The Evidence Locker
The amount of available evidence for the attack on Columbine High School is truly staggering. The number of witness statements alone number in the thousands of pages. With the sheer volume of material it comes as little surprise that many have an incomplete understanding of this American tragedy. Even for those who have researched extensively, wading through the Columbine Report and associated documents and being able to remember where a certain point or fact was found can seem near to impossible.
In an effort to make these papers more easily digestible and facilitate research into this case, I've undertaken a project to convert the Columbine Report and other associated reports into a keyword searchable series of downloadable documents. I expect this endeavor to take several months.
Things to know so you are not disappointed/ frustrated by the results of this project:
- I will alter some of the documents, so if you are a purist and need everything to be identical- this isn't for you. I don't believe anything I'll do will compromise the information contained within the documents, it simply facilitates the process for searching the 11k and speeds up the timetable for when this project can be completed. What might I alter you may ask?
- I will correct name misspellings whenever I catch them (which, granted, may not include all of
them). The witness statements are FULL of incorrect names and it does no good to search
for a particular individual if you are spelling their name correctly and it's wrong in the 11k. For
instance, there is a statement by Valeen Schnurr where her name is misspelled 36 times within the
- Handwritten material does not survive the digital conversion so I'll have to type the handwritten stuff. It
is far faster for me to use correct spelling and punctuation then to follow along and insert the mistakes
contained in the written stuff. So, if someone writes "there" when it should have been "their", I'm going
to change it. And if I can't read someone's handwriting, I'll either use my best guess based upon the
context or simply write "illegible".
- The headings for most of these documents don't survive the digital conversion either and it would be far too time consuming to edit every single page. So, if you are searching by report filed date, reference number or by inspector/ detective, you're not always going to find what you're looking for.
- The digital conversion results in a lot of formatting issues- different fonts, spacing, and text sizes. I'm trying to correct this where possible but some of the pages are just so far out of whack that it would slow my progress down to a snail's pace if I worked on fixing every little thing. Provided the pages are readable, they'll be posted, even if they're not particularly pretty to look at.
I'm sure I'll be adding more notes on problem areas as the project moves along, but I hope you guys are as excited as I am to soon finally have a tool like this for Columbine research!