Julia's Reviews > Columbine

Columbine by Dave Cullen
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's review
Dec 22, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: non-fiction, school-shootings, best-book-i-read-in-2009
Read in July, 2009

So many things that we “knew” about this shooting just aren’t true. First of all, it wasn’t a shooting at all, but a failed bombing. Harris intended to kill 500 students at least, not 12 and one teacher. The two shooters weren’t outcasts, they were very much a part of many of the school’s activities. The trench coat mafia wasn’t them, but some of their friends, the year before. They wore cool long dusters, the day of the shooting to hide their rifles and other armaments. They weren’t neo-Nazis, goths or gay, they didn’t target athletes or anyone else. Why did they do it? The opening line in Eric Harris’ journal is “I hate the fucking world.” Dylan Klebold in his journal is suicidal; for three years. Eric is a psychopath, together like Leopold and Loeb, Bonnie and Clyde and the Beltway snipers of 2002 they were a dyad, egging each other on. Eric killed to “demonstrate his superiority and to enjoy it.”

Also, the fault, over and over again was the local cops. Eighteen months before they shot up their school, a former friend of Eric’s called the cops and told them about Eric's list and website. The cops talked to the kid and his parents, numerous times, and filled out the form before the search warrant that would have stopped this. And they went no further. The form disappeared a few days after the killings. And then they lied about it, accusing the kid who came forward of being in on the killings. Why hasn't this police department faced repurcussions? Why haven't they been sued? They had it in their power to stop this tragedy and they did not. Why not?

“Had the propane bombs detonated, they would have incinerated most… of the inhabitants of the commons. They would have killed five hundred people in the first few seconds. Four times the toll in Oklahoma City. For investigators, the big bombs changed everything: the scale, the method, and the motive of the attack. Above all, it had been indiscriminate. Everyone was supposed to die.”

This is an amazing book. Readable, horrifying, shocking, challenging to what I thought I knew. I recommend it highly.
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