Former Nebraska Sen. John DeCamp is a lawyer and Lincoln and wrote “The Franklin Cover-Up”
By The Ellis County Observer
Posted: July 15, 2012
(This is Part 1 of The Ellis County Observer‘s interview with Franklin Cover-Up author and investigator John DeCamp.The Ellis County Observer is a newspaper based in north Texas)
LINCOLN, Neb. — Lawyer John DeCamp is in his 70s, but two recent events put the author of The Franklin Cover-Up right back in the media spotlight.
DeCamp, a former state senator and a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, unraveled the Penn State child-sex scandal while investigating the Omaha child-pornography, child-prostitution ring that made him an icon.
“Apparently I had done something back then linking the football coach with Franklin,” DeCamp said in a recent phone interview with this publisher. “They [media] called me from Pennsylvania, at least 20 calls…had to tell them the truth that yeah, I wrote the book but I don’t remember everything I read or uncovered. I’d have to go back and look at my files. Somehow or another, [convicted pedophile and ex-defensive coordinator Jerry] Sandusky was brought up some way by me way back [then, during Franklin]…I got call after call after call from Pennsylvania.”
Sandusky, who was convicted on 45 counts of child-sex abuse last month, was not the lone gunman in a far-reaching scandal that protected a storied football program over the safety and well-being of little children.
Earlier media reports — barely mentioned in the mainstream media now — established Sandusky as the figurehead for a more sinister role of providing children to wealthy and prominent alumni, according to respected publications like Andrew W. Griffin’s Red Dirt Report in Oklahoma.
Ironically, several days after the Penn State scandal broke last fall, Penn State’s football team played Nebraska.
“One of Sandusky’s contacts was [here in Omaha],” DeCamp said. “Somehow those Pennysylvania people knew about it from my book; they said ‘you brought it up in your book.’”
DeCamp’s next media attention could come in the form of an ABC News 20/20 special.
The Lincoln-based lawyer was interviewed about three weeks ago along with Noreen Gosch, the mother of still-missing Johnny Gosch, a Des Moines newspaper delivery boy who was kidnapped in the mid-1980’s.
Paul Bonacci, one of the victims of the Omaha Satanic ritual abuse scandal who was present at many parties involving high-level business and political leaders, is an eyewitness and direct participant in the kidnapping of Gosch. It should be noted, however, that Bonacci was forced to take part in some of the most horrific duties, many of which he said were led by “The Colonel,” Lt. Col. Michael Aquino, a psychological warfare specialist who branched off a congregation of the Church of Satan called the Temple of Set.
Aquino was later implicated in the Presidio daycare child-sex scandal in San Francisco in the late 80’s.
The Gosch family, in many published news reports, vindicate what Bonacci has said.
The Omaha ringleader in the Franklin scandal, once a rising star in the GOP, Larry King (not to be confused with the former CNN host), was sentenced to prison for his role in more than $39 million in missing funds from the Franklin Federal Credit Union in Omaha.
The missing money was only the beginning, however.
DeCamp said he was one of the original skeptics of the Satanic ritual child abuse scandal when he first heard allegations of it, but years worth of investigation, exhaustive research and countless interviews and depositions with victims made him a believer.
DeCamp was Bonacci’s lawyer when they won a $1 million civil judgment against King, who was released from prison several years ago.
According to an active Website still following the Franklin story, King worked at a BMW dealership in Sterling, Virginia as late as 2011. This paper provided the address of that dealership (21826 Pacific Blvd. Sterling, Virginia 20166) to DeCamp, who noted that to date, not one dollar has been collected from King in the $1 million civil suit awarded to Bonacci.
With older children, including a daughter who is an Omaha-based lawyer, DeCamp is still as busy as ever in his Lincoln law firm, a bustling shop whose status will forever remain as the lighthouse in exposing an intricate and high-level Satanic pedophile ring whose octopus-like arms reached the very highest levels of the Nebraska and U.S. government.
Located at 414 S. 11th St. in downtown Lincoln, DeCamp said he still receives calls from people all over the country about Satanic ritual child abuse.
According to his Web site, DeCampLegal.com, “DeCamp graduated from the University of Nebraska College of Law in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1967, and has helped hundreds of injured people recover millions of dollars in compensation. Decorated by a president for his service in Vietnam, Mr. DeCamp is listed as one of eight outstanding Vietnam veterans, and organized the famous Operation Baby Lift in 1975.
“John DeCamp served as Nebraska State Senator for 16 years and was repeatedly selected to be the Senate Chairman and Head of the “Banking Finance & Insurance Committee” of the Nebraska Senate. Mr. DeCamp knows insurance companies from the inside out and the legal system all sides must work with. As a principled and effective Senator, Mr. DeCamp took on multiple entrenched interests and learned well the art of battle, reasonable comprise and settlement when the war is won.
“Examples: Mr. DeCamp represented the children in the Columbine school shooting case; the “Grand Juror” who dared to expose secret facts in the Oklahoma City Bombing and a host of similar nationally known cases. Mr. DeCamp will do the same for you including whatever it takes to protect you and get compensation for your injuries.”
John DeCamp Interview Part 2: Coming Soon
Copyright 2012 The Ellis County Observer
It’s been almost thirteen years since the massacre and yet at least one of the victims continues to be victimized; most disgustingly by the very government sworn to protect him and his rights. We’re talking about Mark Taylor, the seventeen year old who took seven bullets and was a couple of millimeters from death.
Last year, the State of Arizona snatched Mark out of a hospital after he was having some breathing problems. They held him and drugged him for over a year, all illegally!
With the Pro Bono help of an attorney, some political radio and web heat, Governor Jan Brewer and her cronies backed down and Mark was released back to Colorado to stay with his mother Donna. All this AFTER the State of Arizona filled a suit to become Mark’s PERMANENT LEGAL GUARDIAN.
Donna brought Mark back home to Colorado and Mark was being slowly weened off the toxic psychiatric medication he had been force fed illegally in Arizona.
After a relapse in his health, the Colorado “Mental Health” “Authorities” snatched him away again. They’ve stolen his social security benefits, but surely that small sum of money is not the true motive for the continued illegal incarcerations and brain-washing of this fine young man.
1. Mark recovered from his grievous wounds AND the psychological aftermath.
2. Mark went on a book tour and appeared on Television, always lucid and well-mannered.
3. Mark testified at the FDA along with Dr. Ann Blake Tracy to push for the “Black Label” suicide warning label that is now on ALL SSRI drugs, like the ones Harris was on when he went on his murderous rampage.
4. Mark filed a lawsuit against Solvay Pharmaceuticals alleging that the Luvox that Eric Harris was taking contributed to his homicidal tendencies. This “side effect” is now considered to be empirically proven in the Kauffman Study published in 2009. Full Kauffman Study.
5. Mark, along with other students and witnesses, told investigators that there were shooters on the roof. Mark made public statements to this effect for several years after the massacre. However, the “official” Jefferson County Investigation claims that the man on the roof was an air conditioning maintenance man. Nearly ten years after the massacre a video tape was obtained that was filmed live during the shooting revealing that not only was Jeffco lying about there being no rooftop shooters, there was, in fact a whole SWAT team on the roof shooting blindly into the building. “Covering fire” it was referred to if you dig into the 40,000 + pages that came out in the years after the official 10,000 pages were released. See for yourself: http://columbinefamilyrequest.org/cases-being-investigated/rooftop-shooter/
6. If the motive for the massacre was about jocks, why did the boys write “Killing Cops” in their journals and “Fuck You Walsh,” referring to Sheriff Walsh who arrested the boys for breaking into the car in January of the preceding year? Click here for those details. http://columbinefamilyrequest.org/cases-being-investigated/columbine-january-incident/
7. Why was the bomb warrant on the Harris home not served when it was ready to be signed by a judge more than a year before the massacre? And why did Jeffco hide the bomb warrant during the initial investigations? And why did the bomb warrant
(http://columbinefamilyrequest.org/?s=bomb+warrant ) NOT have an evidence numberstamped onto it?
Lastly, and most importantly, why has there been such a massive coverup of the Columbine Massacre? The simplest explanation is that Sheriff Walsh sexually assaulted at least one of the boys. Take a look at the “crime scene drawing” done by Eric Harris the night of “The January Incident.” Surely, this picture does NOT depict the scene of the crime where the boy broke into the van and it certainly isn’t a man with a star walking a dog, as some would like to suggest. It looks plain and simply as an anal sexual assault by a man wearing a five-pointed star–a Sheriff’s badge. And THAT is why the Basement tapes are locked up in the National Archives because it’s logical to conclude that those tapes reveal the true motive: “Killing Cops” and “Our Revenge for the January Incident Will be God Like.” Just like we’ve seen with the Catholic Church and the recent Penn State Scandal, the world is infested with male sexual predators. In this case, we claim, they wore a badge and were sworn to protect. Incidentally, we’ve made extensive efforts to locate Sheriff Walsh, but he seems to have joined Jimmy Hoffa. Evil exists in the World and we must not turn away from it, rather we must continue to shed light on this ugly truth.http://columbinefamilyrequest.org/evidence-repository/other-cases/
“Walsh Butt Rape” refers to a file named in the El Paso County Sheriff’s office.
Clearly, you can see that the drawing is in file 005 page 09 because that is indeed the number stamped at the top of the page after I faxed this to Sheriff Sullivan.
Many motives have been suggested by various authors, but “killing cops” is rarely mentioned as a motive even though Harris wrote about “killing cops” in his yearbook just weeks before he and Dylan launched their attack. Eric writes in his Yearbook, “ My revenge for the January Incident will be God Like”. Further, on the day of the shooting Eric wore a shirt emblazoned with the word “Wrath.” Clearly, he’s upset about the January Incident.
The singular “january incident’ that stands out in this case is the January 30th arrest of the boys, 14 months prior to the shooting. In late 2001, this document was faxed by this Investigor who knew sheriff Sullivan personally for over 20 years, ever sense Sullivan was a beat officer. We knew each other through the civic activities in town. I called Sherriff Sullivan and spoke to him about his concern that there had been a sexual assault by a Sheriff Walsh on Eric Harris the night they were arrested in January of 1998, 14 months BEFORE the Columbine shooting. The boys had broken into a van and stolen some electronics equipment.
We talked for a few minutes and he agreed to receive my fax. After that, he didn’t return multiple calls. It wasn’t until years later that I discovered the fax published on another website.
After Eric and Dylan’s arrest, they were put into a program for Juvenile offenders.
For some reason, Eric told a counselor that this was a very traumatic incident for him and it’s during this juvenile program that Eric is put on anti-depressants. In Eric’s Yearbook, he writes “My revenge for the January Incident will be God-Like and makes several references to “killing cops.”
It was during juvenile probation that Harris was put on SSRI medications. He was so upset that by the January Incident that Mrs. Harris took Erick to a psychiatrist. As we all know now, these SSRI drugs can trigger violence, especially in boys. In Taylor vs. Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Mark Taylor was pushing exactly this issue. If not for the SSRI drugs, no massacre. The trial was halted mid-way through and the deposition of the parents is under seal, two attorneys are still under gag order from that ten year old case! We have it sourced directly from an eye witness in the Courtroom that this very crime scene drawing was being brought into evidence when the trial was halted. Our source on this is impeccable.
Interestingly, there’s not one thing in the yearbook about being teased by jocks. Furthermore, Eric and Dylan had dozens of bombs, none of which was put in the locker room where jocks would be hit for sure. They chose the cafeteria at lunch time, simply because that’s where they were guaranteed to get maximum casualties from their bombs.
Every crime has a motive. Eric and Dylan set out their plot in great detail. They spent months building and testing bombs. They acquired weapons and ammunition and took target practice out in the forest. In other words, this was not a spontaneous act of insanity. Both Eric and Dylan were intelligent boys. They were both really upset about something long before the day of the massacre and clearly whatever the “January Incident” was, it was a significant event.
When the Jefferson County Sheriff’s release their 11,000 page report, they didn’t include an absolutely vital piece of paper, A search warrant for a bomb and bomb making equipment in the Harris home. The bomb warrant was drafted based on the discovery of pipe-bomb fragments recovered and neighbor’s complaints about the boys.
So, just after the January Arrest, the boys start acting out, making threats.
August 7, 1997 – This Investigator called the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to complain about Eric Harris’s violent laced web site. The tip was investigated by Deputy Michael Burgess who forwarded the report and print outs of the web site to the investigator in charge of computer-related crime, John Hicks. This was the end of the investigation
January 30, 1998 – Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold are arrested by Jefferson County Deputy Tim Walsh for breaking and entering an electrician’s van and stealing equipment from it
February 15, 1998 – Using a search warrant, Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies found and defused a pipe bomb in a field at Garrison and Field Streets1 of 39 4/1/09 9:34 AMHistory of Columbine High http://www.columbine-angels.com/History.htm
March 1998 – Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold are placed in Jefferson County’s Juvenile Diversion Program and given anger management classes
March 18, 1998 – Randy and Judy Brown meet with investigators to discuss the violent writings and threats against their son, Brooks, posted on Eric Harris’s website
November 1998 – Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold bring Robyn Anderson to the Tanner Gun Show where she purchases two shot guns and a HiPoint 9mm carbine rifle from Ronald Hartmann and James Royce Washington
February 3, 1999 – Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold are released from Jefferson County’s Juvenile Diversion Program
March 6, 1999 – Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold, Philip Duran, Mark Manes and his girl friend, Jessica Miklich, drive out to a makeshift shooting range in Douglas County to film themselves shooting their guns (shotguns and a 9mm semiautomatic pistol). Once the police obtain the video, they dub it the Rampart Range video
April 20, 1999 – Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold storm Columbine High School at lunchtime, killing Rachel Joy Scott, Daniel Rohrbough, Kyle Velasquez, Steven Curnow, Cassie Bernall, Isaiah Shoels, Matt Kechter, Lauren Townsend, John Tomlin, Kelly Fleming, Daniel Mauser, Corey DePooter and William “Dave” Sanders. The pair injured Brian Anderson, Richard Castaldo, Jennifer Doyle, Stephen Austin Eubanks, Nick Foss, Sean Graves, Makai Hall, Anne Marie Hochhalter, Patrick Ireland, Joyce Jankowski, Michael Johnson, Mark Kintgen, Lance Kirklin, Lisa Kreutz, Adam Kyler, Stephanie Munson, Patti Nielson, Nicole Nowlin, Jenna Park, Kasey Ruegsegger, Valeen Schnurr, Dan Steepleton, Mark Taylor and Evan Todd. This becomes the worst high school shooting in American history
ERIC HARRIS DRAWS WELL. and he does it a lot in his journals.
Now look at this crime scene drawing.
What is Eric Drawing?
A man wearing a star, walking a dog? Then why did El Pas0 County Sheriffs have a file folder named, “Walsh Butt Rape?”
Why is meek and mild Mark Taylor locked up and the Arizona shooter, Jared Loughner, allowed to run free based on HIS “Constitutional Rights” and commit mass murder???
This is our most comprehensive expose yet. It ties the current illegal confinement of Mark Taylor in an Arizona mental hospital with an extensive re-edit of videos regarding the Bomb Warrant, The January Incident and the ensuing coverup. On one of the videos, the news helicopter pilot is relating how the FAA was closing his air space even though he was three miles away! Next up the “Roof Top Shooters” and why Mark is being persecuted and tortured.
Mark Taylor is a victim several times over:
Now, under the best of circumstances, Mark faces one to two years of recovery and may never fully recover from the continued misuse and abuse of psychiatric medications.
Mark has been imprisoned illegally and the “Government of Arizona,” violating so many of Mark and Donna’s Constitutional Rights that I am too tired to list them all, but, I assure you, I’ll have them up on this site shortly, well, actually, they are lengthy, appallingly so! Of course, I may just be uneducated; maybe there is a logical explanation for this foul-up.
As the 10th Anniversary approaches, why are there still so many unanswered questions about the Columbine shooting? Columbine Family Request wants you to know that we’re still chasing down facts and lead in an effort to both get at the Truth, but more importantly, prevent the ongoing abuses that create these horrible events in the first place.
“Do not think we’re trying to copy anyone,” he tells some future, unseen audience. “We had the idea before the first one ever happened. Our plan is better, not like those fucks in Kentucky with camouflage and .22s. Those kids were only trying to be accepted by others.”
With his parents asleep upstairs and Dylan Klebold manning the camera, Harris takes his viewers on a tour of his bedroom arsenal. On the floor, he’s laid out numerous pipe bombs, a shotgun and carbine with spare clips, boxes of bullets and homemade grenades. He models his cargo pants and the slings he’s devised to hold weapons. He brandishes a knife and points out a swastika carved in its sheath. He shows off a fifty-foot coil of bomb fuse hanging on the wall.
“Directors will be fighting over this story,” Klebold says. “I know we’re gonna have followers because we’re so fucking godlike. We’re not exactly human. We have human bodies, but we’ve evolved one step above you fucking human shit. We actually have fucking self-awareness.”
Welcome, once more, to the basement tapes — nearly four hours of posing, boasting and bitching by the obnoxious gods of self-awareness, two teenage killers-to-be named Harris and Klebold. The footage was shot in the last weeks of their short lives, the final segment just a few hours before the rampage at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, that left fifteen dead and seriously injured two dozen more. Seized by Jefferson County investigators right after the shootings, the tapes have been sitting in an evidence vault for the past seven years, seen by almost no one — except, of course, a small army of cops, attorneys, reporters, victims’ families, expert witnesses and assorted hangers-on.
That could change soon. Following a surprising decision by the Colorado Supreme Court last fall, which held that the tapes are part of the “records” generated by the Columbine investigation, Jefferson County Sheriff Ted Mink has been wrestling with the biggest quandary of his law-enforcement career. Should he refuse to release the basement tapes on the grounds that their dissemination is still (in the words of the state’s Criminal Justice Records Act) “contrary to the public interest” — and thus prolong a five-year court battle with the Denver Post? Or should he make the hate-filled rants, along with other long-suppressed writings and recordings taken from the killers’ homes, available to the world at last?
Mink has postponed announcing his decision until after the seventh anniversary of the massacre next week — out of respect, his office says, for the victims’ families, some of whom have pushed for the release of the materials while others have opposed it. But if history is any guide, he will oppose the release, sending the whole controversy back to court. County officials have treated the killers’ writings and tapes as an anthrax-like deadly contagion that must not, under any circumstances, be inflicted on an unsuspecting populace.
“The Sheriff’s Office is fearful that release of this information would not help the public but could potentially cause another one of these attacks,” Assistant County Attorney Lily Oeffler said in a hearing before District Judge Brooke Jackson in 2002. (Oeffler, the county’s point person in keeping Columbine’s secrets, is now a district judge herself.) The county’s position mirrors that of the parents of Harris and Klebold, whose attorneys have maintained that the tapes are private property and that their release would have a disastrous “copycat effect,” inspiring more school shootings.
“Mr. and Mrs. Harris do not want the angry and vitriolic rantings of their son to be made public,” Harris attorney Michael Montgomery wrote to Mink recently, “but their overriding concern is to avoid the risk that these tapes and writings might influence others to commit similar acts.”
Copycats and Natural Born Killers
In his official report on the massacre, Sheriff Stone used excerpts from the writings of Harris and Klebold to suggest that no one but the gunmen could be blamed for the shootings — no one at the sheriff’s office, anyway, which had failed to investigate several previous complaints about Harris. This kind of selective editing was anticipated by the killers; in one of their videos, they discuss how the cops will censor their work and “just show the public what they want.”
Stone also gave a Time reporter full access to the basement tapes. Claiming to have been bushwhacked by the resulting cover story, the sheriff was then compelled to let local media types and victims’ families view the tapes before locking them up for good (“Stonewalled,” April 13, 2000).
Similarly, Stone’s office had no qualms about sharing tidbits from Harris’s journal — “the Book of God,” as Harris calls it in one video — in presentations to select gatherings of school and law-enforcement officials. As long as the cops could control the information flow, there was no yammering about the dangers of copycats.
But it was a different story whenWestword and then the Rocky Mountain News published more extensive excerpts from Harris’s writings. The excerpts showed that Harris had developed detailed plans to attack the school a year in advance, while he was in a juvenile diversion program and supposedly being investigated for building pipe bombs and making death threats (“I’m Full of Hate and I Love It,” December 6, 2001). Now officials were outraged that their top-secret investigation had sprung yet another leak.
So was the Denver Post. Tired of getting its ass whupped in the leak department, the Post went to court to demand the release of the rest of the materials seized from the killers’ homes. Attorneys for the county and the killers’ parents responded with a flurry of dire warnings about copycat effects, including one from David Shaffer, a psychiatrist and expert on adolescent suicide. In addition to a 27-page resumé, Shaffer submitted afour-page affidavit asserting the toxic nature of the basement tapes, which he hadn’t seen.
Some judges involved in the Columbine litigation have uncritically embraced the copycat argument, saying the disclosure of the materials would have “a potential for harm” or, in fact, would be “immensely harmful” to the public. Judge Jackson, who ultimately may have to decide the matter, has been more skeptical. In one hearing on the basement tapes, he pointed out that there were plenty of Columbine imitators before the existence of the tapes was even disclosed. All the more reason, Oeffler responded, not to release them.
“What evidence do you have today that release of the documents is going to cause some calamity, or are we just speculating?” Jackson demanded.
“Unless you release the evidence and they actually cause the calamity, Your Honor, the question cannot be responded to,” Oeffler shot back.
“Does that mean I can’t, and no court can ever release them because maybe some additional copycat is going to be inspired?”
“I don’t think it is a maybe, Your Honor,” Oeffler responded gravely.
Yet Harris’s web writings, several pages of his journals and detailed descriptions of the contents of the basement tapes have now circulated on the Internet for years, with no notable surge in copycat incidents. The problem with the copycat defense is that it is speculative and thus largely unanswerable, much like forecasting suicide clusters based on suicide coverage in the media. (It’s just as speculative, perhaps, as trying to quantify the number of shooting incidents that might have been prevented by frank discussion of the Columbine tragedy.) Some of the same experts who consider the Klebold and Harris materials too dangerous for public consumption also blame the massacre in part on “the gunmen’s previous exposure to violent imagery and their study of notorious criminals and tyrants.” Does that mean it’s time to pullMein Kampf from the library shelves or Natural Born Killers from the video store, simply because Harris admired Hitler and Klebold took his style tips from Woody Harrelson?
In several cases, news reports of would-be school shooters note that the suspects had trenchcoats or otherwise sought to imitate Harris and Klebold — but how many were actually “inspired” by them? It’s true that the gunmen wanted their words to find as wide an audience as possible in order to attract followers; but then, they, like the sheriff’s office, had an exaggerated notion of their own importance. The county’s efforts to suppress the killers’ writings and tapes have given them a cachet of consummate evil and menace; being taboo, they’ve become cool. Yet anyone who’s actually seen the tapes or read the journal fragments soon recognizes that these fabled mass murderers are not gods but adolescents. Angry, scared, mocking, disturbed, bitter, pathological, deluded (fucking self-aware, mind you), emotionally stunted and deadly, but adolescents just the same. Behind the blather about being gods and kick-starting a revolution is a bottomless obsession with their own lack of status and sense of injury. Behind the bravado, a snivel.
“I don’t like you,” Klebold says in one of the videos, addressing two female classmates. “You’re stuck-up little bitches. You’re fucking little…Christian, godly little whores! What would Jesus do? What the fuck would I do?”
“I would shoot you in the motherfucking head!” Harris chimes in. “Go, Romans! Thank God they crucified that asshole.”
“Go, Romans!” Klebold echoes, and the two start chanting like sophomores.
Far from adding to the hype, the leaks have helped to demythologize Harris and Klebold. Showing the tapes in their entirety could have some deterrent value, one victim’s parent has suggested, removing whatever lingering mystique the killers still have.
Wayne’s World and the Clueless Klebolds
In his letter to Sheriff Mink, Harris attorney Montgomery contends that the single media viewing of the basement tapes six years ago “should be deemed sufficient…to insure public transparency in the investigative and prosecutorial decisions of executive agencies.” But what’s striking about the drawn-out records battle is how little transparency there’s been.
From day one, mortified county officials did their best to conceal the existence of an affidavit for a warrant to search Harris’s home that was drafted a year before the shootings but never submitted to a judge (“Anatomy of a Cover-Up,” September 30, 2004). They kept it under wraps for two years, until CBS News found out about it and Judge Jackson ordered its release.
Investigators lied to the media about what the sheriff’s office knew about Harris and Klebold before the shootings. They gave victims’ parents bad information about how their children died. In an effort to make the facts of the police response to the attack fit the official story, timelines were distorted or destroyed and dispatch logs and other key documents spirited away, in defiance of court orders and open-records requests. Small wonder that critics of the sheriff’s office believe that, copycat concerns aside, the powers that be have other motives for keeping the remaining materials in the vault.
Some clues to What They Don’t Want You to Know can be found in the basement tapes and in the Harris writings first published in Westword in 2001. The lads boast about how easy it is to fool adults in general and their parents in particular. They mock some of their lamer teachers, and Klebold offers a hearty fuck-you to a sheriff’s deputy who, it turns out, had more contact with the pair than his department was prepared to admit. Harris exults in how easy it was to buy guns and ammo, how absurdly easy to dupe everyone around him.
“I could convince them that I’m going to climb Mount Everest or I have a twin brother growing out of my back,” he says. “I can make you believe anything.”
None of this is terribly complimentary to school officials, law enforcement, the supervisors of the diversion program the teens were both in — or the parenting skills of the Harrises and Klebolds. And it raises disturbing questions about what similar revelations might be contained in other, as-yet-unreleased materials.
Evidence logs indicate that police found much more than the basement tapes and the “Book of God” when they searched the Harris home. Harris left other handwritten notes behind and at least one audio message — a microcassette labeled “Nixon” that was left conspicuously on the kitchen counter. According to a brief internal police summary of the tape’s contents, Harris can be heard explaining “why these things are happening and states it will happen Œless than nine hours [from] now.'”
But the most intriguing, hush-hush item from the Harris home is probably evidence item #201, a green steno book found in a desk drawer. The book doesn’t belong to Eric or God but to Wayne Harris, who used it to write down various matters concerning his son’s mental health, errant behavior and interactions with neighbors and authorities. As a result of the confidential settlements reached in lawsuits brought against the Harrises and Klebolds by some victims’ families, virtually everyone who’s ever seen the steno book can’t comment on its contents.
We do know one thing about item #201: It documents more contacts between the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Harrises over their son’s behavior years before the shooting than the sheriff’s office has ever acknowledged. In 2004, investigators working for the state attorney general’s office used the steno book to track a complaint against Eric that dated back to 1997, a case for which the department paperwork had disappeared. The deputy on the case, Tim Walsh, was the same officer who arrested Harris and Klebold for breaking into a van in 1998; interviewed by investigators after the shootings in 1999, Walsh made no mention of the 1997 case.
Wayne and Kathy Harris have never given a formal interview to the police. Their chief contact with Columbine investigators occurred the day of the shootings, when officers arrived to search the house, and particularly Eric’s room, despite Kathy’s protesting, “I don’t want you going down there.” But the parents’ attorneys have had extensive communication with the county attorney’s office since that day, and they’ve joined forces with the county on numerous occasions to battle release of the steno book and other materials seized from the home. It’s a cozy alliance that has troubled Brian Rohrbough, whose son Danny was murdered at Columbine and who has ended up opposing the team in court.
“Jefferson County has used taxpayer money to represent the Klebolds’ and Harrises’ demand that these items never be released,” Rohrbough wrote in his own letter to Mink, urging him to release the materials sought by the Post. “It is long past time for you to serve the public’s interest in protecting children above the private interest of two families who raised cold-blooded murderers.”
Nothing akin to the green steno book was found at the Klebold home. Tom and Susan Klebold did talk to investigators; five years later, they even gave one media interview, to David Brooks of the New York Times. “They say they had no intimations of Dylan’s mental state,” Brooks wrote. That assertion is spectacularly at odds with accounts from school employees — about chronic disciplinary problems, perceived “anger issues” Dylan might have had with his father, and, most of all, a class essay Dylan wrote about a trenchcoated avenger who slaughters a group of “preps,” a scene so vicious that his teacher felt compelled to discuss it with his parents — but Brooks didn’t press the issue.
Written only weeks before the massacre, the essay wasn’t Klebold’s first foray into violent revenge fantasies. He wrote about killing sprees in his own journal, as well as thoughts of suicide, depression and his dream of ascending to a higher state of existence. The sheriff’s report provides only brief references to this material, which has been more tightly guarded than the Book of God.
When the sheriff’s office finally got around to releasing thousands of pages of Columbine material, a cover sheet for one section was titled “Klebold Writings.” But the writings weren’t released.
The High Priests
One proposed solution to the question of the killers’ tapes and writings, advanced by Ken Salazar before he left the post of Colorado attorney general for the U.S. Senate, was to turn over the materials to a “qualified professional,” who would author a study about the causes of Columbine while keeping the primary materials in strict confidence. The proposal soon fell apart, though, after the killers’ parents refused to cooperate with Salazar’s anointed expert, Del Elliott, director of the University of Colorado’s Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence.
It’s just as well. The notion that only the high priests of social science are qualified to handle the gunmen’s toxic waste, that only the academic elite have the training, the lengthy resumés, the godlike self-awareness to process this information without becoming hopelessly contaminated, is absurdly creepy. It’s Kleboldish.
Besides, there’s no data to suggest that qualified researchers are any better at keeping a secret than the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Lack of access to the basement tapes, the Harris and Klebold journals and the green steno book hasn’t discouraged amateurs and experts alike from producing “psychological autopsies” of the killers, but there are two researchers who’ve had unique access to all those items. The only catch is that they can’t talk about it.
In the course of defending one of the Columbine lawsuits, Solvay Pharmaceuticals — the manufacturer of an anti-depressant prescribed for Harris — retained the services of two expert witnesses, Park Dietz and John March, who were allowed to examine confidential discovery materials, including the tapes and writings seized from the killers’ homes. Dietz and March were subject to the same suffocating non-disclosure agreements imposed on parties to the lawsuits against the Klebolds and Harrises. But after the Solvay case was settled, the pair sought permission to publish their findings in a peer-reviewed journal.
Lewis Babcock, chief judge of Denver’s federal district court, denied their request. In a scathing order, he pointed out that March and Dietz had made conflicting arguments about why they should be allowed to go public. On the one hand, much of the material had already leaked out; on the other, the pair claimed to have “important scientific evidence of the motives and reasons” for the massacre that had not yet come to light. If the first assertion were true, Babcock reasoned, then the experts’ report would be “of no interest to the public” — but if it contained new information, it could endanger “potential victims of those who might take encouragement” from what it revealed.
In other words, damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Babcock was also unconvinced by the idea that the experts were in a better position to grasp the essence of Columbine’s remaining mysteries than a layman would be. “The public is equally adept at comprehending the depravity under which Harris and Klebold labored,” he wrote.
But the public’s adeptness depends on having access to the facts — not just bits and pieces of the story, but the whole ugly package. That hasn’t happened with Columbine. It’s been a sorry tale of lies and coverups, of stonewalling, cover-your-butt officials and oblivious parents and suffering without end. Harris and Klebold relied on just such a climate of denial and deception to allow them to plan their massacre and practically advertise it, without fear that they would ever be seen for who they were.
It’s been seven years since the pair walked into Columbine for the last time, guns blazing. The world has other monsters on its mind now. Yet there are people who still contend that the words the killers left behind are so powerful, so evil that the average citizen must never hear them.
The truth hurts. But the lies can be lethal.