Like I said recently, it’s been a busy school year, and not in a good way. I have a backlog of stories to work on just from this school year alone. I’m going to start with the most recent story.
This past Friday, police in Dunmore, Pennsylvania arrested four students of Dunmore High for allegedly plotting a school shooting against the school. Of course, the quartet were said to have planned the attack on the anniversary of the Columbine shooting. The 25th anniversary, which would be in April 2024. Three calendar years from the time of this writing.
Out of the four arrested, two have been charged as juveniles while 15-year-olds Alyssa Kucharski and Zavier Lewis have been charged as adults for their roles in the plot. Kucharski and Lewis were both denied bail. From what I’ve read, it seems that Kucharski was the alleged ring leader of the plot. While female school shooters are extremely rare, female plotters are not. They may not be as common as their male counterparts; however, they’re common enough that this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
The plot was said to already be a year in the making when it came to the attention of local police. Police were notified this past July when one of the suspect’s mothers discovered the quartet talking about the plot in a group text chat. In keeping with the Columbine theme, the group chat was named ‘Natural Born KIllers’ or NBK for short. The Columbine shooters were said to have been fans of the movie by the same name, and often referred to themselves as NBK.
In the group chat, the four discussed which targets they wanted to take out, including three school employees. Those being the principal of the school, the school resource officer and a teacher. You know, along with the countless students they supposedly intended to kill. The Principal said that Kucharski and Lewis were quiet children who weren’t known troublemakers.
As with most Columbine copycat plots, the plotters intended to kill more people than were killed at Columbine. Or beat the high score, as it were. Not to be morbid about it, but the deadliest school shooting in modern American history was Virginia Tech, where 32 victims were killed. Then again, even Virginia Tech was a Columbine copycat shooting, but I digress.
Kucharski herself was said to have been obsessed with Columbine since around the age of 11. When police searched Kucharski’s home, they found the prerequisite journal that not only detailed how the plot would be carried out, but also contained pages dedicated to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the Columbine cowards as I have dubbed them.
In one notebook filled with lists of types of guns and their prices, the complaint said, there was also a diary entry that appeared to reference Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the perpetrators of the Columbine massacre: “I think I’m gonna go with a Klebold setup. A tec-9 and a sawed-off shotgun. But instead of a double barrel, I want one like eric shot.”
What makes Kucharski’s Columbine obsession a little bit more disturbing than usual was that her mother told police that she was aware of her daughter’s obsession. I, personally, don’t know what Kucharski’s home life was like, but if your child has a known obsession with one of the country’s most infamous mass murders, maybe, as a parent, you should intervene. Just a thought.
But let’s not forget about one of the other participants in the plot, and that being Zavier Lewis. Kucharski and Lewis were said to have built explosive devices and even recorded themselves doing so.
According to the complaint, investigators examined a camera seized from Kucharski’s bedroom and found images of Kucharski and Lewis preparing to make explosives by pouring gunpowder out of fireworks.
“Say hello to the camera,” Lewis said to Kucharski in a video, according to police.
Swearing, she responded, “this is going to boom up in your face.”
Kucharski was also said to have a fondness for making Molotov cocktails and had a number of them stored away for ‘safe-keeping’.
The only thing missing from this plot were actual firearms, as Kucharski didn’t seem to have any real idea on how to get their hands on some.
As far as motive goes, this plot seems nothing more than a Columbine copycat and nothing else. Kucharski told investigators that it was just something she wanted to do, while Lewis simply said that he hated the school and everyone in it. Even further mimicking Columbine, the pair were said to even have had a suicide pact.
Kucharski and Lewis have both been charged with possession of weapons of mass destruction, criminal conspiracy and aggravated assault. Preliminary hearings are scheduled October 4th.
In my opinion, if the plot was not discovered, it had a 50/50 chance of taking place. Since the main plotters were going to wait for three years, they may have grown out of columbiner leanings. However, if they were able to get their hands on some firearms, which let’s face it, is not hard to do in this country, the plot could have gone off early. However, we might not be dealing with the sharpest tools in the shed as their planned D-Day, so to speak, falls on a Saturday.
Again, I say that if you’re someone who thinks they’re going to get some kind of infamy from committing a school shooting, you’re not. Thanks partially to the loose gun laws in this country and the lack of available mental health care, we’ve had more than our share of school shootings since Columbine and the majority of shooters since Columbine have long since been forgotten. You’ll just be another name in a long list of losers who were too weak to deal with their own inadequacies.
Instead, try to do something original and positive so you’ll be more fondly remembered. Put that frustration and angst to better use. Instead of picking up a gun, pick up a guitar and take out your frustrations through music, or any other activity that puts forth something creative in life instead of just paying tribute to a couple of cowards who had no real problems to speak of.
Thanks to Lady Gray for the tip.
- Teens accused of plotting Pennsylvania high school attack on Columbine anniversary
- Teens charged with planning an attack at their high school on the 25th anniversary of Columbine
- Pennsylvania students were planning attack at Dunmore High School on anniversary of Columbine, Lackawanna County DA says
- Terror plot foiled, Dunmore community left shaken
- PA School Shooting On 25th Anniversary Of Columbine Thwarted: PD
- Two northeastern Pennsylvania teens charged with planning Columbine-style attack
UPDATE 8/14/2022: Both teens have had their cases moved to the juvenile court.