When 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold slaughtered 12 of their fellow students and one teacher, along with permanently injuring dozens more at Columbine High School in unincorporated Jefferson County, Colorado (Denver), on April 20, 1999, nobody was more aghast than the parents of these two teenage killers.
How this all came to be is told in painful yet instructive detail by Dave Cullen in his 2010 book, Columbine. I realize this sounds like it would be a depressing read--there's no way to avoid the tragedy of it all--but the way Cullen tells the story, through interviews with those who were there, law enforcement records, a notebook left by Harris, and other primary research done over ten years, I found the book absolutely spellbinding. For anyone who has or is raising children, Columbine is helpful in possibly preventing this kind of deadly event from ever happening again.
Cullen explains psychopathy. This was the condition that Harris was apparently in and how his buddy and follower, Klebold, fell into the manifestation of this grave mental disorder. Both had their own problems and, together, they became the worst kind of killers. But through studying their problems and the tragedy that resulted from their twisted lives, we begin to understand what happened on that beautiful spring morning at Columbine High School.
This is a 450-page treatise that I couldn't put down. I read it on my Kindle, but it's also available at most bookstores, libraries and some used book outlets, in hard and soft cover. Anyone who is a teacher, school counselor or administrator, parent or law enforcement official--actually, all of us who live in this world--need to read this book.
One reviewer, Hugh C. Howey, pointed out on the Amazon website that "One of the fascinating threads in Columbine is the unreliability of eyewitness accounts and the way that early mistakes were not corrected with the passage of time, but rather hardened, becoming cemented in Combine lore." By following this thread, and correcting some of the investigative and eyewitness accounts that were proven to be in error, Cullen teaches us about not only how to react to such an event, but, hopefully to prevent another one from happening.
The book is available from Amazon in several formats through the link below (if you're reading this as an email alert about this post, the link to Amazon.com is available on Wordchipper.com):