Eight months after Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold opened fire at their high school in a Denver suburb, killing 12 students and a teacher before fatally shooting themselves and launching endless speculation about their motives, TIME broke the story that the two teens had recorded videos of themselves venting their anger about being societal outcasts. On five different occasions, Klebold and Harris turned the camera on themselves, laying out their sinister plan for the massacre at Columbine High School. The surveillance tape image which featured on the issue’s cover was a chilling reminder of their brutality, showing Klebold brandishing a TEC-9 semiautomatic handgun as he calmly walks through the school’s cafeteria. TIME’s cover story probed Klebold and Harris’ carefully premeditated plans and camera confessionals:
The tapes were meant to be their final word, to all those who had picked on them over the years, and to everyone who would come up with a theory about their inner demons. It is clear listening to them that Harris and Klebold were not just having trouble with what their counselors called “anger management.” They fed the anger, fueled it, so the fury could take hold, because they knew they would need it to do what they had set out to do. “More rage. More rage,” Harris says. “Keep building it on,” he says, motioning with his hands for emphasis.