They were two young British teenagers who spend considerable time fantasizing about death and violence. They had anger toward many people in their lives ranging from teachers to fellow pupils to girls and to the unknown fears that inhabit the minds of adolescents. After a 45 minute trial in Manchester, Matthew Swift, 18, and Ross McKnight, 16, were cleared of charges they were preparing a Columbine style massacre in their high school. The evidence against the boys mainly centered on their online chats about violence or diary extracts in which they expressed hate toward those in school and a desire for vengeance.
No explosives were ever found in the homes of the boys although there was some evidence they had downloaded instructions on how to make explosives. Swift told the jury his notes were “naive and pathetic ways to channel my teenage angst. I was 16 with a vivid imagination.”
For some reason, thousands of such boys have placed the Columbine killers into a pantheon of heroes. One suspects the Columbine boys represent anger many teenagers feel toward school and teachers. Undoubtedly, there are several thousand such boys presently sitting at home chatting on the Internet about their fantasies of death and destruction.