Thursday, February 10, 2011

7: Columbine

Columbine, by Dave Cullen, is a nonfiction book about its title. It is not funny. It is not uplifting. It is not meant to make you feel better. It is meant to make you think. And I loved it. 

This book challenged every single stereotype that I thought about Columbine. That the boys were bullied, that they were in the Trench Coat Mafia, that they purposely shot jocks. None of that is true. What is true is that these two boys, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, had the makings of what was a true criminal dyad together. Both of their mental illnesses, combined with high school angst, equaled a terrible combination.

I didn’t realize how deadly Columbine COULD have been. Yes, it was terrible and awful, but if the bombs that were planted had exploded? It would have been a 9/11 level of terror. It would have taken out the entire school and most of the rescue workers. Thank GOD they did not explode. Thank God. THANK GOD.

Every time there is a school shooting, a mass tragedy, anything involving a child, I think about the parents. How devastated they must be, but how they cannot voice their sadness, because other people’s sadness trumps theirs, in some awful, “Who Has It Worse” game.

This book made my heart race remembering those awful moments, where we watched, as a world, people fighting for life, people already gone and kids traumatized forever. I think this should be required reading for anyone who works with kids. It’s enlightening in that sometimes? You just don’t know. Eric Harris was a mastermind of mind control and had convinced everyone he was sane. However, his journals, his tapes, his behaviors, all point to classic psychopath. And Cullen presents everything with a perfect voice. Nothing is left out (except for pictures, which I appreciated) and nothing is sensationalized. It’s the truth – all the ugly truth – laid out for everyone to read.

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