Colorado High School Shooter Karl Pierson Wanted Revenge, According to His Chilling Diary
Last year, on the eve of the anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shootings, a student strode into Arapahoe High School in Colorado, armed with a machete, three Molotov cocktails, and a shotgun. Ammunition had been strapped to his body. No one knew why Karl Pierson — goofy, intelligent, excellent debater — was set on killing his classmates, but his intention was clear. Within minutes, he'd fatally shot a classmate, and turned the gun on himself. Now, Pierson's diary reveals he wanted revenge for being teased in elementary school — and that he wanted to start a conversation about bullying.
On Friday, months after the fatal shooting at the Colorado High school, Arapahoe County Sheriff David Walcher presented the findings of a 40-page police report into the incident. According to Walcher, two things became clear during the investigation: the first was that Pierson was mad, really mad, at his debating coach, and he wanted him to pay. The second was that that didn't even begin to cover the full story.
Investigators apparently found a journal of sorts on the teen's thumb-drive, this had been titled: "A diary of a madman." Within this, Pierson wrote that "words hurt, can mold a sociopath, and will lead someone a decade later to kill." Which, according to him, they did. According to excerpts publicized by the Denver Post, on Sept. 17, 2013, Pierson wrote:
Enter project saguntum, a 10-year subconscious project for me to exact revenge, not on the individuals who perpetrated wrong, but instead by those I believe have done me wrong. I will shoot up my school, Arapahoe high school, before the year is over. ... I am a psychopath with a superiority complex.
On Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, he wrote, in an entry eerily reminiscent of UC Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodger's manifesto :
It's weird going through life knowing that in 19 days, I'm going to be dead. That makes school more boring, work torture and everything I love to do, a little less fun. The hardest part is not being able to tell anyone.
In case you were wondering, the rage hadn't been exactly hidden. According to the report, Pierson had had quite a few violent outbursts, and had even threatened his debate teacher. So he'd been sent to mental health professionals for evaluation more than once — but their conclusions had been that he wasn't a threat to anyone, even himself. Whether he was an especially proficient actor, or they'd simply failed to notice his rage, we'll never know.
Either way, the Pierson family have taken the opportunity to ask that schools become more aware of the mental health needs of their teen students. Said his parents in a statement:
As we all consider this report in greater detail, our family wishes to ask school officials and other stakeholders — particularly our State legislators — to thoughtfully and expeditiously explore how to create positive and safe school climates that are better prepared to prevent and change inappropriate behaviors, as well as better address the emotional and psychological needs of adolescents in our schools. The people of Colorado deserve more than to have to sit idly waiting for the next student in imminent crisis to harm or kill another person or themselves.
No doubt, something needs to be done. As it stands, since the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, there have been over 74 shootings in schools across the U.S. — more than one a week. It doesn't get more tragic than that.
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