A clique of students at Columbine who dressed in trench coats and considered themselves outcasts. As the Columbine massacre was still unfolding, student witnesses erroneously identified the shooters as members of the Trench Coat Mafia (TCM, for short) and described them as “Goth” and “obsessed with death.” Though the Trench Coat Mafia did exist at Columbine, neither Eric Harris nor Dylan Klebold was involved with the clique. The “trench coats” that they wore during the murders were not even technically trench coats—they were long black dusters. The mystique and darkness of the phrase “Trench Coat Mafia” caught on in the media and the public, and became one of the “myths” of Columbine often associated with the attack, despite its proven falsehood, to this day.
Trench Coat Mafia Term Timeline in Columbine
The timeline below shows where the term Trench Coat Mafia appears in Columbine. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 15: First Assumption
...outcasts continue to emerge, witnesses from the school describe the shooters as members of the Trench Coat Mafia —a group of “Goth” students at Columbine “associated with death and violence.” This claim is... (full context)
Chapter 20: Vacant
...contributors to the tragedy, though violent movies and video games, Goth culture, bullies, Satan, the Trench Coat Mafia , and both boys’ parents are. Both sets of parents release statements to the press... (full context)
Chapter 27: Black
Chapter 28: Media Crime
...thinks of Columbine. Though “we remember Columbine as a pair of outcast Goths from the TCM snapping and tearing through their school hunting down jocks,” Cullen insists that “none” of that... (full context)
...focusing on “bullying and alienation,” again falsely reporting that there were “long-simmering rivalr[ies] between the TCM and [Columbine] athletes.” Though the details are accurate—there were indeed tensions between these two groups—Eric... (full context)