Rachel Scott spent spring break in Albuquerque with her friend Alisha Basore, shopping for things for the apartment they planned to rent together in August. "She saved me in so many ways," Alisha said. "She taught me the value of life. She taught me to love every second you have."
WHAT PUSHED OUTCASTS OVER THE EDGE?
Douglas Montero | New York Post | Posted: 12:00 AM, April 26, 1999 | LITTLETON, Colo.
Alisha Basore has every reason in the world to hate Dylan Klebold.
Her best friend, Rachel Scott, 17, was a casualty of the bloody massacre at Columbine HS.
Instead of moving into an apartment with Scott after graduation as they had long planned, she gave a tearful eulogy at her wake.
But rather than feeling anger at Klebold for what he took from her, Basore wonders what drove him and his friend Eric Harris into the heart of darkness.
"He was a real nice guy," the 17-year-old said yesterday.
"The fact that he did this is so strange. It wasn’t like him."
Basore - who was in the school when the rampage began - thinks Dylan would have never shot her like he did her friend Rachel.
"I was never mean to him and I would talk to him," said Basore, who sat next to Klebold in economics class.
But she said other kids at the school were mean to Klebold.
They didn’t talk to Klebold and Harris - who were inseparable fringe members of an outcast group called the Trench Coat Mafia.
And part of the reason why the school jocks and their followers castigated Klebold and Harris, she said, was because there were rumors about their relationship.
"He was not gay," Basore said adamantly about Klebold, who attended the senior prom with a young woman last week.
Other students confirmed rampant speculation about the two teens’ sexuality - without anything in the way of evidence to back it up.
"People were saying that they were actually gay," said fellow student Josh Nielsen, who admitted making jokes about the teens behind their backs.
Another student, Sean Kelly, 16, added:
"There were rumors of their being homosexuals and they were always being taunted and chastised about it."
Klebold and Harris’ death spree followed months in which they were mercilessly picked on and treated like lepers.
Investigators are trying to determine if the gay taunts helped light the fuse that ignited the bomb that left 13 dead and many more injured.
"Part of the investigation is to find out what drove them to this point," Jefferson County District Attorney David Thomas told me.
"We need to know what created so much anger in these boys," Thomas said.
Investigators are carefully reading the detailed diary of one of the killers for clues to what motivated the rampage.
They’re looking for key events and patterns - and for details about Harris’s and Klebold’s relationship.
Thomas emphasized there is no proof the teens had intimate relations, but pointed to evidence that Harris and Klebold were “real tight,” as he put it:
After killing 12 students in the library, the two retreated to a corner, away from the bloodbath, before committing suicide.
"They wanted solitude, in a way" said Thomas.
Investigators found their bodies “almost touching” with one of the teens’ heads at the feet of the other.
"The teens shared the same pair of fingerless gloves - each wearing one glove. "That to me symbolizes that they were really committed to each other," Thomas said.
In all pictures showing Klebold and Thomas with other members of the Trench Coat Mafia, they are always side-by-side goofing around in an affectionate way, Thomas said.
Being gay - or simply being suspected of it - is no easy proposition in Colorado.
State voters passed an anti-gay-rights law in 1992 that was so discriminatory it was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
"It is certainly not acceptable here like it is in New York and San Francisco" said Tom Bohnsack, 51, who works in a gay bookstore in Denver.
Several Columbine students said they didn’t know of any gay classmates, an indication that the rumors about Klebold and Harris - true or not - must have added to their outcast status.
Fact or fiction, something fueled the hostilities of their fellow students that may have sparked the youths’ passion to kill.
It lives on even after their suicides; signs at yesterday’s memorial service in Littleton contained an anti-gay epithet.