What  about Columbine?

*picture credit: dailyrotten.com

So there it was, second half of April, 1999, and suddenly word is getting around that some "professional doomer" and his buddy had shot up a high school and killed a bunch of kids.

I'm thinking  to myself, holy hell, who did that? If anyone is in some way upstanding or 'professional' in the world of doom, I pretty much know who they are and probably have talked to them, either online or in person.  There are very few doomers who could legitimately call themselves "profesional", so, I'm running through a list of people in my mind, wondering who in the world  went and did something like that. We had all  heard the people's names by then, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, but I didn't recognize them at all.

We soon learned the guy's BBS doom nickname: rebdoomer. I had never heard that nickname in my life. I ran a computer search of my IRC logs going from 1999 back through 1996 and there were no matches on that nickname or, even, any part of  it.

Then, I saw a news story which finally revealed the source of the "professional" claim: it was the kid's own personal Doom website on AOL. He had self-described himself as a "professional" doom player or wad author of some sort and the news people had been reporting this purported "professional" nature as a fact.

People were coming to me on  IRC asking who the hell this guy was, because I have a reputation for knowing something about pretty much any doomer who was "anybody" from the pre-1999 time period. All I could tell them was, I've never heard of him before and can't find anything about him in my logs. If  he was a "somebody" in doom, anywhere, it must have been limited to locally only. I asked around too, and absolutely nobody knew this person.

We eventually did find out that he had made a handful of Doom levels that were intended primarily for the doomers on his local BBS. A couple single player and deathmatch levels. We were able to get our hands on the levels and look around in them, and found them to be nothing super special. Many doom players do exactly the same thing: experiment with making a couple of Doom levels, and there it is. Its just not a big deal. Furthermore, the wads we found did not strike anyone as being so great as to cause rebdoomer to legitimately call himself a "professional".

So, who was rebdoomer, and what was he relative to Doom?
  • Doom-wise, he was a Doom player on his local BBS who created a couple of wads. Just like literally thousands of other kids across the United States and Europe.
  • He also created a  personal website where he talked up his wads like they were something incredible. That, too, just like lots of other kids.
  • Overall, he was a small time guy who was 'known' by noone at all in the existing internet-based doom community.
  • The big difference with rebdoomer was, for reasons of his own, he decided to do something really fucked up with his buddy and kill a bunch of people, whereas the rest of the doomers (and other normal people) did not.
  • Existing doomers, just like everyone else, cannot figure out what the hell was wrong with him.
Perhaps dailyrotten.com sums it up best:

Apr 20 1999

After their homemade timebombs fail to detonate in the school cafeteria, the heavily-armed duo of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold decide to prowl through Columbine High School, indiscriminately gunning down classmates. A total of 15 are killed in their shooting spree. Contrary to news reports, their selection of victims is apparently random; they aren't hunting for jocks or blacks. Nor do they execute that Christian girl -- Valeen Schnurr in fact manages to crawl away and live to tell her story. They are not goths, they aren't gay, nor were they ever members of that dorky clique calling themselves the "Trenchcoat Mafia." They don't even listen to Marilyn Manson. Harris and Klebold are just a couple of extremely pissed-off kids with an arsenal.