Capstone Project: Media 499

The Splintering Influence of Columbine:

An Application of Cultivation Theory, Cultural Scripts and Current Public Perception of Mass School Shootings

This research project was created to fulfill my finishing foundations course for the Media Arts Department at Boise State University. The course was instructed by Dr. HyunMee Kang in the Fall 2019 semester.


This paper is a comprehensive overview of the 1999 Columbine High School Massacre, long-held misconceptions held about the event through initial coverage of the mass school shooting, and how these misconceptions have helped to shape the cultural scripts held by today’s living generations about school violence, mental health, and how to identify the perpetrator to mass audiences. This paper also includes a historical analysis of mass school shootings within the last two centuries, as well as a contextualization on how the Columbine Massacre greatly altered cultural scripts for such events and its influence, of both its factual evidence and fabricated myths concerning the event, have bled into popular culture, music, fiction novels, and perhaps most hotly-debated, violent video gameplay.


Columbine, Mass Shootings, Mass School Shootings, Massacre, Violence, Video Games, Mental Health, Harris, Klebold, Dave Cullen, Cultural Scripts, Violent Media, YA Fiction, Cultivation Theory, Caitlin Doughty, High School.


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