The Littleton Massacre: Digital Dungeons

Gory fantasy beckons to kids from websites and video games. It can be playful. But often it's hateful

It's late 1998--long before the phrase Columbine school shooting enters your lexicon--and you're a researcher at a hate-group-monitoring center. Your job is to trawl the Web, surf literally thousands of "anarchy" links and make a note of the really nasty ones. One day you stumble across a high school student's website that contains a lot of hateful teen posturing and some plug-ins for a best-selling violent computer game. Do you bookmark it?

The answer is no--at least, not for researchers at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, who came across Eric Harris' home page on America Online some six months...

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