurprising. The Rocky Mountain News reports some deeply disturbed jerk has produced an Internet video game out of the Columbine massacre that puts players in the boots of the killers. It's called "Super Columbine Massacre RPG."
The trend toward violent video games just gets sicker by the day. Contemplate this sad fact: The game's been downloaded for free an estimated 10,000 times.
A player starting the game is met with this statement: "Welcome to Super Columbine Massacre RPG! You play as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold on that fateful day in the Denver suburb of Littleton. How many people they kill is ultimately up to you."
The game player is represented by Harris throughout the game. The player navigates scenes that require Harris to plant bombs in the school cafeteria, meet Klebold on a hill outside the school, and attack students inside the school. In each killing scene, the player has the option to play on "auto" mode, in which the game chooses the weapon, or on "manual," in which the player decides whether to use a gun or a bomb.
Each time the Harris and Klebold characters kill someone in the game, a dialogue box pops up on the screen with the words, "Another victory for the Trench Coat Mafia." There's also dialogue in the game where after you kill students, you're praised for being "brave boys." As if gunning down unarmed students you've never met is somehow courageous.
Parents of the real victims are understandably stunned. "It's wrong," said Joe Kechter, whose son Matt was killed in the library. Brian Rohrbough, whose son Dan was murdered on a sidewalk outside the school, put it best: "We live in a culture of death, so it doesn't surprise me that this stuff has become so commonplace." He added: "when people glorify murderers, they make murder acceptable."