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|“||The human race sucks. Human nature is smothered out by society, jobs, and work and school.||„|
|~ Eric Harris|
Eric David Harris (April 9th, 1981 - April 20th, 1999) was an American high school senior who, along with his best friend Dylan Klebold, committed the Columbine High School massacre, arguably the most infamous school shooting ever perpetrated. The pair killed 13 people and injured 24 others. The two committed suicide in the library at 12:08 PM, where they had killed 10 of their victims. The massacre was the deadliest high school shooting in the United States until the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting occurred in Parkland, Florida on February 14th, 2018, committed by Nikolas Cruz.
In April 2009, Jeff Kass published a book, Columbine: A True Crime Story, a Victim, the Killers and the Nation's Search for Answers. Kass was one of the first reporters on the scene and has continued to cover the story as a staff writer for Denver's Rocky Mountain News.
He has broken national stories on the shootings such as leaked crime scene photos, and the sealed diversion files of the killers. He has also reported the story extensively for the Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Newsday, and U.S. News & World Report.
Although early media reports attributed the shootings to a desire for revenge on the part of Harris and Klebold for bullying that they received, subsequent psychological analysis indicated Harris and Klebold harbored serious psychological problems. According to Dave Cullen, Harris, who conceived the attacks, was a "cold-blooded, predatory psychopath" and an intelligent, charming liar with "a preposterously grand superiority complex, a revulsion for authority and an excruciating need for control". In Cullen's assessment, Harris lacked remorse or empathy for others, and sought to punish them for their perceived inferiority. According to Principal Frank DeAngelis, Harris was "the type of kid who, when he was in front of adults, he'd tell you what you wanted to hear."
According to Robert Hare, one of the psychologists consulted by the FBI concerning Harris and Klebold, the media focused on the hatred exhibited by Harris' journal and website, and interpreted this as an indication that the killings were motivated by revenge.
Hare says, "Unlike psychotic individuals, psychopaths are rational and aware of what they are doing and why. Their behavior is the result of choice, freely exercised." In analyzing the pages of enraged writings in Harris' journals, Hare concludes the writings are not an expression of anger stemming from being ostracized or bullied, but are indicative of a deep superiority complex that seeks to punish the entire human race for its inferiority. Says Hare, "It's more about demeaning other people." According to Supervisory Special Agent Dwayne Fuselier, the FBI's lead Columbine investigator and a clinical psychologist, Harris exhibited a pattern of grandiosity, contempt, and lack of empathy or remorse, distinctive traits of psychopaths that Harris concealed through deception. Fuselier adds that Harris engaged in mendacity not merely to protect himself, as Harris rationalized in his journal, but also for pleasure, as seen when Harris expressed his thoughts in his journal regarding how he and Klebold avoided prosecution for breaking into a van. Other leading psychiatrists concur that Harris was a psychopath suffering from co-morbid narcissistic personality disorder and borderline personality disorder with antisocial and paranoid features.
- He is portrayed by Ben Johnson on the Columbine episode of Zero Hour.
- He is also shown in the security camera footage as seen in Bowling for Columbine (2002).
- The indie PC game called Super Columbine Massacre RPG! is based loosely on the Columbine shootings, with Klebold as one of the playable characters. It is available here.
- He was portrayed by David Errigo Jr. in the 2016 film I'm Not Ashamed.