Jefferson County, CO, Sheriff Ted Mink agreed to release nearly 1,000 pages of documents from the Columbine files. The Denver Post says in an editorial that Mink should reconsider his decision to seal the “basement tapes” made by student killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and allow researchers some sort of access to study them. Mink called the tapes “very, very disturbing” and said they could provide impetus for copycat killings. The newspaper says the contents of the tapes, recorded in the days before the April 20, 1999, shootings, already have been chronicled for the public by reporters and family members of Columbine victims who have viewed them.
Making all the tapes accessible to experts “is in the public interest and critical to a better understanding of why the teen killers went on their rampage,” says the Post. “It’s plausible that psychiatrists and psychologists reviewing the tapes could glean some insight into aberrant behavior in teenagers, while parents of other teens or educators may see something they recognize in the killers’ behavior that could help avoid another Columbine. Sealing the tapes only hides a critical piece of the puzzle.” The 936 pages to be released include diaries written by the killers, their day-planners and school work, along with a journal written by Eric’s father.