Jenn "Awww Yeaaahhh"'s Reviews > Columbine

Columbine by Dave Cullen
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Jan 21, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: not-enough-stars, 2010-read, fave-2010
Read from March 25 to April 06, 2010

** spoiler alert ** Columbine is one of the most compelling and chilling true crime novels I've ever read. This non-fiction reads like a novel and traces the history leading up to the event as well as it's aftermath. An impressive work of investigative journalism, the book is written from information from the killers' journals, videotapes (Basement Videos), website, police files, and interviews with survivors, their families, classmates, administrators, law enforcement, and experts.

Cullen debunks a lot of the theories that floated around after the shooting -- no thanks to the sheriff's department and the irresponsible behavior of the media -- that they were Goths, into heavy metal, persecuted by the jocks, bullied, loners, or druggies. It wasn't even a school shooting; it was a year-long detailed and planned school bombing, culminating in a dream of terrorizing a nation. I felt that the author tried to be as fair to everyone as possible, especially to the Harris and Klebold family. And this is where it gets to be most interesting to me. Motive. Cullen theorizes that it also wasn't their parents' upbringing that led the boys down their chosen path of destruction (as do the boys themselves). Dylan Klebold is described as depressive and suicidal, while Eric Harris is plainly diagnosed as a psychopath and the mastermind. Psychopaths lie to and hurt others simply for their own enjoyment, there is no rhyme or reason, except for their own massive ego and a superiority complex. They are amoral and without conscience or emotion. They are hard to identify and almost impossible to treat. In fact, therapy makes them worse, because it teaches them how to manipulate authority. Harris was calculating and rational when he planned his attack to kill hundreds of people and I think understanding what kind of person he was was most troubling, and interesting, to me. It's scary to think that the friendly and intelligent teenager next door could be planning to blow up kids for his own pleasure and it's just as scary to think that there are those who refuse to believe that these kind of people exist. It's safer for a lot of people to think that "Satan made me do it", easier to place blame on the Goths or the jocks, than to confront something you don't understand.

Harris also wrote about his desire of raping and killing women. Psychiatrists believe that if Columbine had been thwarted, Harris might have lived and gone on to further develop his skills, perhaps fully realizing his murderous dreams and ambitions. Terrifying to think about what could have been.
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Elle It was bad enough.


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