After the massacre there was a flurry of debate about what had motivated the killers and whether anything could have prevented the crime.
The obvious problems lay with the fact that both boys had committed suicide and could not be questioned. No arrests could be made and there was no way for the victims to find any kind of justice through a trial.
Some high schools began special programmes to expose and put a stop to school bullying, which was suggested as a prime motivating factor for Harris and Klebold’s actions.
Both Harris and Klebold were fans of video games such as Doom and they supported ‘dark’ music groups such as Marilyn Manson and KMFDM. Documentary-maker Michael Moore made a film entitled 'Bowling for Columbine' (2003) after the massacre, which focused on America’s obsession with gun culture. The film won a Best Documentary Academy Award.
In a VH1 interview Marilyn Manson explained that he had cancelled three concerts in memory of the Columbine tragedy and when asked what he would have said to the killers, replied “I wouldn't say a thing. I would just listen to them... and that's what nobody did".
In July 1999, the FBI organised a major summit on school shooters in Virginia. It was attended by psychologists, psychiatrists and representatives from each of the recent school shootings, including a large Columbine contingent. The FBI subsequently published a major report, although it steered clear of suggesting motives in any individual case.
On the fifth anniversary of the massacre the FBI's lead Columbine investigator, along with several psychiatrists, went public in a news feature on their conclusions for the shootings. They stated that Harris was a clinical psychopath and Klebold was depressive. They believed the plan was masterminded by Harris, who they thought had a superiority complex and wanted to highlight his authority to the world.
In response to the devastation of the Columbine and other school massacres, many schools instituted new anti-bullying policies as well as ‘zero tolerance’ approaches to weapons and threatening behaviour.
In 2000 more gun control measures were called for and federal and state legislations were introduced that would require safety locks on firearms. A ban was placed on the importation of high-capacity ammunition magazines.
On 21st September 2007 a memorial was dedicated in Clement Park, where immediate memorials were held after the shooting.