Who originally thought about bombing and shooting up Columbine, Eric or Dylan?
We don’t really know. We don’t know how that conversation first began or who initiated the idea. However, we can guess.
In November 1997, Dylan writes “[redacted] will get me a gun, I’ll go on my killing spree against anyone I want”. It’s the first mention we have of murder (and, more importantly, of a killing spree) after he already mentioned suicide more than once in the previous entries. One of those suicide-entries also has him reflecting on [redacted] getting him a gun so Dylan can use that gun on himself. What’s interesting is that this gun provider was not Eric, as Eric’s name remains unredacted throughout the evidence.
Dylan’s first reference to NBK happens in February 1998, but the person he names as wanting to do that with is also redacted.
Eric didn’t start his journal until April 1998. In its third entry (still within that same month), he writes “
when I go NBK”. The choice of words here – when instead of if – shows that the idea had already taken shape prior to the entry and that Eric was already treating it as something definite. There is more murder-related stuff on his website, though no direct references to NBK the way he mentions it in his journal, but none of those entries were dated (though they’re likely to be from the 1997-1998 era).
Note that both of these entries are still individualistic: they talk about a killing spree/NBK as something they’re going to do alone. Dylan first writes of going NBK with Eric in January 1999. He didn’t sound too happy about it and many have speculated that this wasn’t his first choice. Eric, on his part, writes “when we go NBK” in October 1998 and mentions Dylan later on in that same entry in connection with these plans.
Logically speaking, we could say the following:
- The idea of a killing spree was born a little before Dylan’s earliest mention of it in November 1997. I’d tentatively put mid-1997 as the initial birth of the idea.
- By February 1998, Dylan mentions going NBK with someone else. He’s already moved forward into not wanting to do this alone.
- Eric first mentions going NBK as a solitary idea in April 1998 – something for him to do alone.
- What’s interesting here is that they both use the same terminology for the idea: both use the codename NBK for this. That would suggest that they spoke about the notion with each other, probably in conjunction with the movie they both liked, some time in early 1998.
- By October 1998, Eric is already convinced that he’s going to do this together with Dylan.
- November 1998 sees them acquiring the guns.
- By January 1999 Dylan acknowledges the plan and says “maybe going “NBK” (gawd) with Eric is the way to break free”. Dylan is still treating it as an option instead of as a definite at this point.
Who originally thought about it? The evidence suggests that it was Dylan who first came up with the idea of going on a killing spree, but we don’t have any dated writing by Eric from that time. That makes it hard to know what was going on in the latter’s head at the time Dylan first wrote about the killing spree. However, it’s very clear that the two really came together on the idea between April and October 1998, though Dylan already knew he wasn’t going to go through with it alone as early as February 1998. I have no doubt that mid-1998 saw the actual birth of NBK as we now know it: Dylan’s notion of a killing spree with guns combined with Eric’s love of explosives in those months and that’s when the idea of bombing the school and shooting the survivors/first responders came into being as a definite sort of plan. It’s likely that they spoke of the idea among themselves earlier on than that, too, but I personally think that it didn’t really come into definite being prior to those months because Eric still mentions lone-wolfing the whole thing as late as April 1998.