Columbine, five years later

The kids who survived the worst school massacre in U.S. history have graduated, and some of them have even forgiven. But many of their parents have not.

Published April 20, 2004 7:15PM (EDT)

Brian Rohrbough is wearing a wire. It's a fancy digital rig, capable of capturing 22 hours of conversation before Rohrbough needs to fiddle with it again. He bought it, he says, when he became fed up with being lied to about the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history -- April 20, 1999, when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed his son, Daniel, along with 11 other fellow students, a teacher, and themselves at Columbine High School.

"I record everything," Rohrbough says here at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Golden, Colo., one Thursday morning late in February; it is yet another Columbine news conference, just two months before the fifth anniversary of the tragedy. "My format is mini-disk, but I have others."

The event at the fairgrounds is billed as an unprecedented gesture of openness for Columbine and, indeed, for every criminal case anywhere that has never gone to trial. In the interest of providing full disclosure and of quieting the howls of skeptics who still want further investigation, the new sheriff, Ted Mink, has ordered that all of the Columbine evidence, every bomb and bullet, be put on display for one afternoon of public viewing.

What has been only read about can now be seen, though not touched. And, for the first time, the enormity of the arsenal deployed that day can be grasped. Take the contents of Klebold's car, remarkable for the hate and premeditation they represent: five pipe bombs, three other incendiary devices, three 16-ounce propane bombs, two 5-gallon red gas cans, three 2-gallon, 8-ounce red gas cans, two 20-pound propane tanks, two and a half gallons of lane conditioner (a highly flammable substance used on bowling alleys), bottle rockets, bullets, fuses, nails and duct tape. And this was the stuff he didn't take into the school.

"That's Dylan," one young woman says to a friend, pointing at a freeze frame photo taken by security cameras in the cafeteria that day. "He's the one who shot at me."

Ropes separate the evidence tables from the viewers, museum style. Anybody who leans over to get a better look at Klebold's muddy sneakers, maybe, or the television sets whose screens were blasted out by bullets, is shooed back by a sheriff's deputy. People speak in whispers. Some sponge away tears using tissues provided. They loop around the two big rooms, once, twice, three times. If the instruments of mass murder are impossible to ignore, they take on a larger, even more disturbing significance when the victims are teenagers and one of their favorite teachers, Dave Sanders.

"I work full time now," says Erin Walton, who, with others, tried in vain to save Sanders, offering up her sweatshirt to absorb some of the blood seeping from his neck. She was 15 then. She didn't go on to college. "It's hard me to think about going back to school," she explains. "I can't be in a room with big windows."

"Brian still cringes when he hears the sound of a helicopter," says Bob Warnier, stepfather of Brian Anderson, then 17, who was shot three times in the chest and survived. Brian decided not to come to the fairgrounds today.

Before the viewing ends at 4 p.m., 975 people pass through the evidence rooms, many of them former students, survivors, and friends and relatives of the dead. Absent, as they have consistently been in the five years since the massacre, are Wayne and Kathy Harris, Eric's parents, and Tom and Sue Klebold, who raised Dylan. Although they live in the same Littleton-area homes they occupied on April 20, 1999, they have contributed virtually nothing to the public's understanding of who their sons were and why they killed. The Harrises and Klebolds denied requests for interviews for this story, but plenty of people are willing to talk about them. "They're scared. They're terrified," a friend of the Klebold family says of Tom and Sue. "Sue Klebold looks like a skeleton dipped in wax. They're sick and tired and depressed all the time. A lot of people in Littleton wanted their blood."

Beyond Littleton, the Columbine shootings became a defining cultural moment, the inspiration for two acclaimed novels; a Gus Van Sant film, "Elephant," winner of the top award at Cannes this year; and Michael Moore's Academy-award winning "Bowling for Columbine." Every interest group, it seemed, wanted to claim the massacre for itself as a horrifying example of what can occur when its message is ignored. Some of the many born-again Christians in and around Denver felt a school shooting on this scale was the sort of thing that happens when the Ten Commandments aren't displayed in a high school. Gun-control groups weighed in when it became clear that the some of the weapons Harris and Klebold carried had come from that American shame, the unregulated gun show. For a time, some cried racism because the pair murdered one of Columbine's few black students, Isaiah Shoels. And the fact that Harris and Klebold had been bullied seemed to prove, at least to those advocating stricter codes of conduct in high schools, the deadly menace that unchecked bullying can create.

Everybody's message was essentially the same: What happened at Columbine could have happened at any high school in America, and we must all be prepared. And yet much about Columbine remains unexplained. Even five years later, no one can conclusively say why a couple of sheltered, upper-middle-class teenagers became murderers or how a community can best heal itself after a tragedy of this magnitude, let alone precisely what steps to take to prevent a similar massacre in the future. For all its public importance, Columbine remains a private tragedy, and its survivors differ hugely over what it meant and how best to move on.

The quest for answers continues, led by parents like Rohrbough, who lost a child, and Randy and Judy Brown, a couple whose son, Brooks, had been close to Dylan Klebold since childhood and friendly with Eric Harris. The search has been contentious, and like other recent major cases (JonBenet Ramsey, Kobe Bryant) investigated by small-town Colorado investigators, this one is dogged by the hobgoblins of incompetence and rumors of a coverup. Uncovering the truth became a crusade for Rohrbough, something he worked at every minute he could break free from his job installing high-end stereos in cars. But it doesn't appear to have erased the grief he feels over the death of his son, who was shot outside the school that April morning.

Some of Rohrbough's throbbing anger has been directed at law enforcement, some at the Jefferson County School District, and some at the Harris and Klebold families. Police interviewed Tom and Sue Klebold, but the results were never revealed. Wayne and Kathy Harris, unable to work out an immunity deal, refused to talk. "Who are these people who feel that they don't owe society anything?" says Judy Brown. "They owe society a lot."

Then, about nine months ago, all four of the killers' parents were deposed as part of civil lawsuits filed by some of the victims' families. But in a highly unusual decision, a Colorado magistrate ordered the deposition transcripts to be destroyed, and a federal judge barred any of the plaintiffs who witnessed the depositions from talking about them. Some of the material gathered, Rohrbough told me, "would be rather large news," the sort of stuff "people have never heard, are not expecting, and would be shocked to find out."

Other hints that the parents knew how dangerous their sons were have recently surfaced. At the evidence presentation in February, for example, were snippets of Wayne Harris' journal. In a green stenographer's notebook Harris had made notes about his suspicions that Eric had damaged a neighborhood tree with eggs and toilet paper, cracked the windshield of Brooks Brown's car with a snowball, and made harassing phone calls to the Brown home, a short distance from the Harris home in Littleton. Reviewed by investigators, the complete journal, a sort of diary of the father of a madman, has never been made public.

"As the years have gone by and we've unpeeled the layers, there is no possibility that either the Klebolds or Harrises didn't have very adequate information about what their kids were capable of," Rohrbough insists. "They rolled the dice. They decided, these kids are almost out of school -- once they get out they'll go their separate ways and we'll be done with it."

In January 1998, Harris and Klebold were arrested for breaking into a van and placed in a juvenile diversion program, but they continued to pal around together. That perplexes Rohrbough. "If your kid was caught breaking into a van with another kid, would you allow him to continue hanging out with that other kid at all hours of the night, running together, never knowing where they were, at 3 in the morning?" he asks. "These things don't make sense for a reasonable person. Bad parenting, yeah. Wicked families, absolutely, in my opinion."

Rohrbough also blames the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department for looking away from the menace Klebold and Harris had become. At its fairgrounds press conference, the department revealed that it had had no fewer than 15 contacts with Harris and Klebold in the two years leading up the killings. Besides the complaints about snowballs, prank calls, and the burglarized van, the police had been called twice about a Web site Harris had created, in which he threatened death and destruction. On the site, he openly discussed the testing of pipe bombs that he had built and named Atlanta, Pholus, Peltro and Pazzie. "Each has a 14' mortar shell type fuse," Harris wrote, at the age of 15. "Now our only problem is to find the place that will be 'Ground Zero.'" (In the days immediately after the shootings, Sheriff's Department officials would deny that they knew these Web pages even existed).

Not until 2001, two years after the shootings, did the Jefferson County sheriff's office reveal that in 1998 it had prepared a search warrant -- never executed -- to search the Harris home, a move that might well have prevented the bloodbath. And, only in February 2004 was it revealed that the earliest of the 15 contacts police had with Eric Harris dated back to 1997. This report had been mysteriously lost until late last October, when it was discovered tucked into a binder notebook left behind at the department by a departing deputy.

Rohrbough and other parents also remain exasperated with Jefferson County school officials, who conducted an investigation of their own almost immediately after the carnage, then compiled a 200-page report. It remains secret, however, because lawyers for the district have asserted attorney-client privilege. And much of what's in it may be lost to survivors forever, since an astonishing 80 percent of the 150 staff members on duty during the shooting have moved on.

The Columbine principal, Frank DeAngelis, told me he understood the district's action and, furthermore, worried that the report's release might "re-traumatize" those who were interviewed. Not surprisingly, Rohrbough disagrees. "They used taxpayer money to investigate and now they're claiming it's attorney-client privileged. They're hiding behind it. Someone close to this investigation told me a few years ago -- that's how I first learned about it -- 'You better get a copy of this. You won't believe what it contains.' I think I know what it contains, but I can't tell you. Anyone with decency would release it."

"The aftermath of Columbine should have been about the kids. It never has been about the kids. Not for one moment has it been about the kids."

Because of his friendship with Klebold and Harris, and his actions on April 20, Brooks Brown, a tall, rangy and proud member of the high school's outsider crowd, became one of the most controversial figures to emerge from the crisis of Columbine. Brown and Harris fell out sometime in 1999, after Brooks' parents complained to police about Eric's threats against their son, and Harris put Brooks' name on a "hit list" he maintained on his personal Web site. But on the morning of April 20, when Brown encountered Harris headed into the school, locked and loaded, Harris did not kill him. "Go home, Brooks," Brown recalls Harris saying. "I like you now."

The first time I saw Brown, a couple of days after the shootings, in the cafeteria of a hospital near Littleton, he looked like a zombie. Brown had just left the intensive care unit, where his friend Lance Kirklin was recovering from multiple gunshot wounds. Much of Lance's face had been shot off.

Brown's life, too, would soon change forever. On May 4, 1999, Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone appeared with reporter Dan Abrams on NBC. "I'm convinced there are more people involved," Stone said. "Brooks Brown could be a possible suspect." Abrams asked about the Harris Web pages. Stone scoffed, saying these were a "subtle threat," and denied that the Brown family had ever reported them to the police in the first place.

The Browns interpreted Stone's remarks as an attempt to intimidate them and shut them up, but they refused to be muzzled. Countless press interviews and public records requests later came vindication. Documents surfaced that proved that county sheriff's deputies had indeed visited the Brown home several times prior to April 20, 1999, to hear their complaints about Eric Harris' Web site.

Now 23, Brown has moved into a suburban development close to Littleton with his girlfriend of four years, Meagan Fishell, 21, a mortgage loan specialist. A chain smoker with green hair, and a devoted fan of the band Insane Clown Posse, Brown can be found most days in his basement, tinkering with computers, and acting as webmaster for a couple of youth-oriented Web sites. He delivered pizzas for Domino's for a month, the only regular job he's held in the last few years.

One unseasonably warm evening in February, Brown fired up another in a long series of Camel Turkish Jade Lights and settled into a beanbag chair in the basement. We ate Chinese food and drank A&W root beer. Brown was still recovering from six fillings he had earlier in the day, which had required eight shots of Novocain. That much painkiller, it became clear, hadn't dulled his anger toward Jefferson County officialdom.

Although his parents harbor some anger at the Klebolds and Harrises, Brown himself seems not to. In fact, six months after the killings, he says, Brown drove up to the Klebold home, in the wooded foothills outside Littleton. Dylan's parents were there. Sue Klebold served Brown some strawberry shortcake. "I was chilling with Tom and Sue, and we talked about all the different lies the sheriff was telling, and Tom said, 'You know who would be great to get out here? Michael Moore. Go on his Web site -- it has his e-mail. I can't do this because our lawyer won't let us. But that would be awesome.' I sent Michael Moore an e-mail and said, 'I'm this kid from Columbine, you might have seen me on the news. I'd really like to talk to you for a couple of minutes and see if you'd want to come out and do a movie on Columbine.' So Tom Klebold's the reason 'Bowling for Columbine' happened."

Brown would go on to co-write a thoughtful book, "No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine," which describes widespread bullying at the high school. In a culture of exclusion, loners were singled out for verbal and physical abuse by a coterie of jocks with a swelled sense of entitlement. Brown also assisted Moore with his film, some scenes of which were filmed in and around Littleton. Though Brown admires the film, he feels that Moore didn't give him enough credit for shooting footage used in the movie. "He or the people around him are users," says Brown, who says he was promised an assistant producer credit but received only a simple "thank you."

Columbine became the centerpiece of Brown's life, the driving force behind a constant battle to defend himself and make the world understand what life was like inside Columbine High School in the bloody spring of 1999. The usual post-traumatic conditions presented themselves. Brown struggled with depression, he says; he'd sleep all day one day, then stay up for three. Empty bottles of Southern Comfort 100 and Jack Daniels piled up around the house. "Anything I could get my hands on I would drink and drink and drink." He recently quit drinking, he says, a sign of his recovery.

"I wrote off a lot of my friends after Columbine, and most of my friends wrote me off. Immediately after Sheriff Stone said that I was a possible suspect, a lot of my friends just didn't even want to be seen with me. People would scream out the window of their car that I was a murderer or they'd tell me to get out of here before they killed me. And no one wants to be around that." No evidence of Brown's involvement in the massacre was ever produced, but that didn't stop Columbine administrators from banning him from the high school after he graduated in the spring of 2000. "They thought I was going to kill somebody," he says.

Meanwhile, Brown thinks school officials turned a blind eye to jock-led bullying, which Brown believes led to the tragedy. "For a year after Columbine, the administration said there was no bullying at Columbine," he says. "They just said it never was. Then the governor created a commission that said there was bullying at Columbine. So they came out and said, 'Well, we've solved the bullying problem.' That's the brilliant doubletalk they did for three years, and that was long enough and now no one really pays attention anymore."

Brown lit another cigarette. "It's like beating your head against a wall, trying to get things changed. It's painful. It's so stressful and depressing."

Brown and Lance Kirklin drifted apart. Brown became closer to Richard Castaldo, who was shot outside the school and paralyzed. He's the kid in "Bowling for Columbine" who accompanies Michael Moore to the Kmart headquarters and persuades them to stop selling ammunition. Castaldo has Kmart bullets inside him to this day, courtesy of Dylan Klebold.

"About a month ago I gave up on the whole Columbine thing," Brown says. "I'm done with what happened that day. I've come to terms with what Eric and Dylan did. People are dead, although I don't quite fully understand why yet." His basement is the center of his life now, and his computers.

Brown says he empathizes with Richard Jewell, the Atlanta security guard wrongly fingered by the FBI for the Olympic bombing. "There are people who will believe anything that is told them and won't research it themselves. And to them I say, 'Enjoy church.'"

We go outside, to Brown's gray Mercedes Benz 300e, and head east, past an interminable stretch of gas stations and convenience stores lit by neon. He talks about his choice to finally go on with his life and leave Columbine questions behind. "I've slept pretty well since making that decision. I have energy again." He makes a turn into a wooded area. "Rachel's grave," he says, "is just up the road a bit."

At Chapel Hill Cemetery, about 25 minutes from Columbine High School, Brown stops the Benz. Although only two of the victims, Rachel Scott and Corey DePooter, are buried here, side by side, 13 crosses have been constructed in a shallow semicircle, one for each of the dead. Flowers have been left, and photographs and cards: a smaller version of the massive makeshift memorial that grew up outside the school in the days immediately following the shootings, as well as around Rachel's red Acura Legend, parked in the Columbine lot near Clement Park. To many, Rachel's car became the most enduring Columbine shrine. Mourners left flowers and balloons.

A beautiful young woman with a wide smile and perfectly white teeth, a junior who dreamed of a career in the theater, Rachel Scott was going places. She and Brown took regular smoking breaks together outside school. It was during one of those breaks that Scott, 17, lost her life.

"Rachel was in a miscellaneous group," Brown recalls, in the dark. He visits Chapel Hill a couple of times a month, at night usually, or around sunrise, when the place is officially closed. Rachel Scott was Brooks Brown's kind of person, the kind of socially agile, multidimensional teenager Dylan and Eric might also have liked if they hadn't been so blinded by their hate. "Rachel was Christian, but she wouldn't hang out with the Bible thumpers," Brown explains, a fresh Camel between his fingers. "She was good-looking, but she wouldn't hang out with the hot girls. She worked two jobs in order to be able to buy herself nice clothes, but she wouldn't hang out with the rich kids. She just hung out with people who were smart. That's all she cared about."

Klebold killed her anyway. "Two shotgun blasts, boom, right to the back at about five feet. She was gone pretty quick," Brown says, as he drops some smokes on the ground. "I leave them here because the last time I saw Rachel she had a cigarette."


A few months ago, around the time Brooks Brown cut back on his drinking and began to try to put Columbine behind him, Richie Castaldo's life finally took a big positive turn, too. Castaldo moved out of his mother's house, where she'd been seeing to his every need, into a small place of his own in a working-class neighborhood in Englewood, Colo., with a cat, Maceo, named after a Jane's Addiction song. He began taking some business courses at Metropolitan State College of Denver two days a week and playing bass in a band, Danger Girl.

For most of the past five years, Castaldo lived at home while he adjusted to life in a wheelchair. Castaldo has no feeling from the middle of his chest down, thanks to a Dylan Klebold bullet that hit his T4 vertebra and shattered his spinal cord. His friend, Rachel Scott, lay dead beside him. Three shots hit Castaldo's left arm, and caused nerve damage in his left hand; he took eight bullets altogether. A pipe bomb thrown in his vicinity failed to detonate. "I didn't know Eric or Dylan at all. I saw them in the hall a couple of times," says Castaldo, who'd played saxophone in the Columbine High marching band. "I didn't even know their names. I don't think they ever said two words to me."

Castaldo backed his oversize brown van down his driveway one afternoon last February and slid into Englewood traffic. "This took me a long time to learn," he says, as he operates two hand controls, one for the steering wheel, one for the accelerator and brake. "My balance gets screwed up. Sometimes, when I turn, I have to lean into it, a little bit like you do on a motorcycle."

Castaldo takes a left turn, past Swedish Hospital, where he spent two months recovering from his injuries. Another two months in a rehabilitation facility followed, and prescriptions to stop the seizures he was having. After a year, some but not all of the movement in his left hand returned, and Castaldo took up the bass. "There are some notes that are kind of hard to play. That hand is still numb in a few areas." He's got a cool idea for the demo he's working on. He wants to sample a sound few people will have heard before -- the throaty mechanical whirr made by the lift that carries him and his wheelchair into his Chevy van.

Castaldo has been thinking, lately, as the fifth anniversary comes around, about exactly why Harris and Klebold did what they did. Even now, he realizes, it's hard to come up with solid reasons. Maybe it's impossible and there will only be individual theories. "Most kids get picked on in high school. I think they kind of fed off of each other, too. It probably started off as a joke, like 'Oh, yeah, let's just go and kill everybody.' Then, 'Let's go get the guns' and they're like, 'OK, I guess we have to do this now because we got the guns. No one's stopping us. It's too easy now.' That's what I imagine it being like."

Likewise, Pat Ireland, another badly injured survivor, has no answers for why Harris and Klebold turned violent, and he's almost stopped looking. Ireland was "the boy in the window," the wounded Columbine student who hung and then tumbled out of the library window, a scene caught on tape and beamed around the world, perhaps the grimmest public image created in the moments following the tragedy. The young man who answers the door to an off-campus apartment in Fort Collins, Colo., 90 minutes north of Denver, is a strapping fellow of 6 feet, 3 inches who moves easily and speaks in complete sentences and paragraphs, and for a moment, I think I've come to the wrong address.

Ireland was paralyzed on his right side for months after the attack. He walked again in June 1999, though he'll always carry a bullet in his brain from Klebold's shotgun. "There were cognitive issues and speed-of-processing issues," Ireland says, "and some speech and visual problems." Months of rehab and tutoring followed. The speech problem cleared up, although short-term memory can still be a bit of a problem. "Sometimes I have to think things through a little bit more, take a little bit more time."

Ireland enrolled at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, a business finance major. He'll graduate this May, then take a job with an investment firm or maybe enroll in grad school, get an MBA. None of this, he hopes, will take him too far away from his girlfriend, a fellow student and an aspiring model whom he has been dating since freshman year.

I ask what sort of emotion Ireland feels now, five years later. Anger? Relief? Regret? "I'd say a lot of pride," Ireland says right away. "I'm proud of my high school and the fact that I spent four years there. Some people asked me if I would transfer, and there would have been no way. I love that place. And I'm proud of all I've accomplished since then. I was on track to be valedictorian and I finished that up." His GPA: 4.0.

"Some people go through things like this and their whole view on life changes drastically. I haven't changed a whole lot. I still have the same interests and the same groups of friends and the same family values."

Ireland told me he doesn't spend much time following the Columbine investigations. He didn't travel out to the fairgrounds press conference in February. "I try not to dwell on that," says Ireland. "What's done is done. It's better to look forward."

Another student who survived that day, Sam Granillo, is equally sanguine. With some friends, he hid in a room off the Columbine cafeteria as Harris and Klebold unloaded. Granillo still seemed terrified, a day later, when I interviewed him at his home in Littleton.

Granillo gives off a Zen-like calm, today, at the age of 22. He tried film school in Boulder, dropped out, and moved back in with his mother. At a comfortable cafe in Englewood, the sort where reading and conversation matter more than running up a big bill, Granillo can be found most afternoons, making coffee.

"Every time I went back to the school," says Granillo, "it just seemed like I was going back over a story I already knew. Everyone was pretty calm and cool by the following fall. The summer after the shootings gave kids time to sit and think. It didn't take much time for the school to go back to the way it was."

For some who experienced Columbine, like Brian Rohrbough and Randy and Judy Brown, the past five years have been a time of anger and reexamination. For others, for some of the victims, like Richie Castaldo and Sam Granillo and Pat Ireland, the years have been a time to develop an incredible resilience in the midst of all the heated debate.

Ireland's negligence lawsuit against the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, for allegedly failing to rescue him sooner, was settled last month for $117,500. A lawsuit filed by Dave Sanders' daughter, against Jefferson County officials, was recently settled for $1.5 million. Only one suit remains pending, filed by the family of Isaiah Shoels, an 18-year senior at the time of his death.

In their important book on antisocial behavior in children, "High Risk: Children Without a Conscience," Dr. Ken Magid and Carole McKelvey present a chart that lists 20 traits commonly found in a psychopathic child. Eric Harris seemed to have every one of them: from pathological lying and a grandiose sense of self-worth to juvenile delinquency, a knack for manipulation, and a tendency never to express remorse. Whether his parents know this, even in 2004, remains to be seen.

Early on, when he was still hospitalized, Pat Ireland and his mother found themselves discussing the shooting. His mom was furious at Eric and Dylan. Pat wasn't. "I told her, 'Please forgive them. They were confused. They didn't know what they were doing.' And at that point she knew that I would be OK and not have a bunch of hate inside me."

I asked, "Do you think there's been a coverup?"

"I don't know," Ireland replied. "I don't really care."


At the February fairgrounds press conference, while no public official would admit to a coverup, one speaker did concede that Jefferson County authorities might have done more to prevent the Columbine shootings. "There should have been a search warrant executed on that house," said Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar, referring to the Harris home, which had been turned into a bomb factory. Why wasn't a search warrant executed? An assistant district attorney, Salazar said, didn't think there was enough evidence for probable cause, despite Harris' hate-filled Web site. Who was that prosecutor? Salazar, now running for Congress, had not been able to find out. And so it goes with Columbine.

Salazar distributed a new report, another in an unending series of reports about the tragedy. Another minor bombshell: On page 32, a sheriff's deputy, John Hicks, explains how a senior officer told him to talk to the press, right after the shooting, about what the department knew, or in this case didn't know, about the two shooters beforehand. "Hicks knew he would not be able to tell the truth, so he refused," the report states. "Shortly after that, Hicks was denied permanent promotion to sergeant and told that he would never be promoted under the current administration."

Then Randy Brown, Brooks' father, took the podium, his hands shaking with anger. "The only way to honor these children is to get the truth out and not let this happen again," Brown shouts. "So if you're a policeman, do your job."

Eric Harris had written in his journal, found in his room after his death, "There is nothing that anyone could have done to prevent this. No one is to blame except me and VodKa." Brian Rohrbough thinks that's just another Columbine myth. Still, at the fairgrounds press conference, his body mike stuck to his skin as usual, he seemed happy to receive the limited validation that Salazar's report offered. Of course, it's too little too late. "It's a beginning," Rohrbough tells me. "And they think it's an ending."

By Peter Wilkinson

Peter Wilkinson is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and Men's Journal.

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