Friday, September 25, 2009
I was a senior in High School when this happened. I remember thinking WTF? Why shoot up a school? At the time the prevailing theory was that Dylan and Eric were two kids that had gotten picked on one to many times and had just snapped. They were reportedly outcasts and nerds that were teased ruthlessly. I was shocked, confused, and saddened by the events that took place on April 2oth. I watched with the rest of the world, as news came pouring in about the shootings. I remember the rumors that flooded the news stations and radio. That there were more than two shooters, it was a terrorist attack, and the Trench Coat Mafia connection.
Columbine by Dave Cullen is an eye opener. I was shocked to find out that police and teachers had had not just subtle hints but HUGE arrows pointing to these two guys way in advance! This tragedy could have been prevented if only things had been run a little better. If people had only listened and recognized the signs of mental illness these two were suffering from. It wasn't as if they had hid it very well either, the book goes into how they slipped up and revealed some of their plans almost a year or so before the shootings took place! Teachers, the police and even their parents had chances to act, but none did.
Dave Cullen's book has given everyone surrounding this tragedy a face and a name. I respect him for not just painting Eric and Dylan as monsters and only that. He didn't glorify them, he didn't demonize them. He described them as how they really where. Boys that were seriously mentally ill, and that were intelligent and real. Not at all how the media portrayed them at the time.
The only thing that bothers me about books like this one, is that they give the killers what they really wanted. Especially Eric and Dylan, who did everything they planned for the shock value and show. They wanted people to talk about them. They wanted people to be scared and scarred by what they did. Their plan worked. People are still talking about them now, 10 years later. Every year the History channel shows the footage of the boys walking through the cafeteria and shooting their guns. Every year Yahoo interviews a survivor and the story makes the front page. Sadly this is exactly what they wanted, but it's human nature to want to know more. It's human nature to want to understand how a person could do such a thing. That's my reason for reading this book.
I give it a 8.5/10 for being well written, interesting, and informative. The events aren't sensationalized. The rumors and lies about the shooting are pretty much squashed by the actual facts. It's a highly readable book and incredibly touching in certain parts. I'd recommend it to people that wanted what appears to be an unbiased view on the events of that day.