Columbine Students Debunk “Goth” Ties To Shooters As Community Moves On

Sobbing, shell-shocked survivors of Tuesday’s massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado continue to grieve for their dead and wounded classmates, victims of teenage gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.

The two Columbine juniors, armed with shotguns and pipe bombs, brutally (and, many witnesses say, joyfully) slaughtered at least 13 classmates and teachers and wounded 23 others before taking their own lives Tuesday afternoon.

While speaking with Columbine High School students on Wednesday, MTV News’ Chris Connelly heard details of two young men with problems far beyond the “Trenchcoat Mafia” tag they adopted and the Goth style that has been attributed to them.

“They really didn’t go into a Gothic thing,” a Columbine student named Nick said of the two shooters. “That’s something, kind of, the media has created, and that’s kind of aggravated me. This whole Trenchcoat Mafia thing’s
been blown out of proportion. All it is is a group of kids who felt a little outcast and started wearing trenchcoats. It’s not a huge gang. It’s not a community problem. As I’m sure you’ve probably heard, the sheriffs haven’t even heard of the Trenchcoat Mafia, because it’s not a mafia, and it’s not anything serious. It was just a way for them to get together. It was more like a clique than anything else. And after last year, when a lot of those people who were in it graduated, it kind of died out, and they kind of stopped wearing the trenchcoats, actually, a lot. It’s really not Gothic and it’s not… the face-painting thing, I have never seen, personally. I don’t know anything about it.” [RealVideo]

Many students who discussed the Trenchcoat Mafia with MTV News noted that the group was fairly innocuous, but that Harris and Klebold’s fascination with Adolf Hitler made them far more dangerous.

“It’s just a name to make them
sound tough,”
a Columbine High student named John said of the Trenchcoat Mafia. “They made themselves into outcasts because that’s what they like to be. They like to cause trouble. They’re not very menacing, usually. And, I guess they’re all holding it back and then one day they just let [it] out.” [RealVideo]

Reports have also surfaced that one of the students involved in the shooting may have been behind a Webpage that featured pipe bomb instructions, gruesome sketches, and lyrics from the KMFDM song “Son of a Gun.” In response, the band issued a statement on Wednesday saying, “First and foremost, KMFDM would like to express their deep and heartfelt sympathy for the parents, families and friends of the murdered and injured children in Littleton. We are sick and appalled, as is the rest of the nation, by what took place in Colorado yesterday.”

As part of MTV’s “Fight For Your Rights: Take A Stand Against Violence,” MTV
News will broadcast “Warning Signs,” a special report that might help you spot signs of violent behavior in your classmates or even yourself.

“Warning Signs” airs Thursday at 4:30 p.m. (ET), following “Total Request Live,” which will feature more reports from Littleton.

You can find out more by checking out MTV’s site at www.fightforyourrights.mtv.com.