At Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, two teens went on a shooting spree on April 20, 1999, killing 13 people and wounding more than 20 others before turning their guns on themselves and committing suicide. The Columbine shooting was, at the time, the worst high school shooting in U.S. history and prompted a national debate on gun control and school safety, as well as a major investigation to determine what motivated the gunmen, Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17.
The pair had killed 12 students and a teacher. 21 others were injured.
I was reading Columbine by Dave Cullen ( like twilight hahah) and I pretty much analysed it.
Dave Cullen in his book, had examined the aggressors and the reasons for their actions especially the causes and the effect. Personally I feel that Eric Harris is the culprit rather than his partner, Dylan Klebold.
I felt that Eric Harris already had what it required to be a little unstable. Between the boys he was the “Cool Brain”. He used to wear military hair, baggy cargo pants, black t’s and he used to break the rules at school. Eric was nicknamed “Reb”. However, despite his bad behaviour Harris got A’s and ‘chicks’… lots and lots of ‘chicks’.
In contrast, Dylan Klebold was extremely tall (6’3), smart and unreliable. He was extremely meek, self-conscious and shy.
Eric Harris had a “Sh*t List” – a folder he had created for despicable young girls. His one weakness seemed to be being rejected, especially by females.
“They moved on to reminiscing about a freshman they’d picked on. Eric impersonated a ‘special’ kid struggling to talk. A busty girl walked by, Eric waved her over and they hit on her.” Part 1, Female Down, Rebels
The attack was planned a few days after the prom. Eric himself had designed 7 highly explosive bombs. They were to be placed in the luch room as he wanted maximum killing radius which would allow him to wait for survivors. Eric had also designed another bomb which would kill everyone.
One of the names of the chapters is “Female Down”, I didn’t understand this at first but after researching I realised that the first victim was a female. Instead of being killed, she was paralysed. The bombs created by Eric had failed. However, the two boys had opened fire at 11:18 AM after the bombs had failed.
The event was all over the news, the boys were just shooting, not caring at who. Robyn Anderson, Dyan’s date and the person who provided the boys with the guns was scared as her date happened to be a mass murderer.
It turns out from their diaries that it was Eric who conducted majority of the planning of the shooting. A reason for Eric’s behaviour could that in the past he found it extremely easy to find a date but was rejected quite a few times during this period. Surprisingly, Dylan happened to have a date which frustrated Eric, especially because Eric felt that he was better looking.
The third chapter of the book (Springtime), explains the number of school shootings that have occured as well as how Dylan and Eric felt. Both boys were not enjoying their lives and were “going to leave anyways” (by committing suicide). However, they wanted to mark themselves and manage to exceed a higher score than of the last shooting. They beat 10 murders by 5 resulting in 15 murders including their own. The boys wanted people to feel their pain as well as any other emotions they felt.
In the “His Future” chapter (chp 6.), Dave Cullen describes the difference between the lives of Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris as well as their futures. Dylan seemed to have planned his whole future even though he was going to end his life. In contrast, Eric had no idea about what he wanted to do nor did he care.
Due to this shoot out, Susan Klebold (Dylan’s mother) has to face the blame for her son’s actions. As did Eric Harris’ parents.
Personally, I feel that this was the fault of the parents as well as Eric. I wouldn’t blame Dylan as Eric manipulated his mind to follow his plan. The parents of the shooters should have been aware of their suicidal thoughts, more importantly they should have realised the difference in attitude including keeping emotional distance and talking rudely. Eric’s parents should have realised that Eric had possession of lethal weapons and should have acted immediately. In fact, the parents should have acted previously when their children were charged and arrested several times for theft and trespassing.
This in a way reminds me of “Lets Talk About Kevin” which shows how Kevin is born with a mental problem and the mother is unable to address it. Instead of trying to understand her son, Eva (the mother) reacts harshly which further worsens Kevin’s condition, relationship and allows him to manipulate situations from a young age. This constant conflict between mother and son as well as other deep rooted issues cause Kevin to take the final plunge. Kevin being fantastic at archery, used this skill to his advantage as he later takes part in a school massacre and is eventually arrested.
Even though these boys (Dylan and Eric), do not necessarily have mental problems, it is evident that due to not-so-great relations with parents and involvement in petty criminal activity resulted in them taking such a drastic decision.