TO MURDER HIS PARENTS and two classmates in Springfield, Oregon, last May, Kip Kinkel chose a .22 Ruger pistol and a 9 mm Glock, as well as a Ruger semiautomatic rifle with a fifty-round clip. For the Columbine High School massacre on April 20th in Littleton, Colorado – in which fifteen people were killed and twenty-three wounded – Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold used a Tec-DC9 semiautomatic handgun, a 9 mm Hi-Point semiautomatic carbine rifle and two sawed-off shotguns (supplemented by more than fifty bombs). All of these guns were available legally, with no licensing of the user or registration of the gun required. Shielded by the determined efforts of the gun lobby, gun makers, dealers and owners operate in their own world, with virtually no government supervision.
In 1994, the federal government did ban many assault weapons. Gun-control advocates and firearms-industry leaders agreed that a detachable ammunition magazine, which allows for clips with hundreds of rounds, was central to the definition of an assault weapon. But to the advocates' dismay, the law as enacted specifies that a gun must have at least two additional characteristics, such as a flash suppressor or a folding stock, to be banned.
Under the law's elaborate requirements, the 9 mm Hi-Point carbine used by Harris and Klebold does not qualify as an assault weapon. The carbine rifle is shorter and lighter than a conventional rifle; it was invented during World War II for troops charging into battle. The 9 mm caliber is particularly attractive to the younger generation of gun buyers, as it was the first big jump in caliber beyond the traditional .22, .38 and .45. The boys' Hi-Point, which cost about $180, was designed by Tom Deeb to be an affordable weapon with a high degree of lethality. The gun has not only a detachable magazine – which Kristen Rand of the Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C., calls "the essence of an assault weapon" – but also a vented barrel, to prevent overheating, and a pistol grip, so that the trigger can be pulled quickly while the gun is pointed from the hip.
The law takes a more limited view than Rand. The stipulated minimum of three particular features has provided the industry with tremendous wiggle room: Companies have simply made small modifications to their existing guns without detracting from the guns' firepower or concealability. When Colt's AR-15, the civilian version of the Army's M-16 rifle, was made illegal to produce by the ban, Colt replaced it with the Colt Sporter, which is different from the AR-15 only in that it is missing a flash suppressor and a bayonet mount. The industry plays the same game with gun laws at the state level.
When the Tec-9 was cited by name in a 1991 manufacturer-liability law in the District of Columbia, its maker gave the gun a nylon shoulder sling and renamed it the Tec-DC9 (reportedly for District of Columbia). This gun, which was used in the Littleton massacre, was originally designed for South African and Rhodesian police, to brutally control riots. It fires faster than an average pistol and, like the Hi-Point, has a vented barrel so the shooter's hand doesn't burn while emptying the thirty-two-round magazine.
Street gangs immediately liked the gun, which retailed for around $200, but it really gained popularity in the mid-Eighties after Miami Vice began to regularly feature dapper drug lords carrying it. Police called it criminals' "weapon of choice." Then, in July 1993, a crazed California mortgage broker used two Tec-DC9s, one of them modified with a Hell-Fire switch (enabling it to shoot 300 rounds a minute), to kill eight people and wound six in a San Francisco law office. The victims' families sued the gun maker, Navegar, on two grounds: that the guns were marketed to criminals (with ads like "as tough as your toughest customers" and "excellent resistance to fingerprints" in Soldier of Fortune and Guns & Ammo) and that the guns were illegally "ultra-hazardous," like explosives, because their sole purpose is to kill a large number of people as quickly as possible. When the families lost the suit, Robert Ricker of the American Shooting Sports Council said, "This is a big, big win for the firearms industry." The judge in the case however, complained in his opinion that the California assault-weapons ban was "functionally flawed," because it outlawed the Tec-9 but not its copycat substitute, the Tec-DC9.
The Tec-DC9 was one of nineteen guns listed by name in the 1994 federal law, but pre-existing assault weapons and accessories are still legal to own, sell and buy. The result is that hundreds of thousands of guns, including the Tec-9 and Tec-DC9, and millions of high-capacity magazines produced before the ban remain in circulation. Carlos Garcia, Navegar's owner, estimated in the Wall Street Journal that more than 100,000 of his guns are disseminated throughout the country. That is probably a low-ball figure, since in anticipation of the ban, Navegar-like many other companies – spiked its production levels. Production of its 9 mm handguns increased from 35,260 in 1993 to 75,100 in 1994.
Indeed, to Garcia, the ban is apparently a joke. The new version of the Tec-DC9, released in 1994, was renamed the AB-10. Garcia openly admitted that AB stands for after ban. The only change made to the gun was the removal of both the threaded barrel (which can hold a silencer) and the option of a barrel shroud. In 1997, Navegar's three sister guns – the Tec-9, Tec-DC9 and AB-10 – were traced to more than 1,400 crime scenes.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which issues Federal Firearms Licenses, is forbidden from inspecting the 104,000 licensed gun dealers more than once a year. Notorious gun-law violators, known as dirty dealers, are well-protected by this rule. The ATF is also specifically prohibited from compiling a registry of gun owners or gun data. Congress, under pressure from the gun lobby, annually reminds the beleaguered agency in the appropriations bill that it cannot keep detailed records. Lack of manpower further hampers the bureau's investigations. "The ATF is smaller than a lot of municipal police departments – it desperately needs more personnel," says David Kennedy, a senior researcher at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Meanwhile, licensed dealers conduct only sixty percent of all gun transfers in their stores (gun sales total $2 billion to $3 billion a year). Most private transfers occur through inheritance or take place in the wild kingdom known as gun shows, where Branch Davidian leader David Koresh, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and serial killer Thomas Lee Dillon all felt at home, where swastika flags may not raise an eyebrow and where all of the guns used in the Littleton massacre were purchased. More than 100 gun shows now take place every weekend in armories and flea markets across the nation, attended by up to 5 million people a year. These are almost entirely unregulated marketplaces, where unlicensed dealers are not required to perform background checks. Sellers pull out guns from suitcases Flight Safety Services Corp., in Engle-wood, Colorado, a firm that holds various Defense Department contracts for flight-training equipment.
If Kelly Anderson thought the Harris household resembled Cleaver life, others knew better. Like the Brown family. In late 1997, Eric cracked the windshield of Brooks' father's Mercedes with a chunk of ice, and Brooks went to the police. "Dylan came up to me in the hall," Brooks says, "and said, 'Brooks, there's a Web site you need to check out. It's about you and it's about Eric. You just need to see it.' Dylan gave me the address."
On a website he created, Eric posted a list with the refrain YOU KNOW WHAT I HATE! He comes off sounding like a combination of Holden Caulfield and the Unabomber. Among the targets of his scorn: liars, country music, "people who think they are martial arts experts," people who don't believe in personal hygiene ("Fucking people with 2 inch fingernails and a whole fuckin pot full of dirt under them and raggy ass hair or shirts stained to hell") and people who say "eXspreso" instead of espresso.
There was more scary stuff. According to printouts of Web pages provided by the Brown family, Eric wrote, "I will rig up explosives all over town and detonate each of them at will after I mow down a whole fucking area full of you snotty-ass rich motherfucking high-strung, God-like attitude-having worthless pieces of shit whores. I don't care if I live or die in the shootout. All I want to do is kill and injure as many of you pricks as I can, especially a few people. Like Brooks Brown."
Eric continued, a mixture of raw anger and twisted patriotism: "America: Love it or leave it mother fuckers. All you racist (and if you think im a hypocrite, come here so I can kill you) mother fucking assholes in America who burn our flag and disgrace my land, GET OUT! And to you assholes in Iraq and Iran and all those other little piece of shit desert lands who hate us, shut up and die! We will kick your ass if you try and fuck with us, or at least I will! I may not like our government or the people running it, or things like that, but the physical land and the location I fucking love! So love it or leave it.
"Dead people can't do many things like argue, whine, bitch, complain, narc, rat-out, criticize or even fucking talk. So that's the only way to solve arguments with all you fuckheads out there, I just kill! God, I can't wait to kill all you people – Ich sage FICKT DU." That, roughly translated, means "fuck you."
On March 18th, 1998, Randy and Judy Brown called the Jefferson County sheriff's department. A deputy came to their home and read some of Eric's website rantings, but nothing much happened. The cops seemed unsure what to do about threats emanating from cyberspace; they didn't get a lot of that around Littleton. "I think they talked to Eric about it," Brooks says, "because the site was down that night. But it was back up the next morning." A few weeks later, the Browns paid a visit to the sheriff's office, printouts of Eric's Web-site pages in hand. A detective checked Eric for priors, and the arrest for breaking into the van came up. But according to a law-enforcement source, the sheriff's department couldn't gather enough evidence of a new crime to obtain a warrant to search Eric Harris' house.
Eric added more alarming postingsÈto his Web page. He was naming his bombs: "Mother fucker blew BIG," he wrote. "Pazzie was a complete success and it blew de fuck outa a little creek bed. Flipping thing was heart-pounding gut-wrenching brain-twitching ground-moving insanely cool! His brothers havent found a target yet though.
"Atlanta, Pholus, Peltro and Pazzie are complete. For those of you who dont know who they are, they are the first 4 true pipe bombs, created entirely from scratch by the rebels (REB and VoDkA). Atlanta and Pholus are each 11/4" by 6" pipes. Peltro is 1" by 6", and Pazzie is 3/4." by 5". Each is packed with powder that we got from fountains, mortar shells and crackering balls. Each also has a +14" mortar shell-type fuse. Now our only problem is to find the place that will be 'ground zero.'"
In April 1998, Eric, never one to miss an opportunity to memorialize his every thought, began a handwritten diary. In it he outlined his plan to destroy a specific target. Not a city. Columbine High School. Eric hoped for a body count of around 500. Then he'd hijack an airliner and crash it into New York.
By the time Eric and Dylan's senior year rolled around, the halls of Columbine High School had quieted. The new batch of football knuckleheads was smaller and less intimidating. "None of the jocks this year were assholes," says Jeni LaPlante, before reconsidering. "Well, some of them are, but they're only assholes to freshmen that are little jocks." That didn't mean that outcasts didn't get hassled or, more important, didn't stop feeling persecuted. Eric and Dylan nursed their grudges and hung around on the fringe of the Trench Coat Mafia.
The Mafiosi were hard to figure out. Were they really a group? Or did they exist as a group only in the minds of their tormentors, who needed to give them a label in order to understand them? Wearing black dusters, the TCM could be found sitting on the floor under the main stairwell, near the entrance to the auditorium, eating their lunches, glowering behind sunglasses and grumbling about any and all school policies. The group rarely numbered more than twenty. "It wasn't even like they called themselves the Trench Coat Mafia," says a friend of Eric's. "It was a nickname given to them, and they just picked it up and were stuck with it." That didn't stop other students from hissing, "Fuckin' weirdo!" "Satan!" and "Freak!" at them. Among the prominent TCM members were a lanky kid with a blond ponytail named Joe Stair and his buddy Chris Morris.
"It was just a bunch of people who have blue hair," says Ann Behounek, 17, a Columbine junior. "Like every school has groups – the goths, the punks, the jocks. They were just a group of friends. There was nothing different about them except for the way they dressed. Everybody says they were scared of them and they'd get out of their way. That's not true." By the time the 1998-99 school year started, Joe Stair and a bunch of other Mafiosi had graduated. The TCM was a shadow of its former self, to the extent that it had much of an identity in the first place.
Sam Granillo: "We sat down and were comfortable eating, and everybody just stood up like there was a fight outside. I didn't hear anything, but Mr. Sanders came running back and yelled, 'Everybody get the hell down right now!' We got under the table and saw him run outside, and then we heard a really loud boom. We stayed under the table and heard more shots. Mr. Sanders came in a second time. I think he was shot. It was hard to tell. Everyone was so freaked out, running all around, scurrying under tables, knocking them down.
"I thought it would be over soon and we'd be like, 'What the hell is that all about?' But it kept going. We ran back into the kitchen and into a storage room. There was a computer and phone in there, along with a lot of candy and soda."
From old Apple Iie's, Eric and Dylan had graduated to top-of-the-line PCs, which they built themselves. Dylan could figure out almost any program. The two pals listened to KMFDMÈ Rammstein and Nine Inch Nails, as well as Dr. Octagon and DJ Spooky. More than the words, according to friends, Dylan liked the beats. He considered being a drummer. They thought Marilyn Manson kind of sucked.
Reb and VoDkA hung out a lot with Zack Heckler, who also worked at Blackjack Pizza and who dated Devon Adams. During freshman and sophomore years, Dylan was over at the Hecklers' all the time, swimming in their pool, sleeping over. A source close to the family noticed Dylan's behavior start to change a few months before senior year. It was a gradual thing. Dylan became more withdrawn, less willing to be open with Zack. "He was a good kid, a quiet kid who would let somebody else take the lead," says the source. "At some point in junior year, he picked up one of those black duster coats. This year, we hardly saw Dylan at all." The only thing they maintained was their late-night phone call. It was a ritual. 10:30 at night. Hour, hour and a half. They just talked. Sometimes these conversations got emotional. "Dylan'd be on the phone with Zack or on the Internet," says Sarah Slater, "and Zack would tell me they were crying about stuff."
Even though his fashion sense and temperament had changed, Dylan remained polite. It was as if he was uncomfortable with his new image. When he showed up at the Hecklers in the trench coat, he'd always leave it in his car before coming in the house.
“Two years ago, Zack began to date a girl, and Eric felt that this was not a good thing, to hang out with this girl – it was going to break up the trio," the family source says. "So Eric decided he didn't like Zack. Then he decided he hated Zack."
Dylan grew his brown hair longer during senior year. When he broke his glasses, he didn't get new ones. He taped the busted ones together with white tape. "He liked that kind of quirkiness," a friend says. "Something that's not accepted. Trying to find a way to make a statement."
Eric still earned good grades; better than Dylan's. Eric hadn't totally retreated. In fact, Eric, like Columbine itself, seemed to be having a pretty good year. He did his homework. He enjoyed Western- and Chinese-philosophy class, and gave his English-composition teacher, Mr. Webb, a Christmas present. Eric told Mr. Webb that he was the best teacher he ever had. "I think he liked learning," says Jeni LaPlante. "I just don't think he liked the environment here."
This became more and more obvious. "Eric made people dislike him," says Devon Adams. "He made himself unlikable. He was mean, being violent. He would kick his car. People were scared of him. He would say mean things, cut people down. I think he had really low self-esteem."
It's been said that Eric and Dylan were fascists or Hitlerites. Eric spoke German, having studied the language since eighth grade. He spoke German at work and wore shirts with German sayings on them that, he'd say when asked, meant things like "go away." But so far, there is little direct evidence of supremacist thought on the part of Eric or Dylan, or a racial motive in the killings. "The only swastika I've seen at Columbine was the one that was etched in my desk," says one student. Kelly Anderson, Kevin Harris' ex-girlfriend, says, "I'm half-Spanish. Eric was never racist toward me."
"They did use slurs like 'nigger' and 'spic,'" says Devon Adams. "But they were fans of certain movies that used them, so they thought it was Ok. They were fans of Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, From Dusk Till Dawn and Natural Born Killers. A lot of kids like these movies. I never saw them do any Nazi-type stuff."
Dylan and Eric weren't exactly angry at minorities or Jews or the federal government, like run-of-the-mill haters. They were mad at Columbine.
On his webpage, Eric announced, "You know what I hate? RACISM?!! ... don't let me catch you making fun of someone just because they are a different color because i will come in and break your fucking legs with a plastic spoon."
Both at least were acting like they had a future. Dylan and his father visited the University of Arizona. Eric wanted to join the Marines, but he wasn't ruling out college. In Eric's senior composition class, he wrote a college-application essay. And whenever Mr. Webb needed an answer to a question such as, "Is this a prepositional phrase?" Eric would know the answer. If Mr. Webb needed a volunteer to read aloud from a book, Eric would volunteer.
Sam Granillo: "They tried to get in twice. I had to hold the bottom of the door with my feet. I was on my back. I put my toe at the base of the door, and no matter how hard you push, you can't get it open – it's, like, wedged. Sarah was pushing my shoulders to give me more force.
"They almost got it open, but not quite. They left, and we heard tons of gunshots and explosions. We smelled the smoke, and we heard water pipes break open, the sprinklers above. I heard them talking outside. I didn't hear what they were saying because of the air conditioning, but it sounded like they had "walkie-talkies.
"I kept a lot of people calm. I made people smile so they wouldn't freak out. There were two kids that totally went into shock; they were shaking and sweating really bad. The lunch ladies and I and Sarah kept them under control. I told them what they wanted to hear, to keep them calm."
Generally speaking, outcasts loathed Columbine. With equal venom, they detested popular kids and an administration that in their minds kowtowed to the popular kids. "Eric and Dylan had an attitude about the school," says Sarah Slater. "Of course, a lot of people have an attitude about the school. I hate the school. There's too many jocks and materialistic people that just judge and that's all they do, so we hated those kind of people who sit in judgment. That was pretty much the whole school." It's hard to imagine Slater, witty and pretty and personable, as an outcast. But in her mind she is, and in the Columbine world, that is all that matters.
"Dylan said, 'Fuck the school' a lot of times, and he said, 'The people in it should just die,'" says Sarah. "In what context? In a simple conversation. We all say stuff like that."
Sam Granillo: "Someone gave me a description while we were in the room, and I said, 'Oh, my God. I know who that is. 'They said that he had a trench coat on and long wavy hair that was blond, and I asked if he had a big nose. And they're like, 'Yeah. 'And I asked if he had a black backward hat, and they said, 'Yeah. 'I said, 'Oh, my God. Dylan.'"
Last winter, on the first day of third-hour philosophy class, Brooks Brown decided he wanted to be Eric's friend again. "Eric, I just want to bury the hatchet," Brooks remembers saying. "I don't want any past bullshit to get between us."
"Ok," Eric said. "That's cool."
For Dylan's sake, they patched things up. Before, "I'd say, 'Hey, Dylan, let's go have a cigarette,' and Eric would be standing there, but he wouldn't go with us because he didn't like me," Brooks says. "It was tearing Dylan apart. So, for him, we decided to drop it. Eric was thinking of Dylan, too."
Burying the hatchet didn't mean things returned to the way they had been before. Brooks says his relationship with Eric became "intellectual," that they hung out together mainly in school and "talked about philosophy." Eric was busy with other matters – planning, as he had indicated over and over again on his Web site, to shoot and bomb as many of his fellow students as possible.
The weekend of April 17th, preparation built to a frenzy. Matthew Good, a Columbine sophomore who lives two doors away, saw Eric and Dylan disappear into the Harris garage. Matthew heard loud noises coming from the garage that Saturday and Sunday. "Power saws were being run, glass was breaking," he says. "I thought maybe they were working on a school project."
Around Columbine, meanwhile, a late-term buzzÈwas in the air. Who was going out with whom? Who was going with whom to the prom? What were people going to wear? Who would be king? Queen? Who would get laid?
On April 15th, two days before the prom, a Marine Corps recruiter visited Eric at home. The visit did not go well. During the interview, the recruiter determined that Eric had tried to conceal the fact that he took the drug Luvox, a medication prescribed to treat depression. He was disqualified from the corps for lying.
At eight o'clock Saturday evening, the Columbine junior and senior prom kicked off at the Design Center, in downtown Denver. Dylan arrived in a black tuxedo with Robyn Anderson (who in November reportedly bought three of the four guns used in the killings) on his arm. He was in high spirits, laughing, having a good time. A DJ spun swing, rap, R&B and disco. Eric skipped the prom but showed up at a gambling-themed after-party in the Columbine gym. Dylan cleaned up at the blackjack table. Festivities concluded at 5:30 A.M., followed by breakfast, served by various nervous moms around town.
Sunday night, Zack Heckler and Dylan talked on the phone, around 10:30, like they always did. Dylan cut the call short. Zack thought something was up.
At around 11:15 Tuesday morning, Brooks Brown stepped outside the school door to smoke a cigarette. Eric had parked his car in the student lot and was unloading some duffel bags and gym bags. Brooks gave Eric shit for ditching third hour. Eric told him it didn't matter.
"Brooks, I like you," Eric said. "Get out of here. Go home – now."
Brooks was baffled. Initially he thought Eric wanted to pull a senior prank, like maybe put Mace in the school vent system. Then Brooks heard the first shots. He ran five blocks. He may have walked them. That memory is gone.
In the days after the shootings, Jefferson County Sheriff John Stone speculated that Brooks Brown wasn't telling all he knew about the plot. Randy Brown has rejected that claim as ludicrous and called Stone an idiot.
Sam Granillo: "I've known Dylan since I was ten. He was a good kid. People say we should have looked out for signs or whatever. It's going to be like 1 out of 100 that something will actually happen. And it's nothing that you can see coming.
"I had two pocket knives on me at the time. Nobody really had anything. We had Jugs of vinegar that we could have hawked at them. That's all we had."
"Oh, God! Oh, God! Kids, just stay down. Do we know where he's at?"
A terrified Patricia Nielson, a teacher in the Columbine library, was on the phone with a 911 operator as fire alarms honked in the background.
"I'm in the library. He's upstairs – he's right outside of here. He's outside this hall!" Twenty-five seconds passed. "Smoke is coming in from out there and I'm a little ... my God, it's –" Six gunshots went off. "My God, the gun is right outside my door!"
When the news broke, Sue Klebold called the Heckler house to see whether they knew where Dylan was. By the time the Hecklers returned the call, sheriff's deputies were already searching the Klebold place in Deer Creek Canyon. Zack Heckler, who was in the choir room when the carnage started, ran outside with a group of students and ended up in the Smokers' Pit. Zack helped other students climb over the fence, then clambered over himself. They all ran toward the Columbine Public Library, about 400 yards away. Along the way, one of Zack's friends suffered an asthma attack.
Sam Granillo, meanwhile, remained hidden in the storage room off the cafeteria with Sarah Slater, eleven other students and two cafeteria workers: "I had a feeling we were going to make it out of there," Slater recalls. "I promised Sam we were going to get out – promise by pinky. Two of them." They huddled behind a makeshift barrier of forty-pound bags of salt, CO2 tanks and plastic drums full of flour.
After firing hundreds of rounds of ammunition but failing to set off a twenty-pound propane bomb ten feet from the storage room where Sam and Sarah were hiding, Reb and VoDkA returned to the library, where ten Columbine students lay dead. And it was there that the two boys shot themselves or each other with a bullet each to the head.
The Columbine High fire alarms were still bleating. The sprinkler system had left floors under several inches of water. The walls of the library and cafeteria were splattered with blood. Dave Sanders, a business teacher and coach of the girls' Softball and basketball teams, died just after paramedics reached him. Outside on the sidewalk were the bodies of two more students. Bullets fired by Reb and VoDkA sent twenty-three other students to hospitals, some injured so severely that they will never walk or talk or think the same way again. Investigators had to cut open all the drums in the band room to look for bombs and pry apart all the tubas and the other big instruments.
"I THINK THEY WENT INTO THE building with certain targets in mind, but when it was happening, they couldn't control it," says Columbine student Tony Doty. "I can't even blame them. I don't feel any anger toward them. The only anger I have is that no one is going to ever know why they did this and what was going on in their minds."
Brooks Brown has been going to the Denver Health and Medical Center Hospital to visit his friend Lance Kirklin. Six days after the massacre, Lance is still in critical condition, recovering from gunshot wounds to his face, chest and legs, as well as from fifteen hours of surgery on Saturday alone. Brooks walks like a zombie. He needs a shave. His hands shake. He's low on Kleenex.
"The doctors say, after eight weeks they'll know if he's going to live," Brooks says wearily. "He's had fluid drained from his lungs, neck and face. He's got rods in both of his legs. He can't talk." Lance was cheered up a few days later by a thirty-minute visit from all the members of Aerosmith.
Brooks still can't believe Eric and Dylan did what they did. At night, he wakes up screaming. "Everyone says basically the same thing: They both were shooting wild," he says. "No one knows who killed more. I don't think we'll ever know. But I hope it wasn't Dylan.
"Every day being teased and picked on, pushed up against lockers – just the general feeling of fear in the school. And you either respond to a fear by having fear, or you take action and have hate. And defend yourself. And they chose a real disgusting way of doing that.
"Dylan knew Rachel Scott, and he would not have shot her. He knew Dan Rohrbough. He would not have shot him. They lost their minds."
On April 22nd, two days after the killings, Sam Granillo watched three movies at the Cooper 7 Theaters, next to the Blackjack Pizza, where Eric and Dylan used to work: Doug's 1st Movie, Lost and Found and Life. The theater's owner opened it up to give students a place to be together and maybe escape their memories for a few hours. At the end of the third movie, someone went out on the fire escape, and the fire alarm went off for thirty seconds. "Everybody just dropped everything and stood there," Sam says. "Some people couldn't take that noise and ran out. It was freaky. It was like it was happening all over again, because that was the noise that we heard the whole time."