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read each paragraph and give me your opinion if you agree or disagree with the paragraph


In an attempt to try and reduce the number of mass violent shootings that have occurred, it is important for investigators to first seek understanding as to why an individual or individuals would plan and carry out these such acts. To do this, relevant data can be collected from evidence of past cases. There have been attacks where the killer documented their plans in journals. Investigators can conduct interviews of individuals that may have been close to the perpetrator. Another source of evidence reviewers can use is information received from getting the public involved. With the Columbine case, video tapes of the attack were found in the basement (O’Toole & Tunkel, 2006). Even though the recordings were destroyed, enough details were gathered to outline the steps of the culprits.

The intrinsic value that a threat assessment professional has lost as a result of the destruction of the Columbine basement tapes is the ability to go back and view the tapes again for missed information. Sometimes it takes a fresh set of eyes to look at evidence and recognize material that may have been overlooked. If there is a change in job duties or if the previous investigator leaves their role, there is no way to trace the learnings back to the beginning.

According to an USA Today article, there have been 25 school shootings since Columbine (Diebel, 2018) which indicates there is documented evidence of a contagion of violence in our society.

Because the information on the tapes was very descriptive and could have swayed other individuals considering this same type of action to move forward, I feel the court’s ruling to seal the tapes was a good one.


Mary Ellen O’Toole and Ronald F. Tunkel both worked in as Supervisory Special Agents (SSA) within the FBI. The made an assessment of “The Tapes” about the Columbine shooting that occurred in April 20, 1999. Other members from the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) assisted with the assessment along with any experts in school violence and threat assessment (O’Toole & Tunkel, 2006). Sheriff Teed Mink and Jefferson County Sheriff Investigator Kate Battan also viewed the tapes and audio to help assess what kind of impact they would have on other students who are contemplating a similar act (O’Toole & Tunkel, 2006). In order to do a complete assessment on their act of crime investigators looked at videotapes the shooters left behind, a journal, drawings, and they visited Columbine to have a better understanding of the schools layout.

It was a smart decision to not release “The Tapes” to the public, however, destroying them may have raised an issue. Although many professional agents were involved with the case there is always a chance that something was missed. Let’s say for example, one of the Columbine students or any student of the same age/era becomes an FBI agent who works in BAU. Maybe they knew a shooter and if they had access to the tapes with their prior experience and now with their expertise in BAU, it is possible that they could see something in the video that was missed. Not to put down any agents hard work the reality is that they grew up in different times from my own and the younger generation.

Mary Ellen O’Toole and Tunkel (2006) recognized that school shooting that were publicized would create copycats. After conducting research on school shooting they realized that the Columbine school shooting had inspired copycats but with a raised bar. This is the reason why “The Tapes” were not released, fear that potential shooters will use such tapes as a blueprint (O’Toole & Tunkel, 2006).

I absolutely believe the courts made an accurate and ethical decision to not release the tapes. They are to protect this country and releasing them would have caused more deaths.

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