Kip Kinkel and the Thurston High School Shooting | Part One

I remember as a teenager sitting up late one night and watching a documentary about a school shooting that took place in America. The school shooting had taken place a year before the horrific events at Columbine High School and the documentary focused on the boy who had carried out the shootings.

If you hadn't guessed it from the picture above, I am talking about Kipland Kinkel and the terrible events that had happened both before and during the Thurston High School Shooting of which he was responsible. 

There's a lot of teenagers out there today who are going through hell at school and sometimes they become intrigued by events like Columbine and other high school shootings. I will be talking about Columbine in a future post to correct some of the myths surrounding what happened and what was reported in the press. 

Because of Columbine, the shooting at Thurston High School was put together on the list with the other high school shootings and wasn't really spoken about. There seemed to be a lot of focus on Columbine as it was the deadliest high school shooting at that time in America. I don't want to focus too much about Columbine in this post as I want to save that for the future post that I'll be sharing soon. 

This is going to be a long post and will be shared in three parts so grab a drink, a snack and get comfortable and we'll get right to it....

Kipland Philip Kinkel (nicknamed 'Kip' for short) was born on the 30th of August in 1982 to parents Bill and Faith, both parents were Spanish teachers and his father was quite a popular teacher at Thurston High School where Kip would later be a student. He also had an older sister who he was very close with. 

During Kip's early years he struggled quite a lot academically and it soon became apparent that he had Dyslexia. Despite this, Kip tried whatever he could to do better at school, often spending hours studying and trying to learn but sadly the results would always be the same. His older sister seemed to take after his parents as she was also academically gifted and excelled in gymnastics. Kip tried sports and struggled with that too.

Kip's parents didn't help matters as they were often quite critical of Kip and more warm towards his older sister. In family video's his father Bill can often be heard in the background filming Kip's sister doing her gymnastics routines and praising her, when Kip tried to copy his sister and would fall over, his father would make comments such as ''Kip needs more work''. Kip felt in the shadow of his older sister and felt the pressure not to disappoint his parents. 

For Kip, growing up  with a learning disability in an academically gifted family was a struggle (back then, people didn't discuss dyslexia out in the open like they do now and some teachers were not trained in how to recognise the signs). No matter what he tried to do, it never seemed to work. His sister said that his parents would often get on his back about the least little thing that he did wrong. With Kip's sister around, she would often be a source of comfort for him, she also acted as a mediator between Kip and their parents. She commented that whenever Bill and Faith would complain about something Kip had done, she would try to reason with them and calm the situation down. 

When Kip's sister went away to college, the relationship between Kip and his parents became more strained. 

In middle school Kip struggled with bullies, he would talk about being stood at the water fountain trying to get a drink and someone would often come up behind him and push his face into the water. He tried his best to avoid the bullies and begged his parents to enrol him in a karate class so that he could defend himself. His parents took a while to agree to this as they thought that Karate was too violent (they were against all kinds of violence and even didn't like watching violent movies in the house). 

Bill and Faith eventually gave in, thinking it would help build Kip's confidence and they knew how he had struggled with other things, they were hoping that he would find something that he was good at so that he would start to feel better about himself. They started to think that karate would be a good hobby for him. 

Bill and Faith thought that with the karate class, things would take a more positive turn but Kip started to hang around with the rebellious kids at school. There was a gang of boys who rode the school bus everyday and they were seen as the outcasts because they smoked, drank, dressed like skaters, some had often been suspended from school or been in juvenile hall. 

Things soon began to get out of hand when Kip and his new friends started hanging out at the local shopping mall causing mayhem and shoplifting. Kip was one of the boys who was eventually caught stealing and his parents were informed of what had been going on.

Kip's parents were at their wits end and were trying to come up with ways to keep Kip out of trouble and possibly keep him away from the bad boys and be more at home where they could keep a bit of an eye on him. They came up with the idea that he could spend his spare time on the computer upstairs. 

Kip was happy to do this and he was left for hours on end, alone in the room to search online anything that he wanted. His parents didn't check on him, in their view, he was in the house safe and sound and didn't feel the need to check on him. 

Whilst surfing the web, Kip would listen to music such as his favourite band 'Nine Inch Nails' and he started to become obsessed with the song 'The Reflecting God' by Marilyn Manson. Kip printed the lyrics of the song and hung them up in his room. 

[Later on, during the police search of Kip's computer, they found that he had been looking at porn sites, guides on how to make explosives and guns. He also used the computer to order books on explosives and had bomb making materials sent to his school in which he was later caught.]

When his parents were called to the school yet again, Kip made excuses that he was researching things like explosives and how to make bombs because he was looking into becoming a police officer in the future. His parents didn't really believe this story but they didn't know how to respond to it and didn't want to make matters worse.
[During the police search of the house after the crimes had been committed, police found a huge collection of hunting knives and guns which were bought for Kip by his parents. His father also gave him a gun on his 12th birthday which he had owned himself since childhood. These are strange details from a couple who were said to be so against violence of any kind.]

The troubles with Kip continued when Bill and Faith were informed that Kip and some friends were throwing rocks off a bridge towards some cars below whilst on a school trip. One of the cars was hit and Kip was caught yet again.

Bill and faith had no idea what to do with Kip, they tried all different options. Faith wanted to send Kip to a psychiatrist but Bill refused saying that it would be a waste of money and being the proud people that they were, they didn't want the embarrassment of anyone finding out that their son was in therapy. Eventually enough was enough and Kip had to go and see a psychiatrist.

Kip agreed to see the psychiatrist and got on very well with him. Faith gave the psychiatrist a list of things that were worrying her (she nor Bill would inform the psychiatrist that they had serious mental illnesses on both sides of the family) about Kip along with all the incidences that had taken place at school. 


The psychiatrist noted that Kip felt that his father always expected the worst from him and that his mother didn't know how to deal with him. 

The psychiatrist also noted that Kip would often release his anger by detonating homemade bombs at a nearby quarry (friends of Kip's would later say that he would come to school and brag about killing animals as well as detonating bombs).

Kip continued to attend school and things continued to spiral out of control with Kip getting into a fight on the school bus, kicking a boy in the face and demanding that the teachers tell him where the boy he was having the fight with lived. He was suspended over the incident.

Bill and Faith informed the psychiatrist and he diagnosed Kip with a 'Major Depressive Disorder', he was also prescribed Prozac

The psychiatrist also had a talk with Bill and told him to try and go a bit easier on Kip and Bill agreed that he would work on trying to build a more positive relationship with him. 

The Psychiatrist was also building a trusting relationship with Kip and they got on very well with Kip feeling that he could open up about the relationship with his parents. It was during a session that the Psychiatrist decided to tell him (for reasons unknown) that he was a gun enthusiast. He spoke to Kip about his Glock pistols. Kip was fascinated and became obsessed with getting one for himself.


Continued in part two.... 



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