1999 – The Columbine Massacre

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, with murder on their minds. At 11:19 AM, the pair opened fire. By the time the stopped shooting, a little under a half hour later, they had killed 13 people and injured 21 others (3 more people sustained injuries fleeing the pair). At approximately 12:08 PM, the pair finished their rampage by committing suicide.

In the aftermath, the entire American nation descended into a storm of grief and anger. Rumours and blame-throwing flew thick and fast, as a desperate search for an explanation (or, if you’re more cynical, a scapegoat), chased its own tail around and around and around, while the victims of the slayings became martyrs and the killers the greatest villains since Hitler.

More than a decade later, we know little more than we did then. Although several rumours regarding the killings have been thoroughly debunked, many of these remain widely believed. Short of a combination of telepathy and time travel, we will never know.

Referenced in:

Cassie — Flyleaf
Columind — Filter
One by One — The Calling
The Kinslayer — Nightwish
A New Hope — Five Iron Frenzy
The Nobodies — Marilyn Manson
The Fight Song — Marilyn Manson
Disposable Teens — Marilyn Manson
This is Your Time — Michael W. Smith
Friend Of Mine — Jonathan and Stephen Cohen
We Don’t Want To Sing Along — Chumbawumba

1864 – The Sand Creek Massacre takes place

The Sand Creek Massacre (which is also known variously as the Chivington Massacre, the Battle of Sand Creek and the Massacre of Cheyenne Indians) took place when 700 men of the Colorado Territory militia attacked and destroyed a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho encamped in southeastern Colorado Territory near Sand Creek.

133 Cheyenne and Arapaho men, women, and children at Sand Creek were killed, while 24 of the attackers were killed (and 52 more wounded). The event intensified the bloodshed of the Indian Wars, as the Arapho, and particularly the Cheyenne, sought vengeance over the next few years.

Referenced in:

Banner Year — Five Iron Frenzy

1868 – Custer’s Cavalry routs the Cheyenne at Washita River

George Armstrong Custer was never a lucky man. Even before his death at Little Big Horn, controversy dogged his career.

The Battle of Washita River – also known as the Massacre of Washita River, which is fairly indicative right there – is a case in point. On the 27th of November, 1868, Custer’s 7th Cavalry attacked the Cheyenne under Black Kettle, who were encamped on the banks of the Washita (near present day Cheyenne, Oklahoma).

Accounts vary as to what followed, but some facts are generally agreed upon. Custer reported to his commanding officer the following day that some 103 Cheyenne warriors, plus ‘some’ woman and children, had been killed. Cheyenne estimates place the number of warriors at around 50, and display rather more precision in the measuring of women and children’s deaths.

Black Kettle and his wife were both among the dead. Custer would follow them into the grave some eight years later, at the hands of the Cheyenne and their Lakota allies.

Referenced in:

Banner Year – Five Iron Frenzy