Another school shooting happened this week. This brings me back to the following book I read this year. This would fit into the criminal intent category for the 2018 reading challenge.
Columbine by Dave Cullen is a well-researched account of the victims and shooters of the Columbine High School Massacre which took place in 1999. Dave Cullen had arrived on the scene in Columbine an hour after the shooting started and this moment in time has forever shaped his life. He published this book after nearly a decade of research. The news reports at the time got so many things wrong, from Cullen’s website: “My surprise was that most of what we “know” about Columbine was wrong. It wasn’t about jocks, Goths or the Trench Coat Mafia. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold didn’t even envision a school shooting. They ridiculed school shooters as losers. Eric built his bombs to dwarf Oklahoma City. They planned to mow down survivors fleeing the the burning rubble for “fun.” And it would end with more bombs.” The book focuses on the evolution of the killers up until the attack and then the aftermath for the survivors, the struggles they faced, the impact it had on Columbine and high schools across the country.
Like many of the books that I have found – I found this one purely by accident. I had a bout of insomnia one night and was scrolling through the audible channels on my phone and found this – I started listening and had to stop because I knew I would not fall asleep. I was so captivated by the first 20 minutes of the book, that I had to purchase it instead of stream it from the audible channel. I listened to it in every free moment, I missed my exit coming home from work because I was so engrossed. In real-time, I remember this day, the aftermath as I graduated high-school the same year this occurred. Like another reviewer stated, this might have been a “where were you when” question for the time, but the horrors of 9/11 replaced Columbine on the distinctive shared history of the time.
The aftermath of listening to this book resulted in several google searches. Reading about history or true crime often results in this questing for more information. The book gives some insight into the Why of it all, but it’s still real, 13 people are gone and a whole community is now part of the collective understanding that Columbine = School Shooting.