Two completely different, yet highly intelligent high school boys- both depressed and unhappy. One is a leader, the other is a follower. A perfect matTwo completely different, yet highly intelligent high school boys- both depressed and unhappy. One is a leader, the other is a follower. A perfect match for a horrific disaster.
Dave Cullen did an incredible job researching, investigating and uncovering the why, how, and what was really going on in Eric and Dylan's minds. What caused them to want to blow up their school and end their lives. Both Eric and Dylan left behind journals spanning 1 1/2 years leading up to the shootings, consisting of their plans and the depressed and downward spirals that had engulfed their minds and lives.
This book is primarily told in Eric's and Dylan's point of view. Eric is the leader behind it all. Although he had been in legal trouble, he was going to face consequences, and his parents had been trying to set limits for him. Making him follow those limits was another story. He was a sweet-talking lier. His parents had taken him to a physician for psychiatric help. Even the psychiatrist was fooled and never saw it coming.
Dylan on the other hand, never let on that he was so severely depressed. Sure he had bad days, and there were times towards the end that his behavior was out of character. But nothing that would have clued anyone into such devastation that was about to take place. The only trouble Dylan had been in, was when he and Eric were together. His parents had forbid Dylan to spend time with Eric outside of school. They had only recently allowed them to spend time together again. Unknown to them, Dylan and Eric had been spending time together plotting the event that would end life as we know it.
Dave Cullen did an enormous amount of research into all of the information left behind by both Eric and Dylan. Eric specifically left details behind that he knew would be found. And he encouraged Dylan to do the same. As the pages come to life with their plans and their actions, you feel as though you are right in the middle of the planning, the events immediately leading up to the shootings, and the shootings themselves. Different situations are verified and explained by cameras recently installed in the school, and by the lucky survivors that lived to tell about it. Several of the students who survived sustained "life-changing" injuries. Their lives will never, ever be the same. Most of their dreams are gone. They are now faced with a lifetime of depression and memories, and fight everyday to go on.
Dave's 10 years of research focuses on the injured students, the survivors, and the families of those students and one teacher who were lost in the shootings, and how the whole community began to heal. With the shooters dead, who is to blame? The parents? School officials? The police? (who didn't follow up on a situation and warning sign prior to the shootings), The physician? How did everyone miss this?
It's easy to blame the parents of Eric and Dylan, but after reading this book, it's hard not to feel compassion for them too. Mental illness isn't an exact science, and hippa laws cut the parents off after the child turns 18. Both sets of parents also lost a child, along with having to face the fact that their children are murderers. I can't even imagine the guilt that has consumed them. Good parents sometimes raise sick, twisted children. But when "mental illness" is the cause, who do you blame?