FDL Book Salon Welcomes Dave Cullen: Columbine

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[Please welcome Dave Cullen, and Host, Chad Dion Lassiter, MSW, University of Pennsylvania – bev]

Columbine is the most important and impactful reading of this massacre that I have read to date. Written by Dave Cullen, it provides the reader with an opportunity to attempt to get inside the minds of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.  Additionally, we get a profile of teenage killers that goes to the heart of psychopathology. We learn of their interactions with one another, their peers, their teachers, and their parents. There were many themes and emerging themes that stood out for me. I think of Mr. D (Frank De Angelis) and how there are many dedicated and compassionate teachers like him, and how they really care about the overall well-being of their students. Even in the midst of chaos, there is comfort in faith. Therefore, the chapters ‘Rush to Closure’, ‘Gifted Boy’, ‘Hour of Need’, had me asking the question, Do We ever Forgive, or can we? and Does God hear the passionate prayers of forgiveness from the parents of Eric and Dylan?

strong>Columbine is a remarkable account of the April 20,1999 Columbine High School shooting, journalist Dave Cullen does an impressive job in dispelling several of the prevailing myths about the event and addresses the most profound question of all: Why did it happen? Moreover, drawing on extensive interviews, police reports and his very own reporting, Dave Cullen, brilliantly pieces together what happened when Eric Harris 18 years old and Dylan Klebold 17 years old killed 13 people before turning their guns on themselves. The media provided their spin that specific students were targeted, namely jocks, and that Eric and Dylan were members of the Trench Coat Mafia.  According to Dave Cullen, Eric and Dylan lived normal lives, but under the surface lay an angry, extremely erratic depressive (Klebold) and sadistic psychopath (Harris), together they formed a combustible pair. They planned the massacre for a year, outlining their intentions for massive carnage in extensive and revealing journals and video diaries. Dave Cullen expertly balances the much needed psychological analysis—enhanced by several of the nation’s leading experts on psychopathology—with an examination of the shooting’s effects on survivors, victims’ families and the Columbine community. Readers will come away from Dave Cullen’s unflinching account with a deeper understanding of what drove these boys to kill, even if the answers aren’t easy to stomach. (more…)