Episodes of violence

April 23, 1999|By Tamara Ikenberg | Tamara Ikenberg,SUN STAFF

From "A Clockwork Orange" to gangsta rap, popular entertainment has long been cited as an influence on homicidal teen-age behavior.

Almost immediately following the Littleton, Colo., incident, the media began pinpointing which sounds and images may have fueled Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold's high school rampage. Among them:

Doom: Harris was reportedly a fan of Doom, a 3-D video game in which players slash and shoot their way through killing rooms with their choice of gruesome weaponry.

South Park: On Tuesday, a friend of the killers was wearing a black T-shirt depicting characters from the Comedy Central cartoon. It features four foul-mouthed third-graders living in a morally bankrupt hick Colorado town. Kenny, one of the kids, is brutally killed in each episode.

KMFDM: Harris' America Online user profile included lyrics from German industrial band KMFDM, which has since broken up and is actually known as an anti-racist group.

Here's a sampling of media influences linked with violent crimes of the recent past:

April 1999: Companies responsible for violent video games such as "Quake," Internet pornography and the 1995 movie "The Basketball Diaries" (in which Leonardo DiCaprio, in a long black leather jacket, dreams of blowing away a classroom of students), get a $130 million lawsuit slapped on them by the families of three students slain in the 1997 Paducah, Ky., high school shootings.

May 1998: A 12-year-old West Ocean City, Md., boy is found dead after suffocating himself with a plastic bag. He leaves a note instructing his parents to watch "South Park" to understand why he did it.

March 1998: The Jonesboro, Ark., school shootings are tied to "Basketball Diaries." "Crept and We Came," a Bone Thugs-N-Harmony song about a massacre, is reportedly one of 13-year-old killer Mitchell Johnson's favorite songs.

September 1996: Louisiana shooting victim Patsy Byers sues "Natural Born Killers" director Oliver Stone. She claims her assailants, Sarah Edmondson and Ben Darrus, took their cue from psychotic lovers who embarked on a wild shooting spree in Stone's 1994 movie satirizing the glorification of violence in the media.

December 1995: Two men set a Brooklyn subway token booth on fire. Their action was rumored to parrot a scene in 1995 film "Money Train."

October 1995: Sharon Edwards is stabbed by Benjamin Scott Garris in Baltimore. The crime is connected to "Natural Born Killers."

October 1993: Fingers point to pyromaniac, brain-dead MTV animated pals Beavis and Butt-head when a boy burns his Ohio trailer.

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