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evanlong
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Registered: 03-08


Did the Columbine Killers Program a CHS Level of Doom?


There's been discussion over whether or not accused Columbine attackers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold programmed a level of the video game, Doom, to resemble the high school they attended and that, on April 20, 1999, they were implicated in having shot to pieces.

According to an article by Barbara Mikkelson of Snopes, an "urban legend" web site, a claim had surfaced on the internet in 1999 that

"One of the boys who murdered his classmates at Columbine High School prepared by designing new computer game levels that resembled his school and peopling them with representations of his classmates."

The article in which she covers this is titled, "The Harris Levels", and in it, she labels the claim,

"False."

In case you're unfamiliar with my work, I recently completed a video called "The Columbine Cause" (http://www.xmail.net/evanlong/tcc/) in which I examine the 4/20 attack on Columbine High School with an emphasis on witness statements as presented in the more than 30,000 pages of government documents released to the public domain.

Most of the documents are now on the internet and hyperlinked from a page I created called "Columbine Attack Government Document Library" (http://www.xmail.net/evanlong/tcc/C...nt_Library.html).

In reference to Mikkelson's statement, on page 7,043 (JC-001-007043) of the release called 11,000 Pages of Investigative Files, then-CHS student David Proctor, who had played Doom with Harris and Klebold via modem, was reported to have told "investigators"

"that earlier this year [1999] Harris had told him he designed a level of Doom that was Columbine High School."

The Mikkelson article, last updated in 2005, would therefore be incorrect on a major point of fact.

What's really interesting about it, though, is that to make the kind of statement she made, Mikkelson undertook the logical impossibility of proving the negative in an incompletely known system.

In other words, even if we didn't have access to the record of Proctor's alleged statement, we could still say that Harris and Klebold might have programmed a level of Doom that resembled CHS and unless someone could present a record of every computer file ever produced, it's logically impossible to state with one hundred percent certainty that they didn't, except to say that there is no specific indication that they did.

This kind of flawed analysis is a weak limb for a high-profile debunking web site to have gone out on, so perhaps there was an ulterior motive for the production of the piece.

If there was, perhaps it's to be found in statements within it such as

"[T]here's not much to it, really",

"There's no need to look for any more horror"

and

"There is no fathoming the heart of the Devil".

If we were to follow the implications of these statements, we'd perhaps never read the government documents to find that eyewitnesses were alleged to have reported up to a dozen attackers in addition to Harris and Klebold including an adult in his 30's along with current and former CHS students, some of whom some of the witnesses were able to name by name.

We'd also perhaps never discover that the police and FBI "investigation" of the attack seems to have consisted mainly of subjecting these witnesses to repeated reinterviews during which they were actively pressured to change their testimony.

Let's reject inaccurate and potentially misleading articles like "The Harris Levels" and find out more about the real events of and surrounding the April 20, 1999 attack on Columbine High School.

Old Post 03-06-08 20:00 #
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Bucket
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Is this some kind of newspaper article? The "Harris Levels" are well-known and archived in the idgames database. Someone didn't do their homework.

Old Post 03-06-08 20:20 #
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Snarboo
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evanlong said:
We'd also perhaps never discover that the police and FBI "investigation" of the attack seems to have consisted mainly of subjecting these witnesses to repeated reinterviews during which they were actively pressured to change their testimony.
Pressuring witnesses for answers isn't an unusual tactic for any law enforcement agency. It's why child testimony in molestation cases is flawed, at best. You're dealing with a person who hasn't formed a full understanding of the world, and it can be easy to bait a child.

Coercing them to change their testimony is odd, though.

Despite the touchiness of the subject matter, I do find this interesting.

Old Post 03-06-08 20:22 #
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Danarchy
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I know there was a level that looked like a school.

Snopes has gotten a lot of stuff wrong in the past, so it wouldn't be a huge surprise. Same can be said about Mythbusters.

Old Post 03-06-08 20:44 #
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Jodwin
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Yes, I'm fairly certain that Harris created Doom maps in binary, with a hex editor or anything similar.

Old Post 03-06-08 20:59 #
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Kirby
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There's been plenty of talk about this on the forums, and yes, it does exist.

Old Post 03-06-08 21:02 #
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Grazza
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Levels by Eric Harris exist and can be found online (albeit not in the idgames archive). However, none of them resembles a school.

He referred to a wad in his textfiles called "realdoom", and there has been speculation that this is such a level, but in the absence of the actual file, one cannot say for sure either way.

Old Post 03-06-08 21:56 #
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Bucket
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It's also pretty common knowledge that the two of them used Quake deathmatch as "practice" for their shooting. If Harris made a Quake level based on his school for that purpose, it hasn't been found yet.

I'm still confused as to the point of this thread. Is OP doing a research paper or something? I thought everyone knew about the Harris levels.

Old Post 03-06-08 22:25 #
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Nightmare Doom
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http://doomwiki.org/wiki/Harris_levels
http://www.snopes.com/horrors/madmen/doom.asp
http://www.acolumbinesite.com/eric/doom.html
http://www.doomwadstation.com/rebdoom.html

So here you go...

Last edited by Nightmare Doom on 03-06-08 at 23:25

Old Post 03-06-08 22:48 #
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Kid Airbag
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This reminds me of when some kid was commissioned by my high school's pre-engineering department back in like 1998 to create a "3d walk-through" of the school to show off to prospective students and parents, etc. Of course, the most realistic way to pull this off back then was using the Build engine, so he started putting together a level for Duke Nukem 3d that looked exactly like the school, importing graphics and everything.

Then the administration changed and the new principal couldn't give two shits about the project, so he basically canned it on the spot. This kid now had the first floor of our high school done, down to the last minute detail. He still hadn't finished the patch to remove the weapons, so you could still walk around the lobby of my high school with a pistol in hand, but there were no additional weapons and there were no enemies whatsoever. He kept this shell of a level on his Geocities site, which he eventually stopped maintaining and it became defunct like all Geocities sites.

During the spring of my junior year, someone somehow stumbled upon this level, and reported it to authorities, got all the news outlets involved, etc. And of course, the overreaction was astounding. The school administration played it up like they had no idea this was around, which I later found to be a complete fabrication. No one had heard from this kid in a long while, he was living in China or something, and the local news stations just ate that up. But after some digging, I managed to come up with his AIM handle and e-mail address, and I got the whole back story, and I even interviewed a retired teacher who at the time was the engineering teacher who was working with him on the project, who perfectly corroborated the kid's explanation.

I wrote a whole story on this for the school newspaper, completely scooping all the newspapers and news stations, and basically called the one "investigative reporter" who was being more sensationalist than anyone a total hack. And in doing so, I was pretty much calling the administration liars for claiming ignorance of the thing. Which, of course, was completely harmless to begin with. The principal even came to my first period class the morning after that issue of the paper was put out and threatened to suspend me and kick me off the paper for printing libel or something equally as ridiculous, but there was really nothing he could do about it.

That was the crowning moment in my career as a journalist, which ended after my sophomore year of college when I became disillusioned with the profession after realizing I'd probably end up as a sensationalizing story-at-all-costs shitwad like the very guy I'd derided in this story.

Old Post 03-06-08 23:22 #
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Coopersville
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Kid Airbag said:
Story


I remember the first time you told this tale. It's super entertaining. Did you ask buddy in China why he didn't just make the map a weaponless start? It's easier to do than the recreation of any real world architecture.

Old Post 03-06-08 23:54 #
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Patrick
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i was a resident of Littleton, Colorado when the shootings took place. i was 9 years old when the school shootings happened happened. the only thing i remember is all the sirens.

my 2-cent take on this is that placing the blame on anyone but the killers is wrong. dont blame a video game, or music, or a movie for it. the killers took responsibility for their actions. end of story.

supermassive timeline, btw.

Old Post 03-07-08 01:42 #
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fraggle
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Snopes dismisses the story as an urban legend. Of the known Harris levels, none of them resemble a school. However, not all of the levels are accounted for; there are at least five that he made that do not appear to be publicly available. It's possible that one of these levels resembles a school, it would most likely be "realdoom.wad"; he consistently mentions it in the text files for his WADs and encourages the reader to email him for details about it. Without copies of the missing levels, though, this is all speculation.


Bucket said:
Is this some kind of newspaper article? The "Harris Levels" are well-known and archived in the idgames database. Someone didn't do their homework.


Actually, none of them are in the idgames archive.

There appear to be copies of all the known Harris levels here, though.

Last edited by fraggle on 03-07-08 at 02:58

Old Post 03-07-08 02:38 #
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Nightmare Doom
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Was Eric or Dylan a member here once in Doomworld? I'm just wondering.

Old Post 03-07-08 03:58 #
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Creaphis
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I would support Snopes' claim of "false", in this case. For any form of urban legend or other speculation, you should believe it to be false until strong evidence emerges to the contrary.

Also, Snopes has created a series of articles:
http://www.snopes.com/lost/lost.htm
to illustrate that no reputable source of information should be given absolute trust. I'm willing to forgive their occasional transgression.

Old Post 03-07-08 03:59 #
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Lizardcommando
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Nightmare Doom said:
Was Eric or Dylan a member here once in Doomworld? I'm just wondering.


I don't think they had any connection at all with the Doom Community. Although, I heard one of them visited that old site which was the precursor to Doomworld which I don't remember the name to. It was something Entropy...

You know, the levels themselves weren't too bad. UACLABS was pretty decent for its time IMO.

Old Post 03-07-08 04:14 #
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myk
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Nightmare Doom said:
Was Eric or Dylan a member here once in Doomworld? I'm just wondering.
I doubt it, but if so it would have to have been on the news comments system that was the only way people could become members and post here while the killers still lived.

Old Post 03-07-08 05:23 #
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Bloodshedder
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myk said:
I doubt it, but if so it would have to have been on the news comments system that was the only way people could become members and post here while the killers still lived.
Doomworld came into existence on March 13, 1998. Columbine was on April 20, 1999. Doomworld did not have a news comment system or a forum at that time.

Old Post 03-07-08 11:54 #
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deathbringer
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uhhhhhhhhh

While there are "Harris levels" online, i beleive they all date from well before the shooting. A big PDF of various extracts from his diaries, doodles and school work was released in 2006, it had a little further information on his "REALDOOM" project, which he was apparently selling (adding 'selling doom mods for commercial gain' to his list of crimes), apparently it had some dehacked work. He had also planned some extra enemies which where probably not possible (or at least difficult) with dehacked. The PDF also mentions another set of levels he had created called Tier. I beleive there was even part of a Tier text file, and his designs for the logo of it. It also contained numerous Doom-related doodles, doom logos, a map of MAP01 and Dylan's message to him in his yearbook just before the shooting used a crude pic of the SSG as a "turn the page here" sign

Old Post 03-07-08 16:35 #
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Csonicgo


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I knew this Harris "Rebdoomer" fucker when he was on AOL on the "Antagonist message boards". he would always troll people about their religion ( which didn't make a bit of sense, since it was a Video game portal) and got banned for it. He had a total of 3 names he used in all to evade the weak TOS ban (how primitive a system it was!), the last being rebel47 or some shit like that. He would use red, 12 point Arial bold-italics font. it might have contributed to my hate of the typeface. Of course innocents died, but this world is brighter now that the fuckwad's gone.

Old Post 03-07-08 16:52 #
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printz
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deathbringer said:
A big PDF of various extracts from his diaries, doodles and school work was released in 2006,
Is it online/free (the peedeeef)?

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Old Post 03-07-08 19:27 #
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fraggle
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printz said:
Is it online/free (the peedeeef)?
You can download it here.

I've been reading through this out of morbid curiosity. There's quite a lot of Doom-related stuff. Page 112 has designs for some Doom levels. Page 272 has "Doom is so burned into my head my thoughts usually have something to do with the game", while on page 321 he references the Doom novels. Page 712 has a letter to Id asking them to make a new Doom game and a Doom movie. There's some other stuff towards the end: a text file for a 7-level megawad called "tier" (doesn't appear to be referenced anywhere else), and the contents of some response files.

Interestingly, it seems he wrote an essay on school shootings and how they could be prevented.

Old Post 03-07-08 20:34 #
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printz
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fraggle said:
You can download it here
Wow thanks, and it's as big as a large novel.

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Old Post 03-08-08 09:04 #
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LordK
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Bloodshedder said:
Doomworld came into existence on March 13, 1998.
Doomworld will be 10 years old next Thursday! How time flies...

Old Post 03-09-08 01:52 #
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Captain Red
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heh. Me and Doomworld have the same Bday.

Old Post 03-09-08 03:43 #
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printz
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LordK said:
Doomworld will be 10 years old next Thursday! How time flies...
Have the admins thought of it?...

BTW, to stay on topic, Realdoom sounds insane, retroactively.

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Old Post 03-09-08 08:45 #
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