~Read Ebook ♠ Columbine ♝ The Tragedies Keep Coming As We Reel From The Latest Horror So Begins A New Epilogue, Illustrating How Columbine Became The Template For Nearly Two Decades Of Spectacle Murders It Is A False Script, Seized Upon By A Generation Of New Killers In The Wake Of Newtown, Aurora, And Virginia Tech, The Imperative To Understand The Crime That Sparked This Plague Grows Urgent Every YearWhat Really Happened April , The Horror Left An Indelible Stamp On The American Psyche, But Most Of What We Know Is Wrong It Wasn T About Jocks, Goths, Or The Trench Coat Mafia Dave Cullen Was One Of The First Reporters On Scene, And Spent Ten Years On This Book Widely Recognized As The Definitive Account With A Keen Investigative Eye And Psychological Acumen, He Draws On Mountains Of Evidence, Insight From The World S Leading Forensic Psychologists, And The Killers Own Words And Drawings Several Reproduced In A New Appendix Cullen Paints Raw Portraits Of Two Polar Opposite Killers They Contrast Starkly With The Flashes Of Resilience And Redemption Among The Survivors
The definitive book on the most memorable US school shooting at least before Newtown and Stoneman Douglas by a reporter who followed the story for at least last ten years Dave Cullen demonstrates conclusively that almost everything we thought we knew about Columbine was wrong 1 the shooters weren t particular objects of bullying, obvious misfits, members of the trench coat mafia or Marilyn Manson fans, 2 the shooters didn t target jocks or minorities they hated a lot of things, including Country Music, Puff Daddy and the WB network, and originally intended on blowing up the entire school, and would have, expect for the fact that the bombs fizzled , 3 the shooters weren t a couple of psychopaths, but one psychopath and one depressive, and 4 Fundamentalist Christian martyr Cassie Bernall never said yes to Jesus it was another girl under another library table, and she was arbitrarily spared Cullen has had years to study the video and audio tapes and journals the killers left behind they are fascinating, but ultimately frustrating The mystery of evil as always remains unrevealed. What does it matter that two crazy teenagers shot 12 other teenagers and one teacher to death at a school somewhere in the American Midwest over ten years ago It was just another school shooting and since then we have had Virginia Tech which accounted for nearly three times as many victims, didn t it, not to mention any amount of death and catastrophe in places other than schools Why should anyone want to write a book about this particular school shooting a decade down the line Why should we waste one thought on this loathsome pair Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold It s a reasonable question and this book has a 400 page answer Eric was the driving force and Dylan named after Thomas not Bob was the depressive suicidal kid who was sucked into Eric s mania They planned the whole thing for a year They called it NBK after the movie Natural Born Killers Eric chose the date.David Koresh s Waco siege ended 19 April 1993 Timothy McVeigh s Oklahoma City bombing which was his revenge for Waco 19 April 1995 Columbine 20 April 1999 Ah yes, it was going to be on the 19th, but Eric screwed up getting the right quantities of ammo, so it had to be put back by a day.In the 12 months before Judgement Day they wrote reams of journals, Eric had a website, they bragged about their plans to various pals who of course didn t take it seriously, and starting on March 15th 1999 they made many videos of themselves acting out mass murder or explaining why they were going to do it, or apologising in advance to their parents Eric described his parents as the best and saidIt fucking sucks to do this to them They re going to be put through hell and he quoted Shakespeare on that point Good wombs have borne bad sons He also saidI ve narrowed it down It s humans that I hate and regarding the 1993 Brady Bill which had restricted the law on the sale of semiautomaticsFuck you Brady It s not like I m some psycho who would go on a shooting spree andIt s kinda hard on me, these last few days This is my last week on earth and they don t know But the overriding impression from these Basement Tapes as they have been amusingly named is one of glee Eric and Dylan are so excited, they re gagging for this huge one performance only production They relish the greatness and horror they are about to unleash and express mild regret they won t be around to enjoy everyone s reactions or see the movie which will be made about it that would be Gus Van Sant s Elephant sorry, Eric, not Spielberg after all What did they actually want to do Dave Cullen sorts through all the mountains of evidence and discovers that Columbine wasn t actually a school shooting, it was a bombing which went wrong Eric and Dylan had been making bombs using internet information The two big ones were made out of propane gas canisters, and others were in Eric s car to divert the police On 20th April they sauntered into the school cafeteria and dumped down the big backpacks containing the bombs with timers ticking Then sauntered out No one batted an eye The bombs were supposed to blow up the whole school, then ED would be outside picking off any fleeing students Death toll over 500 When Eric s timing and detonation devices all failed big disappointment of course they stalked into the school and started shooting But within 15 minutes they were bored with that After the bloodbath in the library, they could have gone round and shot dozens kids but they didn t They sauntered past rooms packed with terrified kids and didn t glance inside After half an hour of aimlessness, some potshots at the police outside, perhaps the real point of the whole thing was reached, and both of them blew their brains out.And in their minds, that was Cool.When the shooting began the police made a number of assumptions and a lot of mistakes, some of which they can t be blamed for the mayhem and the students accounts as they fled made it seem like there was a whole team of gunmen inside the school This crippled the police response When the press got hold of the story a whole new series of assumptions erupted for instance, that Eric and Dylan were loners That they were unpopular That they were waging a private war against a target maybe jocks, maybe Christians, maybe the whole school That they had horrendous family backgrounds That they were Goths, or on drugs, or that there was some significant incident which had triggered the rampage All wrong Then there was an assumption that there was a conspiracy the Trench Coat Mafia It surely couldn t have just been two kids did all this, there were involved The police spent months trying to solve this notional conspiracy There wasn t one The media was flailing 20 20 on ABC reported an unnamed police source saying the boys may have been part of a dark, underground national phenomenon known as the Gothic movement and that some of these Goths may have killed before A few days later USA Today began their piece Whatever these two young men in Colorado imagined themselves to be, they weren t Goths No one knew anything.Cullen s simple solution to the why of it all is bathetic He says Eric Harris was a psychopath, pure and simple, and this, dear friends, is the kind of thing some psychopaths do Well If there is evil, psychopaths are its living breathing rock and rolling embodiment Motiveless malignity, Coleridge s phrase describing Iago, catches the horror but we, the unpsychopathic, really struggle hard with it everything has a motive, surely, we are motive seeking missiles of brain and spirit, we need reasons like we need food, a reason to learn the violin and a reason to shoot 13 other human beings Motivelessness offends us Is there motiveless benevolence Yes, this is known as altruism But doing good to others is seen as its own motive to do good IS the motive, doesn t need an ulterior So is doing evil also its own motive and its own reward for some Do they bask in the pain and misery they cause in just the same way that others might shout with joy and hug each other as another Haitian is pulled from another collapsed house Then the pain and misery IS the motive The existence of psychopaths in our midst has already been addressed in movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Children of the Damned, and all those other alien invasion movies in which the aliens look exactly like humans we thought it was because the movie s budget was so low they couldn t afford impressive costumes, but in fact it was because aliens perfectly disguised as humans is the perfect metaphor for psycopathy you can t tell em from normal people We can t fill in the blanks Why would the fascinated, excited contemplation of suicide and mass murder, eventually fused together into one super cool entity called NBK, so delight the minds of Dylan and Eric that it crowded out all the usual teenage boy obsessions such as having sex with teenage girls or being in a rock band and then having sex with teenage girls It drives us crazy so we lunge around where did this evil come from Why didn t anyone notice it Why didn t anyone prevent it Who can we blame not Eric and Dylan, they were just kids You can hear this argument again and again, every time a kid gets caught for something the parent says he s not to blame, it was his bad friends that led him astray Let s blame video games, violent movies, porn, drugs, the devil, goth culture, gun laws, school bullies uh oh, Eric WAS the school bully so that doesn t work , the parents Ah yes, of course, the parents It also appears that even the best parenting may be no match for a child born to be bad p241 Cullen paraphrases Eric s Shakespeare quote This is so un PC it explodes the whole thrust of child centered theory and whatnot which has been trying to get away from the Victorian view that in a class of thirty children there will be one limb of Satan hence the old insult you young limb Psychopaths know just as well as we do that certain things are considered to be bad, so they try their best not to get caught But they just don t agree that these things actually are bad They think they should be allowed to do whatever takes their fancy They must be in a permanent state of irritation with the world and its puerile petty rules A couple of psychopaths once lived in a world where there were absolutely no restraints because they themselves made up the rules Bliss These were the Roman Emperors Caligula and Heliogabalus, and we may read about their idea of fun in Gibbon s dolorous history There are so many breathtaking side stories in Cullen s compelling, brilliantly organised book Like Cassie Bernall, the Christian martyr who wasn t, like the guy who made crosses for all the Columbine dead 15 of them, one for D E too guess how long they stayed upright 3 days Like the lawsuits naturellement turns out that Dylan s parents had a home insurance policy which covered them for murder committed by their children Like the discovery by a detective of Eric s rampage fantasies in 1997 which Eric, as we know, published on his own website leading to the detective getting an affadavit for a search warrant for Eric s house and how no one did anything about it, it was just kind of forgotten about, oops and how that major cock up was covered up by county officials on and on it goes In his last year, Eric was constantly badgered by his parents about getting his life on track, having a goal and sticking to it He couldn t tell them that he did indeed have a goal, and he was sticking to it, through thick and thin And it was going to be so cool NOTEI hope this isn t too creepy, but readers of this review may be interested in my review of Going Postal which continues the discussion of this subject The author of that book explicitly criticises Dave Cullen, and in many ways Mark Ames book is a necessary corrective to this one.http www.goodreads.com review show The very word Columbine summons an image of gun toting teens mowing down teachers and students in their high schools In the media frenzy of the time and in the years since certain misconceptions about the event have found their way into common wisdom The perpetrators were portrayed as Goths, gays, members of a trenchcoat wearing gang, victims of bullying jocks and social outcasts None of this was true Cullen was one of the reporters on the scene when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed thirteen people at their high school, seriously injuring many , and ruining the lives of scores.Dave Cullen image from FocusFeatures.comIt took years for much of the information about the case to find its way to public scrutiny, the local police force somehow managing not only to display considerable incompetence in their handling of the investigation, but an enthusiasm for hiding and destroying evidence of their actions and inactions Cullen has pulled together all available info, and tells the story of the two boys who perpetrated this crime, how they came to their decision to act, how they went about gathering their deadly materials, how they planned their actions, and how they leaked enough information about their plans that anyone paying attention should have seen what was coming Cullen looks at the impact on many of the casualties One teen girl was reported to have proclaimed her faith in Jesus before being shot dead It never happened That did not stop her family and some religious hucksters from attempting to gain from the tall tale Cullen tells of court cases that continued for years, of victims who courageously worked themselves back from catastrophic injury, of those who were never able to recover, and of some who nurtured their rage for years It is a compelling story Cullen tells, moving, sad, hopeful and unfortunately, all too real It is very a positive contribution for Cullen to have sorted out the many pieces of this complex puzzle and to show us how the pieces interlink It is always better to operate and analyze from a base of knowledge I cannot say that this was an enjoyable read, but it was very informative, very enlightening.Links to the author s personal, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Youtube and FB pages Right off the bat, I will state that Columbine is one of the most riveting, fascinating, heartbreaking and revolting works of non fiction you will ever read What sets Columbine apart from all of the investigative reporting done during the aftermath of perhaps the most notorious school shooting in US history is Dave Cullen s skillful ability to cut through the mythology and hysteria surrounding the entire event Many of the myths that were accepted as fact that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were bullied loners who sought revenge against the jocks and the elites of Columbine are irrevocably shattered Utilizing countless pages and hours of testimony from survivors and others directly involved in the school shooting, including the infamous Basement Tapes recorded by Harris and Klebold just days before their rampage, Cullen paints in vivid detail the story of how an idyllic suburb suddenly became a buzzword for everything that was bad about everything high school, parents, gun control, religion, etc Cullen smartly deflects the blame cast on Harris and Klebold s parents If anything, the journals those two kept demonstrate teenagers have a tremendous capacity to mask their true feelings in the face of authority In Eric Harris case, he masked a case of classic textbook psychopathy no amount of intervention or psychological evaluation could have revealed both his lack of empathy towards others and his massive superiority complex, both which led him to eventually conclude that he was indeed like a God, ready to enact his wrath on a world he deemed too stupid and lazy to live Klebold, on the other hand, was, on the surface, just melancholy, but hid suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and saw his own death as the only way of truly achieving any peace and tranquility in his life Apart, the deadly rampage at Columbine may never have taken place together, with Harris cold blooded planning and Klebold s eagerness, Columbine became all but inevitable.There is blame to be cast, and the villain0 of this story is the Jefferson County Sheriff s Department Their incompetence during the shooting and after inadvertently gave rise to much of the hostility and mythology that took place during the aftermath of the shooting Regardless of all the details, Dave Cullen, on every page, painted a masterful image of the human tragedy that was Columbine We became riveted with what Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold unleashed upon Columbine on April 20, 1999 Cullen reminds us that it s the who and the why of this event that gave it the gravity it deserved Columbine is recommended ready for everyone Everyone. There comes a time that everyone must not only see outside the box, but read things that make them less than comfortable Life is not always honeybees and flowers bursting with colour Dave Cullen offers this sobering perspective as he tackles an insightful view into one of the worst school shootings in history, though I am not prepared to posit how one ranks school shootings from best to worst Cullen pulls the reader in to explore not only the event that took place in a small Colorado community in April 1999, but also the vast array of sentiments surrounding this shooting, both before and afterwards The book throughly examines all three time periods, though not in a clear division, allowing the reader to learn much about Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who have long been deemed evil personified Cullen gives these boys a personality as he searches for the triggers that led them to act While both did have their issues with the law, there were no outward signs of aggression in the way they interacted with the general community or even their families The revelation, found mostly after the fact, showed a detailed plot to exact general revenge, through taped messages and journal entries What Cullen does highlight is that many of the signs, particularly a website, were pooh poohed by authorities, or the depth to which the hatred was brewing seemed to have been lost as others missed the signs Cullen then gives a thorough and heart wrenching account of the shooting day and how members of the school community became victims of chance It appeared as though there were no specific targets , as long as Harris and Klebold killed and hurt many Cullen ties in the ominous date and how the boys sought to top Oklahoma City in loss of life, all in an attempt to make names for themselves Victims received names and faces throughout the narrative, as did the injured Cullen appears not to have wanted to simply lump them together into the victim group or those who barely got away Cullen also exemplifies the reaction by authorities to the events, from police to SWAT and even the national reaction from the White House The reader cannot help but be swept up as they see how things were managed Cullen then pulls the story into the aftermath and the synthesising of all the emotions and outpouring of grief Why and How remained on the tips of everyone s tongues, as well as how the school, the county, and the country as a whole perhaps even the world would bounce back from this School officials did not wish to be burdened with the pall of events, though they could not simply turn a new page and forget It is perhaps this thread that proved most powerful for me how did the school seek to learn and yet not dwell While media outlets sought to focus on Nazi worship and gun stockpiles, Columbine and county officials needed to rebuild That said, Cullen also spends much time exploring the familial reactions to events, both the Harris and Klebold families as victims themselves, even though many sought to tar and feather them with ease Bitterness and resentment were flooding the region, leaving little time for personal healing Targets were painted, threats made, and families destroyed How does one seek to rebuild when the core is gutted It is this aspect of the tragedy that cannot be fixed with a coat of paint and new drywall, where steam cleaners and a memorial plaque cannot erase self doubt and hatred towards those who destroyed the lives of many There are so many nuances within the book, though it is up to the courageous reader to sift through the book and pull out what touches them most deeply Not a book for those looking to apportion blame or shake their heads at two lone souls This is the kind of book that leaves readers thinking and examining themselves, as it will do for me while Neo continues his scholastic endeavours Brilliantly presented and captivating on many levels As a journalist for the events, Dave Cullen brings a wonderful perspective and his writing pulls the reader in throughout this piece I have pondered throughout reading and come to realise that this book is than facts and names and places, it serves as a biography of an event Yes, a biographical piece of time, not a life or a school or even the killers It is the event that needs a face, a life, and a death, which Cullen offers up and allows the reader to dissect at will By putting a face on the event, those actors who shaped it also come to life As Cullen admits in his opening notes, it would be too confusing to put names to EVERYONE, though he has done is best not to offer sweeping generalisations, but rather put names and faces and lives to those who were in the middle of things While it would have been easy to go with the majority and dump on the Harrises or Klebolds, Cullen seeks to explore the family dynamics, as well as the lives of these two boys He pushes into a zone that might have received much fodder already, labelling Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold as psychopaths, but uses much of the medical and psychological analyses to SHOW how these boys fit the bill They did have psychopathy in them and the key traits were exemplified throughout their lives, even if hindsight was the only way to see it come to the surface The book is wonderfully paced and pulls the reader in from the start Topics and chapters move throughout time, though in a way that has much organisation This is neither a book of excuses or finger pointing, but a thorough analysis of what we, as humans, go through and how there is never a single answer or path to determinations Media push us around like sheep, but to take the time and examine what is going on around us, we see the nuances and the differences, allowing us to form our own conclusions I am aware of how odd that sounds, as I place my trust in Cullen here, but that is why I am writing this review for myself to express what I see from this book I remain in awe and shock, as I remember the day well, but have come to see that I really knew NOTHING other than what was force fed to me in papers and later stilted documentaries May those who perished and were injured feel the warmth of many, for you are than the statistics that surround this event Pain and loss continue to this day and will surely never completely disappear However, looking forward, this was a learning experience for everyone touched by it Blame no individual, for we all play a part in fostering personal sentiments towards or against others Children are our future and it is they who exemplify what is to come As Cullen so aptly puts it, the education the world got that chilly April morning is surely powerful than any line item in the curriculum Have we learned from it I suppose only time will tell Kudos, Mr Cullen for making me see that there is than meets the eye Your delivery has me hoping that you will return with , on any subject, as you have piqued my interest Like hate the review An ever growing collection of others appears at This is a difficult review to write Going in, you know the content will be extreme, controversial, and upsetting While that was the case it was also quite eye opening As the book gets into the details of the massacre before, during, and after , it is going to be a difficult book for many But, the depth which the author explores this event is very important in order to clear up all of the details and set the record straight I think true crime fans will be enthralled with this book.The biggest thing I took from this is it is bad to jump to conclusions and you should not let fiction become fact Going in, I thought I knew the basics surrounding the tragedy, but it turns out that a lot of what I thought I knew is wrong Seeing how once the event began, the population was hungry for answers and the chain of information became like a giant game of telephone and what often ended up in print or on TV is far from the truth In fact, the author did so good of a job making this point, I am wondering if I should be skeptical of him, too He has me paranoid This was the first time I have ever heard or read in depth the details following the event The success stories, the additional tragedies, the rebuilding, and the healing we re all very facinating One story in particular where the Evangelical Church tried to benefit of the tragedy was disappointing While it sounds like they thought their heart was in the right place, they we re pushing too hard for martyrs and new followers and their hope to find the silver lining was lost in the static.So much about the why and what can we do is touched on in this book You will be amazed at how much life in this suburban Colorado town sounds like any town and the kids both victims and killers are just like many teenagers you might know But, it is also amazing to watch the dark side grow inside the mind of a killer while leaving things fairly normal maybe a little rebellious on the surface What do you do What can you do How do you know A very captivating book Well written and informative Proceed with caution if you are sensitive to violence and graphic details. On April 20th, 1999, two students of Columbine High arrived at their school for the last time They were about to begin what would be known as the deadliest schooting in an American high school, killing one teacher and twelve students What is less known is that Columbine has originally been planned as a bombing the pair has left two petrol bombs in the school cafeteria, and positioned themselves outside the entrances so they could shoot possible survivors it is probable that had the bombs exploded all of the approximately 488 students in the cafeteria would have been killed Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the shooters, would have committed an atrocity equal in scope to Jonestown, undoubtedly the deadliest and largest murder at a high school in any country Because their bombs failed to explode they were badly made the pair amred themselves up with shotguns, rifles and semi automatic weapons, and entered the school, where they killed twelve students and one teacher, wounding many others, before taking their own lives.The worst part of the Columbine shooting occured in the school library, where students have been hiding under the tables, forgetting in fear that they could be easily seen In the 13 minutes they spent in the library, Harris and Klebold have killed 10 students and injured 12 others Part of the shooting which occured before they entered the library and the entrance itself is captured on a 911 phone call made by the teacher Patti Nielsen The call is chilling both Eric and Dylan can be heard shooting and cheering in the school corridors, dropping pipe bombs, and their voices have been caught on tape near the end of the call Eric orders the students to get up and Dylan shouts everybody get up This is only a part of the call Nielsen left the phone hanging as the moved to a better hiding position, and all of the massacre has been captured on police tape.The two shooters have returned to the school cafeteria, captured on the school camera in what is most probably the best known image from the shooting there Eric tried to detonate the bombs they left by shooting at them, which is probably his first suicide attempt They succeeded in starting a small fire, but as it was later revealed it was completely extinguished by the fire sprinklers The two eventually returned to the library, where they comitted suicide just 49 minutes after they entered the school Dave Cullen s book is an attempt to study Columbine in depth the author sets out to discovers what was the killers motive and how they prepared for the event The writing is very coloquial and pretty plain at times it feels to b forcefully hip and in tune with the age group that is being described It does not necessarily have to detract from the text, but it posesses neither the lyricism nor the power of In Cold Blood , a work to which it has been compared Nevertheless, Columbine moves at a brick pace and remains interesting and captivating throughout the whole text.I have significant problem with the author s thesis, which essentially boils down to this Eric Harris was a psychopath and killed people and Dylan Klebold has been his accomplice because he was depressive and thought about ending his own life That s pretty much it it s the main point of the book and the explanation for the events that occured The author cites many pages from the diary of Eric Harris which he uses to support his point At the same time, he completely downplays the bullying which took place at Columbine while he acknowledged that bullying existed, he states that Eric and Dylan never complained that they were bullied but then what bullied kid would Eric wrote out his gruesome fantasies in his journal, but he also wrote how he was abused Everyone is always making fun of me because of how I look, how fucking weak I am and shit, well I will get you all back ultimate fucking revenge here you people could have shown respect, treated me better, asked for my knowledge or guidence , treated me like senior, and maybe I wouldn t have been as ready to tear your fucking heads off then again, I have always hated how I looked, I make fun of people who look like me, sometimes without even thinking sometimes just because I want to rip on myself Thats where a lot of my hate grows from, the fact that I have practically no selfesteem, especially concerning girls and looks and such therefore people make fun of me constantly therefore I get no respect and therefore I get fucking PISSED Eric and Dylan made a series of tapes which they recorded in Eric s basement Eric s family frequently moved and Eric recalls how he always had to earn respect anew, to start out at the bottom of the ladder and how people always made fun of him my face, my hair, my shirts Dylan recalls how he was abused even by his own brother, who constantly ripped on him He says If you could see all the anger I ve stored over the past four fucking years You made me what I am You added to the rage During the library massacre, Dylan is said to have suggested that knifing people might be fun than shooting them.Brooks Brown, who was a friend of both boys recalls one of the incidents of bullying, where both Eric and Dylan have been picked on in the cafeteria Although Brooks is mentioned in the book, he is notably absent from the acknowledgments section People surrounded them in the commons and squirted ketchup packets all over them, laughing at them, calling them faggots, Brown says That happened while teachers watched They couldn t fight back They wore the ketchup all day and went home covered with it In this clip from The Columbine Killers , a documentary of the shooting, Brooks describes the bullying which took place at Columbine, and openly says that Eric and Dylan have been bullied daily and everybody knew about it Brooks says that Eric and Dylan were the lowest of the low, two uncoolest kids in the whole school A female friend of Dylan says how a jock pushed her into a locker when he saw her talking to Dylan, that faggot The except from the amateur video shot by Eric s friend seems to confirm that it shows Eric, his friend with whom he is talking and another friend who documents their conversation Please notice how both boys are cheerful and talkative during the beginning of the filming, and when they see a group of jocks approaching they immediately fall completely silent and stop all gesturing in an instant they become sullen and fearful As the jocks pass them, one jock rams his elbow into Eric s back so hard that he almost knocks out the camera from the hand of the boy who was filming And as Brooks point out, neither Eric nor the two boys react in any way they are so used to this behavior that they simply walk away and hope that they will be left alone.When Eric and Dylan entered the library, they ordered everybody with a white hat to stand up at Columbine jocks wore white hats Survivor of the shooting, Bree Pasquale, describes on video shortly after the shooting that one of the boys told her explicitly that at least one of the reasons was the fact that he was bullied An article in the Denver Post describes in how for some students at Columbine life has been pure hell Another article from the same newspaper expands on the issue, with one survivor recalling They pointed a gun at my head and asked if I was a jock They said it s revenge time on jocks for making us outcasts.Both boys have made amateur movies where they portrayed themselves as saviors of abused students from the evil jocks.In Cullen s book, Columbine is almost a storybook school almost none of this is mentioned, and the principal is portrayed as almost saintlike most of the time he is affectionately called mr D The bullying factor is completely neglected, brushed aside, as if it did not exist Evidence indicating otherwise is ignored in favor of a simpler, perhaps easier explanation the shooters were psychopatic and depressive, and there was nothing that anyone could have done to prevent them Cullen goes for the theory that psychopaths are born, not made This topic is the subject of intense discussion in the field of psychology and psychiatry, far from being settled While there is no doubt that the author did an impressive amount of research for this book, it seems that he tailored it to fit his already made conclusion a nice, reassuring wrap up, he was just a psychopath end of story I am afraid that the story is far from settled and perhaps never will be, and that the book is far from being a definitive work on the topic of Columbine, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. I used to think that the Columbine massacre would be the defining event of my generation, the one friends and I would discuss years later, trading where you when stories like I d heard my parents do when remembering John F Kennedy It seemed so monumental at the time I was a senior in high school, the same age as the killers The media attention was omnipresent and relentless and soon even at my small town school and when I say small town, I mean it, not the way the news will describe a sleepy hamlet of 30,000 , everyone began looking askance at the outsiders, the loners, the kids who came to school dressed in black and roamed the halls with a look on their faces like they hated the world, and it deserved it.How surreal was it to turn on the television about a year later, after class in my freshman dorm room, to see the students from my high school running from the building, fleeing danger while news copters circled overheard Turned out the bombing incident was the result of an idiot with a cherry bomb and access to a toilet, but Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold had already shown us that there is no such thing as a harmless threat when it comes to violence in high school Columbine or rather, the media circus it became had changed everything.Then one day, it was September 11, and I had a new definition for generation defining tragedy, and Columbine stopped being something I thought about much.Dave Cullen never stopped thinking about it He was a reporter on the scene that very first day, April 20, 1999, when bodies began dropping from library windows and no one knew what the hell was happening For ten years, he followed the case, the accusations of a police coverup, the lives of those who survived, the sorrows of the families of those who did not.Columbine, the book, is an exhausting, heartbreaking, minute by minute, year by year analysis snaking into the past and future from the pivot point of April 20 Meticulously, he explains how everything we thought we knew about the violence that day you probably remember outcasts targeting jocks, the Trench Coat Mafia, Marilyn Manson is totally wrong, the truth a victim of a media whirlwind that descended upon the tragedy, picked up garbled rumors and incorrect assumptions and flung them onto TVs and broadsheets across the country No, Eric and Dylan were not outsiders they were popular with a certain crowd and Eric even dated No, they were not part of a cabal that hated jocks the killings were random and the only real target was humanity The killers didn t even like Marilyn Manson, preferring KMFDM If you have read anything about the case in the last decade, you probably know this already, but for many, the initial reporting of rumors and suppositions fueling a 24 hour cable news cycle that was just gearing up in 1999 is what they remember, and has become the truth of the whole bloody affair.People read, and probably write, books like this because they want to know why After a decade of analyzing police records, psychological profiles, and the killers own writings, Cullen presents an answer, but you aren t going to like it Eric Harris was a psychopath, and Dylan Klebold was a manic depressive hanger on That doesn t make me feel any better Wouldn t it be easier to think, those kids were picked on, it was wrong, but you can see it, they just snapped, it could happen to any of us But no Eric Harris didn t snap He was a bright kid, a smooth talker, and he fooled the world while he spent a full year planning his masterpiece Did you know that Columbine wasn t even a school shooting, not really The actual plan was to blow up the building, killing hundreds indiscriminately The guns were just an afterthought, to pick off the survivors You know, for fun Like Doom there s another rumor for you.This book is heartbreaking the stories of the survivors and the grief stricken nearly brought me to tears than once, and not because Cullen is slick with his prose This book is infuriating details of a police coverup provide than enough evidence that this tragedy probably could have been prevented This book is strangely cathartic I hate using sports as shorthand for healing, but I choked up when Columbine won the state football championships the year after the murders, and the crowd of students chanted togetherWe are COLUMBINEReclaiming the word, making it theirs again I also wonder, and I am adding this a few days after the rest of the review, how necessary it really is Why is Columbine such a big deal As a day, it was certainly a pretty crappy day But there have been a lot of other crappy days before and since, days that killed a lot than 13 people, that we don t know about or can t remember It was a seismic event because we let it be one I don t think it taught anyone anything, not really Except maybe how useless constant as it happens reporting was going to turn out to be I don t like that the book, in essence, continues to give Eric Harris exactly what he wanted, which was recognition that he had done something important As an analysis of the fallout on a formerly unknown town, it s less troubling As a warning against future violence, it s useless, since it s pretty clear there wasn t much that could be done to change the way it all turned out.Whenever I see footage from 9 11 something I try to avoid, but hey, it happens , my breath catches and my heart stops Every time I see those burning towers, part of me thinks, hopes, that maybe this time, they won t fall But no They always fall. After reading this book, pen in hand, my copy was so marked up with scrawls and underlining that there might have been a second book written in the margins I wish I could say it was praise for the author s insight into the Columbine tragedy, but instead it was sheer incredulity at the number of mistakes, lies, and misperceptions Cullen is trying to pass off as truth If your only exposure to Columbine was watching it unfold live on tv, and then maybe reading a few magazine articles, you will probably rate this book five stars.But if you ve spent years studying Columbine and other school shootings, if you ve read the 12,000 documents available online including the witness interviews and the the shooters journals you be able to understand how Cullen seems to be deliberately twisting the truth in order to present a neat little explanation that lets nearly everyone off the hook and lets us all feel good about our schools and our society This entire book is filled with little but speculation, stated as fact, often with nothing whatever to back it up, or to explain why he comes to those conclusions Some of the mistakes are minor, such as the tidbit that all the school shooters during the years 1997 1998 were white boys Most mistakes were a great deal less minor, such as Cullen s repeated assertion that Eric Harris Got chicks Lots and lots of chicks , he had scored with a 23 year old when he was only seventeen and he outscored much of the football team Yet, according to Cullen and Eric s own journal Eric died a virgin Cullen goes on and on about those chicks , stamping in his own idea that Eric was hugely popular at Columbine, yet he never manages to explain why, if that was the case, Eric was completely unable to get any A better explanation, and one that fits the interviews with those who actually attended Columbine, was that Eric was not ranked just under the football team in popularity, but was actually near the bottom as far as the pecking order of High School Another example is where Cullen claims that Eric didn t know that he had been rejected by the Marine recruiter for being on the drug Luvox Not only was Eric in the room, when the recruiter said that Luvox would be a problem and that Eric would have to have been off the drug a year before he would join , but Eric also told several of his friends that he had been rejected Cullen says Eric had no interest in the Marines , but Eric s journal tells another story I would have been a great Marine, it would have given me a chance to be good.Cullen says there s no evidence that bullying led to murder He says that Neither Eric or Dylan complained about bullies picking on them This is a completely false assertion There are many, many eyewitness accounts of them being bullied, there is a video of Dylan being slammed into a locker, and there is this statement, straight from Eric s journal Everyone is always making fun of me because of how I look, how ing weak I am and , well I will get you all back ultimate %ing revenge here During the shooting, they tell everyone wearing white hats to stand up Cullen gives this quote, but never bothers to explain that it was the jocks who wore white hats at Columbine He also leaves out the fact that both boys told victims during the shooting that this was for all the you put us through.Cullen wants us to believe that Eric was simply a psychopath, and that Dylan was his unwilling dupe, despite the fact that IF Eric was and that s a huge if, since there is too many arguments for him not being a psychopath to list here , it doesn t explain WHY he was a psychopath He certainly didn t show signs of Juvenile Conduct Disorder growing up, as psychopaths nearly invariably do By all accounts, Eric was a normal kid, in the beginning He didn t torture animals or show any other warning signs of a sadistic temperament, according to his friends, teachers, and neighbors And contrary to the movies, psychopaths are nearly always non violent and not suicidal Something happened to Eric and Dylan to make them the way they died To act out in violent revenge, a person doesn t have to be psyopathic , he only has to be made to feel as if he is completely worthless, and to have all hope taken away from him Bullying does this And at this point, a child will either turn the anger and despair in on himself and commit suicide as the 11 year old boy did recently or else, like Eric Harris, he will turn it outward To say, as Cullen does, that Eric s behavior was a mere accident of birth is to deny everything that we could learn from Columbine It makes us close our eyes to how we can help other children trapped in this downward spiral of bullying and prevent violence.If Cullen intended to bust the myths of Columbine by ignoring everything that didn t fit his theory, he did an excellent job, and this book deserves a full five stars I just feel sorry that for many people, this will be the truth they come away believing in The thirteen who died in Littleton deserve a better memorial than this book.