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 Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read

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StinkyOldGrapes



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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Sun Aug 11, 2013 6:31 am

Also, what's Dave Cullen's obsession with making sure the world knows that E/D's attack was meant to be a bombing, not a shooting?

Seriously? What difference does this make?

What's the difference between a school shooter and a school bomber? I'll tell you what: NOTHING. They both have exactly the same motive -to get as many of their schoolmates dead as possible.

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:38 am

@StinkyOldGrapes wrote:
You're right, who doesn't love fire? When I was younger, a couple of friends and I used to have these pyromaniac-style bonfires. We'd stand on the roof and chuck petrol on the damn thing to see the "whoosh" of fire, and we'd always end up chucking a few kitchen chairs or something into the flames just to be destructive (we lived rurally). My dad, who grew up in a warzone, tells me his friends and he used to find unexploded bombs and make a fire underneath them to detonate them.

I think an interest in bombs, fire, and war are probably very common in young people.
Very, very common. More so in boys than in girls, I think, but I do remember that I played in epic explosive battles with my very girly friends when I was younger as well. Smile My work experience with kids (I studied childcare and such) also leads me to believe that the whole interest in things going boom/whoosh/ratatata is just a very common thing. Kids love to feel like the hero in a huge story. Some of them include dinosaurs, spaceships, monstrous enemies, etc.. It's all a part of growing up! Having that imagination run wild and experimenting with fire and such are pretty normal things, in my opinion. The kids I worked with played wargames and ran around shooting and throwing explosions and gods know what else.. and I can't say that they were the worse for it, really. I think it offered them an escape from the expectations everyday life lay on them. There are no blurred lines in an epic fight with Zooth the Warlord or Grrarrhh the Monster. ;)

Quote :
I thought your description of Eric's Hero vs. Bad Guy mentality was very insightful. I wonder how much the ultra-conservative religious atmosphere played a part in shaping that mentality? If you take The Bible literally -as many people in Littleton clearly did- then your either with God or with Satan. Eric couldn't meet the list of requirements to be on the Good side, so perhaps that left him on the Evil side. And Eric was a perfectionist... If he was going to be Evil, then he was going to be the BEST Evil person that ever lived.

(..)

I don't mean to bash Christianity. But the kind of hardcore Christianity that E/D were attacked with on a daily basis may have contributed to the blurring of fantasy and reality they experienced.
It's an interesting thing to look into, because I think this speaks volumes about Eric himself. A lot of kids grow up with the stories of good vs evil. In early childhood, good and evil are very clearly defined. You can see this clear divide in fairytales, but also in other children's books and shows/movies. The wicked are always very very wicked, with cackling laughter and nightmarish threats, and the good are always very very good with swords in hand spreading happiness across the land. As they grow up, the lines between good and wicked become blurred. People they have seen as good throughout their childhood years (parents, teachers, etc) may do or say something that doesn't compute with what children have been taught is 'good'. Their classmates/playmates who used to be 'on their side' fighting the archetypical bogeyman now make mean comments, or ignore them, or do something really bad, or no longer want to be friends with them and be 'on their side'. It is a very confusing stage in a child's development to come to terms with the fact that this world isn't exactly black and white. All of the stories provide a safety zone: good is good, bad is bad. They have clear rules. They have clear visions and clear patterns. You can see this in computer games, but also in works of fiction and in movies and such. I think a lot of children and teenagers purposefully return to these stories as a coping mechanism for the confusing mess they're in every day of their waking lives. They need that stability from their childhood in order to be able to deal with life.

The ultra-conservative religious side of the community in Littleton may have shaped this even more. The stories from the community suggest that there was a very clear division between good and evil, but that this division was coloured through the lens of a very hardline form of Christianity that puts the non-believers into the 'evil' category straight away. Eric didn't meet the requirements of being on the side of 'God', according to the largest part of the community, so he was automatically counted/pushed into the category of people that needed saving. I don't think he (or Dylan!) took well to that. Eric had always saved himself, hadn't he? He'd saved himself and other kids from the clear-defined evil that plagued their childhood battles. He'd been the hero in his own stories for so long. And, suddenly, he wasn't a hero anymore.. He was anathema to the very people he wanted to connect with and form a united front with.

You know, I think that his definitions of good and evil became warped over time. There's a very murky moral ground in the whole debate of what constitutes good and what creates evil anyway, and with a guy like Eric whose previous clearly defined lines were trodden on by a community who didn't even try to understand (and welcome?) him.. It's really no wonder that he adopted the position he did. Eric's continuous enraged stance against the ignorant masses, his frustration with hypocritical bullies whose might-makes-right philosophy influenced his experience of the system in a place of learning, his view on the 'zombies' constituting 99% of mankind that became the new archetypical bogeyman to actively exterminate, and his experiences with uprootment/attachment/rejection issues all helped create a new vision of himself as the good man going to war. I don't think that he ever considered himself to be evil. I think he believed he was acting out of necessity. He was bringing ignorant man to a state of consciousness. He was going to show them all how very wrong they were. He was going to take out that new archetype of 'evil' by using the same weaponry he had possessed as a child: the only difference is that, this time, his weaponry was real. He yearned for the simplicity of childhood to the point where he actively pursued a way to bring society back to the defined categories he grew up believing in. And, it must be added, he pursued this in a way that made him the god of the story: he decided the characteristics of his enemy as much as he decided his own role as the hero of the tale. It is one of the highest forms of self-definition, but it is also one that dangerously blurs the lines between fiction and reality. When I say that I believe Eric never really grew up, I mean every single word of it.

Quote :
What's the difference between a school shooter and a school bomber? I'll tell you what: NOTHING. They both have exactly the same motive -to get as many of their schoolmates dead as possible.
The motive is the same overall, agreed, but there is a small difference to think about nonetheless. The school shooter is far more personal in his actions. More often than not, he has targets and a clear outline of the path to take inside the school. A school bomber is indiscriminate. A failed school bomber turned school shooter, then, will retain the indiscriminate quality of the kill signified in the bombing but will be far more scattered in the approach to the shooting than the ordinary school shooter would be. It is quite significant that Columbine is a failed bombing. If it had been intended as a shooting in the first place, the victim count would most likely have been a lot higher and the actions/paths of the boys that day totally different from the ones we can see now.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Sun Aug 11, 2013 10:44 am

InFiNiNcEX5 wrote:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
InFiNiNcEX5 wrote:
I recall his son was part of the group that did video production and SFX of blowing up Columbine HS  a few years prior.  When Fuselier was questioned about it, he refused to answer and changed the subject.
Meaning?

I would be pretty pissed off too as a father if you were trying to imply that my son, that didn't murder anyone and had nothing to do with the shooting, was involved in the plot to bomb and then shoot students at his high school. From what I remember reading the video was mostly tongue and cheek. They were actually trying to save the school from a mad scientist and at the last moment decided to blow it up..... with a laser beam that was fired out of an empty milk carton.
It was one big witch hunt after Columbine. Quite a few people were pissed off as suspicions were cast upon many right and left - specifically students that had some link to E & D.  They, too, were suffering as a result of Columbine -  but oh no, let's cast them out and kick them out of school because they are linked to TCM 'Monsters'.  So, it doesn't surprise me if investigators were trying to suss out Fuselier's son regarding the nature of the vid production project he worked on.  The thing is, why did Fuselier side step it and refuse to discuss and clear it all up by relaying the type of harmless project it was (per your description above)?   They were trying to make sure Fuselier was not connected to the criminals via his son.  He should have just been up front.  Anyway, that was what I read and that was what was implied in what I read.  *shrugs*  Take away from it what you will - or not.
Why should he have to defend his son? He was never arrested for anything. There was never any evidence linking him to the crime.


[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


By the way, it looks like Dwayne Fuselier never sidestepped the question. And I was wrong about the laser beam milk carton. What a shame, cause that sounded funny as hell to me.

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Mon Aug 12, 2013 12:11 am

thedragonrampant wrote:
Very, very common. More so in boys than in girls, I think, but I do remember that I played in epic explosive battles with my very girly friends when I was younger as well. :)My work experience with kids (I studied childcare and such) also leads me to believe that the whole interest in things going boom/whoosh/ratatata is just a very common thing. Kids love to feel like the hero in a huge story. Some of them include dinosaurs, spaceships, monstrous enemies, etc.. It's all a part of growing up! Having that imagination run wild and experimenting with fire and such are pretty normal things, in my opinion. The kids I worked with played wargames and ran around shooting and throwing explosions and gods know what else.. and I can't say that they were the worse for it, really. I think it offered them an escape from the expectations everyday life lay on them. There are no blurred lines in an epic fight with Zooth the Warlord or Grrarrhh the Monster. ;)
Maybe a bit off topic, but: I love watching children's games! My middle son is obsessed with guns and being a soldier. My older daughter has a Princess obsession. At first it looks like my son is more violent than my daughter. But my daughter's princess is always heavily armed with epic magic powers (so she can fight the forces of evil Very Happy) and she's also in a position of great power (she rules the world). Remember that old Tears For Fears song "Everybody wants to rule the world"? That definitely applies to my daughter. She plays WarCraft, and it's cute to watch her pretend she's a princess, sending out all the troops to go to war for her...

thedragonrampant wrote:
It's an interesting thing to look into, because I think this speaks volumes about Eric himself. A lot of kids grow up with the stories of good vs evil. In early childhood, good and evil are very clearly defined. You can see this clear divide in fairytales, but also in other children's books and shows/movies. The wicked are always very very wicked, with cackling laughter and nightmarish threats, and the good are always very very good with swords in hand spreading happiness across the land. As they grow up, the lines between good and wicked become blurred. People they have seen as good throughout their childhood years (parents, teachers, etc) may do or say something that doesn't compute with what children have been taught is 'good'. Their classmates/playmates who used to be 'on their side' fighting the archetypical bogeyman now make mean comments, or ignore them, or do something really bad, or no longer want to be friends with them and be 'on their side'. It is a very confusing stage in a child's development to come to terms with the fact that this world isn't exactly black and white. All of the stories provide a safety zone: good is good, bad is bad. They have clear rules. They have clear visions and clear patterns. You can see this in computer games, but also in works of fiction and in movies and such. I think a lot of children and teenagers purposefully return to these stories as a coping mechanism for the confusing mess they're in every day of their waking lives. They need that stability from their childhood in order to be able to deal with life.
I might be wrong, but I've noticed less Good vs. Evil in the children's TV shows and movies these days. Many of my kids favorite movies (Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away, Toy Story series) have much less focus on fighting evil and more focus on the good guys having an adventure. There are villains in these movies, but the movie doesn't culminate in one big epic battle of Good vs. Evil, like the movies of my childhood always did.

I attribute this directly to the decline in Fundamentalist Christianity that started in the early 00s. Kids are no longer being taught to fear Satan, so they no longer feel the need to kill him in their movies.

thedragonrampant wrote:
The ultra-conservative religious side of the community in Littleton may have shaped this even more. The stories from the community suggest that there was a very clear division between good and evil, but that this division was coloured through the lens of a very hardline form of Christianity that puts the non-believers into the 'evil' category straight away. Eric didn't meet the requirements of being on the side of 'God', according to the largest part of the community, so he was automatically counted/pushed into the category of people that needed saving. I don't think he (or Dylan!) took well to that. Eric had always saved himself, hadn't he? He'd saved himself and other kids from the clear-defined evil that plagued their childhood battles. He'd been the hero in his own stories for so long. And, suddenly, he wasn't a hero anymore.. He was anathema to the very people he wanted to connect with and form a united front with.
The part where you said, about Eric, "He'd been the hero in his own stories for so long". Yes! Take a look at that "Marine" story he wrote. He's the hero, saving the world. But in the real world of Littleton, he realizes that his community doesn't want his protection. Eric's willing to fight for his country... but his country doesn't want his services. They reject him. He's not good enough to protect them.

I might be reading too much into this, but in his Marine story, Eric gives up. He's exhausted. He's just going to lie down and not care anymore... No more trying to protect people.

I really think Eric had a strong desire to protect others. And maybe since humans didn't want his protection, he turned to protecting the planet -by wiping out the human race?

I think Eric wanted to fight for something, and when he couldn't fight for Good (because the Good Guys turned out to be mean bastards), he decided to fight for Evil. I think that's significant, because once a person identifies with the "Evil" side, then they no longer have to concern themselves with morality. It becomes "Yep. I'm going to kill people. So what? Like you all said, I'm Evil. What else do you expect from me?"

thedragonrampant wrote:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
What's the difference between a school shooter and a school bomber? I'll tell you what: NOTHING. They both have exactly the same motive -to get as many of their schoolmates dead as possible.
The motive is the same overall, agreed, but there is a small difference to think about nonetheless. The school shooter is far more personal in his actions. More often than not, he has targets and a clear outline of the path to take inside the school. A school bomber is indiscriminate. A failed school bomber turned school shooter, then, will retain the indiscriminate quality of the kill signified in the bombing but will be far more scattered in the approach to the shooting than the ordinary school shooter would be. It is quite significant that Columbine is a failed bombing. If it had been intended as a shooting in the first place, the victim count would most likely have been a lot higher and the actions/paths of the boys that day totally different from the ones we can see now.
I can understand what you're saying, that a shooting is more up close and personal than a bombing, but E/D's attack still contained a shooting -the bombing was only the opening act. E/D never planned to just plant a bomb and walk away.

If you gave a working bomb to any of the recent school shooters, I'm certain they would have used it in their attack. I think most school shooters are really school attackers -they'll use whatever weapon that works. As someone else on the board said -Whatever gets 'em dead.

If you gave E/D a canister of Sarin Gas, I'm certain they would have used that in their attack too. And so would have both Cho and Lanza.

Cullen wants E/D classified as terrorists rather than school shooters. But I think it's significant that they attacked their school, and it doesn't matter how they planned to attack it.

Cullen says E/D are terrorists because they would have attacked ANY target, not just their school. But I think most other school shooters are the same -if they couldn't get to their school, they'd gladly shoot up a mall instead. Imagine if VTech had closed down a month before Cho had committed his attack? I'm certain he would have just attacked somewhere else.

Sorry if that all sounds like a big mess... I'm really tired right now Sleep 

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:24 am

@Lifetime wrote:


http://extras.denverpost.com/news/shot0513b.htm

By the way, it looks like Dwayne Fuselier never sidestepped the question. And I was wrong about the laser beam milk carton. What a shame, cause that sounded funny as hell to me.
Thanks for the article.  Based on everything I've read, and given that the article is dated a month after, it appears as though Fuelier did some 'splain and a bit of back pedaling ("it was a terrible irony") to assuage the media.  The mere mention of trench coats connected with any teen at that school was an automatic red flag.  Interesting reading the content of Scott's video. CHS students had quite the artistic license with vid production.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:26 am

@StinkyOldGrapes wrote:
Maybe a bit off topic, but: I love watching children's games! My middle son is obsessed with guns and being a soldier. My older daughter has a Princess obsession. At first it looks like my son is more violent than my daughter. But my daughter's princess is always heavily armed with epic magic powers (so she can fight the forces of evil Very Happy) and she's also in a position of great power (she rules the world). Remember that old Tears For Fears song "Everybody wants to rule the world"? That definitely applies to my daughter. She plays WarCraft, and it's cute to watch her pretend she's a princess, sending out all the troops to go to war for her...
I love observing this, too. In my job, I often let the kids play among themselves for a while and just observed what they came up with in their games. You can tell a lot from the way that they act among each other and the type of stories they come up with. There's a certain sense of fearlessness and empowerment in most of these games that speaks volumes about the way a child will handle other things.

Quote :
I might be wrong, but I've noticed less Good vs. Evil in the children's TV shows and movies these days. Many of my kids favorite movies (Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away, Toy Story series) have much less focus on fighting evil and more focus on the good guys having an adventure. There are villains in these movies, but the movie doesn't culminate in one big epic battle of Good vs. Evil, like the movies of my childhood always did.

I attribute this directly to the decline in Fundamentalist Christianity that started in the early 00s. Kids are no longer being taught to fear Satan, so they no longer feel the need to kill him in their movies.
Disney still retains the good vs evil, but Pixar doesn't. Some blockbusters inevitably keep the good vs evil thing as well, such as the superhero movies that're running rampant lately, but there is also more space for stories that are just about little things in life or about adventures or something else entirely. Smile It's interesting that you link this to a decline in fundamentalist Christianity. The whole 'fear of Satan' thing never really took off where I live, so I don't know how much this influences pop culture overall. I think there are archetypes in these stories, though, that have possibly been around longer than Christianity itself. Myths from around the world carry these archetypes inside them. (Actually, Jung's work on archetypes and symbols from the subconscious is fantastic in relation to this. Definitely worth looking into.)

Quote :
The part where you said, about Eric, "He'd been the hero in his own stories for so long". Yes! Take a look at that "Marine" story he wrote. He's the hero, saving the world. But in the real world of Littleton, he realizes that his community doesn't want his protection. Eric's willing to fight for his country... but his country doesn't want his services. They reject him. He's not good enough to protect them.

I might be reading too much into this, but in his Marine story, Eric gives up. He's exhausted. He's just going to lie down and not care anymore... No more trying to protect people.
If you're reading too much into it, so am I. ;) (And, I think, Krabbé as well.. I seem to recall that he mentioned this story somewhere in the book in the same way we're interpreting it now.) This story about the Marines is one of the things that makes me very sure of my argument about his wanting to be the hero and his shifting patterns/loyalties in retaining the security of his childhood. His giving up is very significant in this light. No more being the hero. No more attempts to save the world. He's done -- well and truly done with the role he's tried to play for so long.

Quote :
I really think Eric had a strong desire to protect others. And maybe since humans didn't want his protection, he turned to protecting the planet -by wiping out the human race?
Yes! That's exactly my line of thought. But there's also something else: Eric wants to matter. He wants to matter to this world and the people in this world. He wants to be the hero not just because he wants to protect and save, but also because it draws the attention and approval he craves. (You have to look no further than his inability to take rejection in order to support this claim, really..) Thing is that he doesn't matter to that many people. He certainly doesn't impact this world with his existence. I honestly think that his final actions are informed thusly: his desire to protect this planet by wiping out those undeserving of its wonders, his need to matter that allows him to leave a lasting footprint on existence, and his eventual tiredness and isolation that allows him to curl up and give up.

Quote :
I think Eric wanted to fight for something, and when he couldn't fight for Good (because the Good Guys turned out to be mean bastards), he decided to fight for Evil. I think that's significant, because once a person identifies with the "Evil" side, then they no longer have to concern themselves with morality. It becomes "Yep. I'm going to kill people. So what? Like you all said, I'm Evil. What else do you expect from me?"
Definitely can find some agreement in this reasoning. I'm still not sure if he ever consciously placed himself on 'the evil side', though. I think Eric's loyalties in this regard were shifting, certainly, in a way that allowed him to think that he needn't concern himself with the morality of his actions. I'm pretty sure that he could've seen the Good Guys as Evil (they are the ones fucking this world up, they reject my contributions and my self, they deserve to be wiped out because they're all ignorant fools) and his own actions as Good. Eric found a new cause to fight for in the end of his days, namely the protection of the planet, that would allow him to think of himself as working as an agent for the True Good instead of the Deceptive Good that he saw everywhere around him. Or am I needlessly complicating this matter further by reading more into his reasoning than the boy himself ever possessed? (I'm still actively exploring Eric's side of things, so I go a little overboard in my thinking from time to time. Laughing )

Quote :
I can understand what you're saying, that a shooting is more up close and personal than a bombing, but E/D's attack still contained a shooting -the bombing was only the opening act. E/D never planned to just plant a bomb and walk away.
(...)
Cullen wants E/D classified as terrorists rather than school shooters. But I think it's significant that they attacked their school, and it doesn't matter how they planned to attack it.
It still allows for a more indiscriminate attack than most school shootings, although I don't doubt for a second that a fair few school shooters would welcome the additional damage of a bomb. (I don't know if they all would, though. Some of the shootings read to me as pretty personal that may make the inclusion of a bomb 'overkill' in the worst sense of the word.)

I think that the target location is very significant as well, yes. The fact that this was their final target speaks volumes, especially seeing as they didn't have an escape plan that would allow them to move on from this location to wreak further havoc elsewhere. Columbine was the only final target. I think it is very significant that this was the location of choice -- a personal one at that.


Moving on to chapters 26-30.. Chapter 30 made everything so much worse. Rolling Eyes 

Chapter Twenty-Six

  • I cannot imagine what Dave Sanders’s family must have gone through hearing that he was still alive for hours after he’d been shot. He could’ve been saved. I can’t imagine the anger of his daughters. I can’t imagine what it must have cost them emotionally to keep shielding their mother from everything while pouring over any and all information about their father’s death.

  • Dave Sanders was en route to safety when the first bullet hit him. He was still trying to direct students away from the killers. Rich Long and a group of students he tried to evacuate arrived in the science wing just in time to see Mr Sanders get shot. Most of them dove to the floor straight away. Mr Sanders was desperate to get them out of there. One witness says that he was “on his elbows trying to direct kids”. They managed to scramble around a corner out of the line of fire, after which they dragged Mr Sanders to science room 3.

  • Rich Long went back out there to try and get some immediate help for Mr Sanders, who wasn’t doing very well. Eric and Dylan, however, were getting closer to his location. He finally had to duck back inside to take cover.

    Kent Friesen, another teacher on the scene with Mr Sanders, went for immediate assistance. He rushed to a nearby lab to ask the students there if anyone knew first aid. A junior called Aaron Hancey stepped up. Just as they wanted to leave, all hell broke loose in the hallway. Aaron later described it as “you could feel the walls move with each blast”. Friesen, however, checked for shooters and bolted down the corridor the moment the coast was clear. Aaron followed.

  • Aaron improvised. He tended to Mr Sanders’s wounds best he could with the assistance of a few other students. They were consistently applying pressure to his wounds and improvising first aid with everything they had available to them.

  • From this science room, you could apparently hear what was going on in the library. Screams filtered down the hall. One student would describe it later as “screams like when people are being tortured”. Another student said that it sounded like they were carrying out executions. “You would hear a shot. Then there would be quiet. Then another shot. Bam. Bam. Bam.”

    The screaming and gunfire stopped. More explosions followed the silence after. The fire alarm began blaring. They couldn’t hear much over the alarm, although they could still hear helicopters outside.They turned on the TV, but didn’t get a lot of information from that.

  • Aaron called his dad, who in turn called 911 on another line so that paramedics would be able to give Aaron instructions. Several other people in the room called law enforcement. They had a constant running line of connection to the outside world throughout the entire ordeal.

  • Law enforcement first heard about Mr Sanders’s condition at 11:45. Dispatchers told them that help would be on the way in “ten minutes”. The assurances were repeated for over THREE HOURS. Three hours. I just.. I can’t, okay? This is one of the parts that makes me so, so sad.

  • The 911 operator instructed them to tie a piece of red cloth to the doorknob so that SWAT would have a way to identify the room. There was a lot of dissent about that. Wouldn’t this also attract the killers? In the end, though, they decided to obey. They also created a sign that said “1 bleeding to death” and put it up at the window, just to be sure.

  • The students working on Mr Sanders could feel him slip away slowly. He was growing colder and his skin was taking on a blueish hue. They pulled safety blankets from a closet to keep him warm. They asked him about coaching, teaching, and his family to keep him engaged and stave off shock. They talked about his daughters and his grandchildren. The students were growing desperate, because none of them knew how to treat gunshot wounds.

    Eventually, they lost the struggle to keep Mr Sanders conscious. He knew he wasn’t going to make it. He asked them to “tell my girls I love them”. He was still breathing for some time after that, but would not regain consciousness.

    I can’t imagine what a traumatising experience this must have been for everyone working to keep Mr Sanders alive and safe. I can’t even find enough words that explain how upset I am about this chain of events.

  • It was relatively calm for a while. None of the explosions sounded close anymore now. Some of the kids gave up on law enforcement. Around 2pm, they threatened to throw a chair through the window in order to get Mr Sanders out themselves. They were advised against this because it might attract the attention of the killers.

  • At 2:38, the TV caught their attention. They saw Patrick Ireland tumble out of the library window. It was the first time the kids knew that Mr Sanders was not an isolated case. They had assumed it was bad out there, but now they had proof. Some said goodbye to their loved ones in their minds.

    A few minutes later, screams erupted from the next room. The door burst open in science room 3 and men dressed in black rushed in. They had guns and were waving them at the students while shouting fiercely. Many students thought that they were going to die. Then, some of the invaders turned to show the students what was written on their backs: SWAT. SWAT ordered everyone to follow them out. Aaron and some other students refused to leave Mr Sanders. They wanted to stay or to create a makeshift stretcher on which they could transport Mr Sanders. SWAT said no. Two members of SWAT stayed with Mr Sanders. A third called for help and got a medic to join the team in science room 3. By that time, however, Mr Sanders had stopped breathing.

    The medic stayed for about fifteen minutes even though he knew there was nothing he could do. Then, he was asked to keep moving. This medic was one of the first medics to enter the library.

  • The students were evacuated before Mr Sanders died. SWAT escorted the students through the commons. They warned them to not touch anything. Once outside, the kids were forced to run past two dead bodies. Some stopped in their tracks at the sight. SWAT yelled at them to keep moving.

  • Dave Sanders’s story got out fast. The media honed in on what they perceived to be a faulty response from law enforcement. Initial comments from law enforcement stated that a team had entered the building within the first twenty minutes and that teams were doing a room-by-room search within the first hour. Later, the department would admit that it took 47 minutes for the first team to enter. A second team entered after nearly 2 hours.

    This really drives home two points: law enforcement was not prepared for anything like this and law enforcement made some wrong choices here that might’ve led to a different outcome for at least some of the affected.

  • One veteran cop summed it up very nicely when he described SWAT response as “pathetic”. He said that they were trained to go in there. This statement was widely reported in the days following. His department foolishly extended the story by putting this cop on nondisciplinary leave and ordering a ‘fitness for duty’-evaluation for him. They backpedaled a few days later.

  • Officers on the scene, however, later described the situation within the school as ‘a nightmare’. Outside, they could hear the blasts. Inside, the fire alarm blared so loudly that they were unable to communicate through anything other than hand signals. They could not locate anyone with the alarm code to shut it down. In desperation, they tried to beat the speakers off the walls. They attempted to disable the control panel. The alarm and sprinklers would keep going until 4:04pm. The strobe light that flashed alongside the alarm would keep going for weeks. This barrage of noise and lights beat down on the psyches of the officers responding.

  • Dave Sanders’s family acknowledged these were legitimate obstacles. They did not hold the SWAT team personally responsible for the death of their loved one. They did, however, say that the system itself was a disaster. They would later invite all SWAT officers to Dave Sanders’s funeral. All of them attended.


Chapter Twenty-Seven

  • I’m back with Eric and everything is fantastic in the land of Twilight and unicorns.

  • Eric shopped at Hot Topic? I don’t know why this is so hilarious to me right now, but it is and it’s beautiful.

  • Okay, I agree that changes began to show in Eric during sophomore year. By all accounts, he grew a little more outspoken and broke out of his shell just a bit. However, Dave, this still doesn’t mean that he “always made friends” (he did for a short space of time and then had it backfire) or that he “began expressing his ideas with confidence”. Anyone who’s seen the video of him in Columbine will agree that that’s not really the behaviour of a confident and popular young man.

  • I want to burst into tears of joy at Dave’s choice of words for Eric. He really does his best to make Eric sound likeable one minute and awful the next. This time, it’s the phrase “such a freaking runt” in connection with what Dave believes is Eric’s opinion of himself that has me giggling to myself for some time.

  • Well, what do you know, Dave’s not glossing over Dylan’s weird outbursts. However. Then we get to the stage where Dave describes Dylan as “following Eric’s fashion lead, but a less intense version”. EXCUSE YOU. Who was running around with a duster and round sunglasses and a baseball cap and an earring, Dave? Say it after me: D-Y-L-A-N. I think Eric dressed a little more normally than that outside of his bandshirts, to be perfectly honest with you..

  • “Eric and Dylan had very active social calendars, and far more friends than the average adolescent.” I’m not sure I agree on this. Dylan, sure, he had a lot of friends he hung out with. Eric, though? Eric poisoned almost all his friendships.

    "They fit in with a whole thriving subculture." Actually, Dave, most of the people associated with that subculture vaguely knew Eric and Dylan but weren’t friends with them. The boys were on the fringes of the group.

  • The creation of the TCM is described. Nothing new in that part. Dave actually takes the time to acknowledge that Eric and Dylan didn’t have an intense association with the group.


Chapter Twenty-Eight

  • I have just realised that I’m a little more than halfway through the book. I’m so excited! I can’t wait to be done with this brand of crazy.

  • Dave, if you can disprove this theory of Columbine being created by two outcast goths targeting jocks to settle a long-running feud so successfully.. why is it so damn hard for you to take one step away from the “Eric Harris is God and all shall love him and despair”-scenario for one second? I’m so annoyed with you for this.

  • Media defenders blame the chaos that followed the massacre as a reason why so many myths concerning the TCM and the motivations for the massacre still persist today. However, Rocky Mountain News published a summary on Tuesday afternoon (before the bodies of the boys were found!) that nailed the details and the big picture: two ruthless killers picking off people indiscriminately. It was the first story to get the essence of the attack right, but it would be one of the last!

  • One hour into the attack, they knew they were dealing with two or more gunmen. Two hours in, they were blaming the TCM. It seemed like a tidy fit because the media mentioned the trenchcoats the killers were dressed in. Yet, most students had no idea who’d attacked them. Only a handful drew the link to the TCM after the news reports, after which the idea spread. Soon, every kid down in Clement Park was repeating the membership of TCM as a fact about the killers. They weren’t making it up. They were merely repeating information.

  • The target myth, about the killers targeting jocks, is the most insidious. Most people today still believe that this is what Columbine was about: an act of retribution. When Bree Pasquale, who’d been present in the library, made her statement in the media, she described what were in essence indiscriminate and random kills. Her words, spoken under extreme trauma and duress, would give the media cause to believe they had pinned down the motives for the massacre: bullying and racism are easier to explain than any other reason why. (Bree Pasquale stated: “They were shooting anyone of color, wearing a white hat, or playing a sport. And they didn’t care who it was and it was all at close range. Everyone around me got shot. And I begged him for ten minutes not to shoot me.” If everyone was being shot at random, then there were no targets. Media, however, honed in on the first part of her statement. That’s the statement that spread to form general consensus.)

  • Police detectives rejected the target myth almost instantly. They relied on their traumatised witnesses to provide them with observations. Nowhere in their investigation would they ask a witness to draw a conclusion from what they had observed.

  • Some witnesses began to develop early stages of PTSD. It was not really a matter of who had been closest to the violence of the experience. Some who’d been in the library that day would turn out to be ‘fine’ years later, whereas others further removed from that chain of events would develop symptoms from PTSD.

    Others, more commonly, responded with something known as survivor’s guilt. The waiting rooms in hospitals were packed with students just feeling they needed to be there for the survivors. Every seat in every room was taken. Most students waited out in the hallways. Patrick Ireland’s mom would describe it as “this was part of their healing”.

  • Patrick’s situation was so severe in those first few days. Doctors advised his parents to keep expectations low. What they saw in the first few days was what his prognosis for the rest of his life would be. They saw a paralysed boy struggling to speak what sounded like gibberish. They chose not to operate on his broken right foot, but merely put a brace around it. They told his parents he would never use that foot again, so there were more pressing concerns to attend.

    Patrick was unaware of the prognosis. He assumed he would recover completely.

  • Patrick’s friend Makai was released from the hospital on Friday. It turned out he’d known Dylan. He would describe him as “a decent, real smart guy”. Makai stated that he believed Dylan was not the kind of person he’s being portrayed as. (This is what gets to me about this book so much. Dave, too, falls into the pitfall of seeing Dylan as that really nice guy who’d help you out with anything. Everybody saw it coming with Eric. Everybody expected Eric to be the one to snap. But when Dylan snapped.. there was surprise. There still is surprise and a tendency to gloss over Dylan’s part in the entirety of the planning and massacre. Dylan is not held accountable for his actions as much as Eric is. Dylan’s the nice, sweet, goofy kid. Eric’s the timebomb. It makes me SO mad.)

  • Patrick actually made improvements with his speech in the first week. That makes me really happy for him and his family. Once he’d settled into a room outside of ICU, his parents asked him if he remembered going out the library window. They had to know if Patrick knew why he was there. “Well yeah!” he stammered. He didn’t get it. Had they just figured that out now? His parents later described the look on his face as incredulous.

    A neurologist from another hospital came to see Patrick. The first thing he said after assessing the patient in front of him was “there is hope”. They made arrangements to transfer Patrick to this other hospital.

  • Much of the anger that arose in the days after the massacre was directed at the outcasts of the school. Several jocks reported that the killers and their friends were “gay” and that they’d seen them “touching” in the hallways. Most of the students saw through these rumours. They were disgusted at the jocks for defaming the killers the way they had back when they were still alive. This story never took full hold in the media.

    It was different, however, with the goths. Some of the most awful attacks were reserved for this subculture. The problem with the media reports was, however, that the goth subculture is generally seen as meek and pacifistic. They had never been associated so clearly with violence and murder. USA Today was one of the few who got it right and defended the position of the subculture.

  • The more animosity reporters uncovered, the deeper they dived into the stories. What was it like, being an outcast at Columbine? Most kids admitted this was pretty hard. Almost everyone speaking in Clement Park had some sort of brutal experience to share. Quickly, the motive became just this: bullying. The details reported in the media were accurate. The conclusion drawn from them was not.

  • There is considerable evidence that bullying was a problem at Columbine. Mr D insisted he was unaware that it had gone on at all. Can we talk about this for a minute? How can one principal who claims to have been so involved in the lives of his students not notice what would’ve been right in front of him? Are you serious? Mr D, you were a sympathetic character before. Now, I give up on you.

    Mr D believed strongly in the rules and in that his staff would uphold them. His rapport with the kids was also a blind spot: turn on your smile for Mr D and drop it as soon as he’s out of the picture. That makes sense. Mr D is said to be a very sincere man, but also inclined to want to see happy and energetic faces looking right back at him. There was no place for anyone falling out of that line.

    However, this does lead me to wonder. I could very well assume that Mr D was played by his students in terms of what school climate was like. But would the same be true for every member of his staff? How can you not notice an entire group of students being unhappy with the way this school is run?


Chapter Twenty-Nine

  • Okay. Can we stop this for just one minute? Dave, I have a question. Again. How do you know that Eric already entertained elaborate and active fantasies of extinction and murder back in his sophomore year? We certainly don’t have much of his own account to go on. Your desperation to connect those awfully comical ‘rebel missions’ to his later massacre-minded persona is laughable, Dave. The rebel missions were those little vandalising escapades. Putting superglue on someone’s locks isn’t my idea of a future killer masterminding his plan to bring the human race to extinction. (Unless, of course, death by glue. I’m pretty sure that never even crossed his mind.) The only concern I have about the rebel missions is the already present use of explosives. That’s the only precursor to later events.

    Eric never grew up. *facepalms* Those rebel missions read as a little kid playing tug-of-war or something. He was on an adventure. He was doing military-style missions and making stuff go boom and all. I don’t think he was actively working on anything more than that at that stage.

  • At the same time, Eric wrote a book report on Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven. Eric took the fable about the idiot savant Tularecito, with whom he undoubtedly identified to a degree, and argued that society needed to treat gifted people better and teach them how to control their anger. Eric argued that gifted misfits could be taught the ways of society through love and care. It is the part of teaching them to control their anger that really drives the point home: Eric was already becoming aware of his need to learn to reign in his rage, but didn’t have a safe environment around him that taught him how.

  • Ahh, the famous snowball/windshield incident with Brooks. Brooks really spilled every single ounce of dirt he had on Eric to Eric’s mom, didn’t he? He told her about the rebel missions, about the liquor in Eric’s room, just about everything.. and then tore out of the home before Eric got back. (I can see why those two didn’t get along. If someone tattled on me that way after a fight, I would be pissed too.) Then Brooks’s mom gets involved and Eric’s famously described as a wild animal screaming ferociously. (Dave, why must you again paint Dylan as the good guy? Dylan’s temper wasn’t ‘show’. It wasn’t just Eric who looked like he meant it. Give it a rest.)

    Eric’s mom really felt bad about this.. I feel sorry for her. She wanted to open up a dialogue with the Brown family. Eric’s dad did not. When he came home, he’d “thrown the fear of God into Eric”. Eric lied about the stash of liquor and told his dad he was scared of Brooks’s mom. (I would’ve loved to be a fly on the wall in that conversation.) His dad thought it made sense. Eric’s dad was already hard enough on his sons without outsiders telling him how to raise his kids. In the end, though, Eric’s dad did communicate with Brooks’s mom. He jotted the summary down on a piece of paper.

    Eric was found guilty of aggression, disrespect, property damage, and idle threats of physical harm. His dad, however, also felt the Browns were overreacting. Eric made a threat against Brooks the next day. Police got involved. Eric’s dad drove him over to Brooks’s house to apologise.

    It must’ve been such a surprise for Eric to learn that he could not fool Brooks’s mom with his apology.

  • The Browns kept calling the cops on Eric. Eric’s dad didn’t appreciate that part. He didn’t want one family to ruin Eric’s future. He bought into his son’s version of events for the most part. He viewed Brooks as a manipulative con artist. His family wasn’t a whole lot better. His dad ended up stating that Eric was not at fault. Eric played dumb throughout the further accusations. By this time, however, he was already posting about Brooks on his website. This is where I feel that Eric is right about being ‘a good liar’. He was clever enough to act just dumb enough to make his dad believe that he was not fully at fault. I don’t think that his dad was the type of person you could just fool so easily. Many kids that age will lie about stuff like this. Not all of them are that successful at it.


Chapter Thirty

  • JeffCo has a problem. A glorious problem that I like to call: what’re you gonna do about those prior records? They discovered they had files on the boys before they found them dead in the library. They had twelve pages of hate-filled stuff from Eric’s website. That material had come from the Browns. They would quote the site repeatedly in the search warrants issued on 4/20, but would later deny ever seeing it. They would spend years repeating these denials. The Browns had contacted the department about Eric some fifteen times. JeffCo would insist for years that they had never met with an investigator, even though there was proof they had.

  • There was a problem in this that was bigger than the Browns realised. Thirteen months prior to the massacre, officers had investigated one of their complaints. They found substantial evidence that Eric was creating pipebombs. One of them, called Guerra, had considered it serious enough for a search warrant. The warrant was somehow never taken before a judge, even though his explanation for the warrant was convincing.

    They held the subsequent meeting about what to do about this information secret for about five years. Guerra would later on describe it as “one of those cover-your-ass meetings”. They boldly lied in those five years, including in the press conferences about Columbine, about their prior knowledge of the bombs and the website.

    JeffCo, I don’t even have the energy to be disappointed in you anymore. I really don’t. How one police force can be so incompetent is beyond my comprehension.

  • Kate Battan took control of the case after a week. She called everyone involved in the witness interviews and the rest of the case in for a debriefing. At the end of this, there were still questions. How had they gotten the guns? How had they gotten the bombs into the school? Who had conspired to help them?

    hey cracked down on Chris Morris. Chris led them to Duran and tried to get a confession out of Duran. He failed. He did get another detail from Duran: Rampart Range. Duran later told an officer everything he knew. He led them to Mark Manes. Manes made a full confession as soon as they’d hauled him in for questioning.

  • Fuselier’s focus wasn’t immediately on motive. Curiosity, however, soon intruded. The question “why?” was too big to ignore. He began to carve out a little time every evening to assess the boys. He had people qualified to assemble the data, but nobody else to analyse it. (This is a problem. I’d expect more mental health professionals to be involved in the analysis of a case like this. One person’s conclusions may be wrong in parts. Bouncing ideas back and forth between one another is what creates an open view of the case and the killers involved in the case.)

  • After a week, he was introduced to the basement tapes and earlier footage of the boys. Some of it was tedious: cracking jokes with Chris Morris in his car, bickering over a drive-thru order, etc. Fuselier soaked up these ‘ordinary’ moments just as much. He’d need them to form an overall picture of the boys. He had not yet seen the basement tapes when the ‘big break’ came.

    He heard an officer quote a phrase from Eric’s writings. It was from his journal. Fuselier read the first sentence. “I hate the fucking world.” He later said that was the moment when he zoned out and let everything else fade into the background. He claimed it was mesmerising.

    Fuselier could not stop reading Eric’s journal. "Holy shit, Fuselier thought. He’s telling us why he did it."

  • I don’t think you realise how upset I am right now. Dave literally writes “Eric would prove the easier killer to understand”. I just.. I CANNOT. Fuselier played right into Eric’s hands. After reading this, he would never try to read between the lines again to find a deeper motive nor would he ever be able to grasp Eric’s character. Eric seems easier to understand at first, I agree, but he proves to be the more complex one of the two in the end. I am so, so upset. This is why they needed more than one mental health professional on this case. This is the reason why Dave’s work centres around Eric as the psychopath. Once you choose to see Eric solely in the light his journal casts on him, you’ll never be able to see that little kid scared of fireworks or that boy tired of moving around or that person who was desperate to connect but ended up driving almost everyone away because nobody had taught him control over his emotions and thoughts. You’ll never be able to see that scared and lonely kid. You’ll never be able to see that little boy who dreamed of being the only one on earth. The kid who fought the bogeyman and won every time. The kid who was funny, and smart, and sometimes a little shy. You’ll never be able to see that side of Eric. It’s a fucking shame. It’s a shame that someone who was meant to give the answer “why” ended up drawing exactly the conclusion Eric wanted them to draw. It’s a shame that this is the only thing everyone believes Eric Harris to be.

    Dave, shame on you for accepting the myth. You were sorely myth-taken.
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Jaan



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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:02 pm

Your last point is so true. Especially when Eric is writing about his childhood you can see the happy kid he used to be, and considerate too. There's one story in which he describes a bike journey with a friend and where his friend got hurt in a sewer pipe (correct me if I'm wrong) and Eric is almost flying to get help for his hurt friend (the usual psychopath reaction to things I guess). Also Susan's letter in Voices from Columbine convinces me that Eric as indeed much more complicated than Cullen's Eric.
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lasttrain
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Tue Aug 13, 2013 7:18 pm

thedragonrampant, it seems to me that your reading of the book is based on a misguided and overly emotional attempt to redeem Eric Harris.

What you don't seem to understand is that a psychiatric diagnosis (whether it is of depression, or psychopathy) does not preclude the individual in question from having other personality traits. Neither Hare, Fuselier, or Cullen claim that.
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areyoulistening



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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Tue Aug 13, 2013 8:06 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
thedragonrampant, it seems to me that your reading of the book is based on a misguided and overly emotional attempt to redeem Eric Harris.
I don't think that was the intention. The book is a very biased view on most of the events that happened and characteristics of both Eric and Dylan. I think that thedragonrampant was just highlighting most of the crap that is in the book.

To redeem him, maybe a little bit but doesn't the dude deserve to be shown from all angles and not just the "crazy psycho killer" that's presented in the book? I'm not saying to make him sound like an angel, he did kill people in cold blood, (I also think it's been enough time that people should stop writing books about it, they're famous enough as it is) but if you're going to report it, do it right. I think that's all thedragonrampant was trying to highlight.

I have a tendency to ramble, so if that makes sense, wonderful.

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StinkyOldGrapes



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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Tue Aug 13, 2013 10:18 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
thedragonrampant, it seems to me that your reading of the book is based on a misguided and overly emotional attempt to redeem Eric Harris.
"misguided and overly emotional"?

If you haven't done so, watch The Final Report: Columbine. Dave Cullen is interviewed. His animated ranting about Eric stops short only of jumping up and down on the spot. He is desperate to depict Eric as a psychopath.

Quote :
What you don't seem to understand is that a psychiatric diagnosis (whether it is of depression, or psychopathy) does not preclude the individual in question from having other personality traits.  Neither Hare, Fuselier, or Cullen claim that.
No. You're wrong.

Psychopathy is a serious diagnosis, and requires a severe lack of empathy. The only proven time that Eric displayed this lack of empathy was during the attack on Columbine.

Cullen and Fuselier make it absolutely clear that Eric was born a psychopath. Not only is there no evidence to support this, there is actually evidence to make make their conclusion unlikely.

Cullen and Fuselier say, "Psychopaths do not feel much, but when they lose patience with inferiors, they can really let it rip. It doesn't go any deeper. Even an earthworm will recoil if you poke it with a stick. A squirrel will exhibit frustration if you tease it by offering a peanut, then repeatedly snatching it back. Psychopaths make it that far up the emotional ladder, but they fall far short of the average golden retriever, which will demonstrate affection, joy, compassion, and empathy for a human in pain."

Despite your claims, lasttrain, both Cullen and Fuselier do claim that Eric lacked those other traits -affection, joy, compassion, and empathy. And this is simply untrue.

Killing in anger, lying to people you hate, and enjoying violence all have other possible explanations besides Psychopathy.

Fuselier and Cullen's post-mortem diagnosis of Psychopathy is extremely sloppy, and the only reason they get away with such behavior is because Eric Harris is a public enemy.

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:20 pm

@lasttrain wrote:
thedragonrampant, it seems to me that your reading of the book is based on a misguided and overly emotional attempt to redeem Eric Harris.
What you don't seem to understand is that a psychiatric diagnosis (whether it is of depression, or psychopathy) does not preclude the individual in question from having other personality traits. Neither Hare, Fuselier, or Cullen claim that.
As others before me have already stated (my thanks to you!), it is not my intention to redeem Eric Harris in any way. It was, however, fully my intent to highlight the problems that arise with the premise this book is founded upon. The diagnosis of psychopathy cannot be made post-mortem. It is a problematic diagnosis in and of itself (even the psychiatric world itself has not formed a consensus on it!) and there is quite a lot of evidence and information in the Columbine case to suggest that the diagnosis does not match Eric. StinkyOldGrapes has already mentioned the major problem I, too, have when it comes to diagnosing Eric Harris with psychopathy. (Jaan, too, provides a wonderful argument in favour of a non-psychopath diagnosis.) This particular psychiatric diagnosis is so pervasive that it leaves no room for very important character traits such as affection and empathy. The diagnosis can even be supported with brain scans showing a different structure in the psychopathic mind than in the 'normal' mind, which leads me to believe that psychopathy is a diagnosis that's already hardwired into the brain at birth. Other psychiatric diagnoses, such as depression, may be successfully treated to the point where their influence/impact is minimised to a level where they do not adversely affect the person suffering from them. Psychopathy seems to pose a bigger problem when it comes to this, because a part of the brain simply cannot form the 'wiring' required to be empathetic or affectionate or perhaps even truly joyful.

What I have attempted to do in the chapter-by-chapters is to show a different type of interpretation when it comes to Eric. I personally do not always agree with the findings of Fuselier and with the statements made by Dave Cullen. I believe that it is incredibly short-sighted to simply 'diagnose' him with psychopathy and have that be the sole underlying 'drive' for the events of 4/20/99. It is an easy way to understand the case, certainly, but whether it's the right one.. I remain wholly unconvinced. There are other explanations for Eric's behaviour/writings/etc that have a stronger evidence/information base to back them up with. I have touched upon some of these possibilities in this thread and elsewhere, too. And that is all they remain: possibilities. The best that I can do -- that anyone can do! -- is come up with possibilities and tentative conclusions based on what I personally read into the information and evidence available. Unless there is a mountain of evidence stashed away somewhere that I am not able to access, I remain convinced that Cullen's book suffers from heavy flaws. I have a problem with the fact that Cullen's book is so definitive, because the case in itself isn't so cut and dried. The book has a very strong bias based on the psychopath-follower theory that I have a hard time believing in. In a sense, I am playing the devil's advocate by showcasing a different viewpoint (my own) as criticism on the book. It is completely frustrating to me to realise that this is the version of Columbine that the majority of the public will get to see. I get emotional about this book because I believe that almost all of its chapters on the boys are based on a bunch of half-truths and faulty conclusions. If you taste not only the frustration but also other emotions in my writing, so be it.

I am usually among the first to call Eric Harris an obnoxious hypocritical brat who deserved a good kick in the teeth/punch in the throat. The dude was an asshole sometimes! I am not blind to his faults, of which there are many, and I will absolutely agree that he committed a very atrocious and hurtful act on the last day of his life. I am not condoning any of his acts, or pardoning him in any sense. Yet, 99% of the responsibility for Columbine is dumped upon Eric's shoulders by Dave Cullen and associates. I do not believe that is a fair divide. Dave and I see mostly eye-to-eye on Dylan overall, but I believe that Dylan's share in responsibility for the massacre is equal to Eric's and that the relationship between the boys was a lot more complicated than Dave states. Dylan cannot be excused for his behaviour and contribution to the case any more than Eric can. Am I misguided in saying that I see more and different things in Eric and Dylan than are stated in Cullen's book? Perhaps. Perhaps the boys are having a good laugh about it wherever they are now. Smile Yet, my possible misguidement does open up the floor to different interpretations that may sound a lot more solid than anything Dave Cullen has come up with over the years. I'll take my chances in the hope that people try to see beyond the commonly accepted theory on these kids. Doubt is important. Difference in opinion is even more so. Discussion and dialogue on the case helps form a well-rounded picture that may not be wholly consensual but yet is far more interesting than a biased piece of work.
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lasttrain
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:33 pm

I don't see Cullen in my edition saying that Eric was a psychopath from birth or was entirely psychopathic in all of his interactions. Nor do I see Hare, Fuselier, Cullen or anyone else claiming that psychopathy precludes all other affects in all situations.

In his very poignant account of Eric's childhood, Cullen describes "A sports enthusiast hanging out with minorities" (p. 112), who is "painfully shy," "timid but popular," (p. 113), "treasured his own tranquility" and "serenity" (p. 114) and "loved the water" (p. 115). He is not "thrilled with his looks" but "attended football games, , dances, and variety shows" and is a "big time fan" of sports (p. Cool. Cullen argues that "two months into high school" Eric begins "breaking through his shell" (p. 134) and while "Sophomore year, the changes began to show" (p. 146), even in the days before the massacre he is "nice" to Susan (p. 118) and shows other good traits, apologizing to the Black Jack crew and lamenting how much me will miss Bob, his boss (p. 332).

Of course, none of these things preclude psychopathy, not according to Hare, Fuselier, or anyone else.

"Researchers often compare psychopaths to robots or rogue computers...That's the closest approximation of their behavior, but the metaphor lacks nuance. Psychopaths feel something; Eric seemed to show sadness when his dog was sick, and he occasionally felt twinges of regret toward humans." (p. 242-243).

That sounds about right.
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Lifetime



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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Wed Aug 14, 2013 6:14 pm

Can you please direct me to the page in Dave Cullen's book where he excuses Dylan's action on April 20th? Come to think of it, has anyone of any level of importance excused him for what he did? No one was surprised when they found out Eric attacked his school, but when it came to Dylan, no one saw it coming. They never excused what he did, they just couldn't believe he did it.

You've spent all this time refuting the psychopathy label for Eric, fine he's not a psychopath, yet you've yet to tell us why acted out in the way he did. What was so wrong with Eric that he not only felt the need to kill, but actually did kill innocent teenagers hiding under table crying and begging for their mother's. What happened to the happy, smiling, sports playing, animal loving, crying over his friends, Eric that you know?

As far as I'm concerned, some people are defined by their actions in life. If people choose to ignore Eric's happy childhood and only focus on his actions on April 20th it's for a good reason. It's the point in his life that stands out the most, his biggest accomplishment. April 19th was the last we saw of normal Eric, on April 20th he chose to show us his other side, that of a cold blooded killer.

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StinkyOldGrapes



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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:14 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
I don't see Cullen in my edition saying that Eric was a psychopath from birth or was entirely psychopathic in all of his interactions. Nor do I see Hare, Fuselier, Cullen or anyone else claiming that psychopathy precludes all other affects in all situations.
What book are you reading? Because it sure ain't the copy I'm reading.

Cullen says, "Eric was neither normal nor insane. Psychopathy represents a third category. Psychopathic brains don't function like those in either of the other groups, but they are consistently similar to one another." And also, "His brain was never scanned, but it probably would have shown activity unrecognizable as human to most neurologists."

Cullen is very obviously stating that Eric was born the way he was. His brain works differently than normal people.

Cullen drives home this point by saying, "It also appears that even the best parenting may be no match for a child born to be bad."

Hare's example of a Psychopathic individual? "Most parents report having been aware of disturbing signs before the child entered kindergarten. Dr. Hare described a five-year old girl repeatedly attempting to flush her kitten down the toilet."

Cullen concludes, "Psychopaths are not individuals losing touch with those emotions [shame, fear, joy, love, empathy]. They never developed them from the start."

If you want to be pedantic about what Cullen writes, you could interpret that Eric was the rare exception to most Psychopaths and that his brain began to function "inhumanly" when he hit his teenage years. But that would require a cause of that change, which would basically be admitting that his experiences at school and in his community changed him.

Clearly though, that is not what Cullen and Fuselier believe. They very obviously believe that Eric was born a Psychopath.

There is a wealth of evidence, mostly from Eric's childhood, to discredit that.

Moving to the subject of, as you put it, "claiming that psychopathy precludes all other affects in all situations":

As I quoted before, Cullen says, "A squirrel will exhibit frustration if you tease it by offering a peanut, then repeatedly snatching it back. Psychopaths make it that far up the emotional ladder, but they fall far short of the average golden retriever, which will demonstrate affection, joy, compassion, and empathy for a human in pain."

Cullen is stating that Eric's emotions "fall short of the average golden retriever" and that he's unable to feel "affection, joy, compassion, and empathy for a human in pain".

A Psychopath, by definition, severely lacks emotion -once again, I quote, "Psychopaths are not individuals losing touch with those emotions. They never developed them from the start.". Eric, to me, is the opposite. He's extremely over-emotional.

It's not, as you put it, "misguided" to challenge Cullen and Fuselier's Psychopathy diagnosis. And by challenging this diagnosis, I'm not justifying Eric's behavior.

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StinkyOldGrapes



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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:40 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Can you please direct me to the page in Dave Cullen's book where he excuses Dylan's action on April 20th? Come to think of it, has anyone of any level of importance excused him for what he did? No one was surprised when they found out Eric attacked his school, but when it came to Dylan, no one saw it coming. They never excused what he did, they just couldn't believe he did it.
Cullen doesn't claim that Dylan's actions were justified, but he does go a long way towards excusing them. Cullen's book is filled with assertions like the one below:

I'm too lazy to go looking back through the actual books, but this is written by Cullen:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Cullen says, "Klebold was hurting inside while Harris wanted to hurt people."

That's a cute play on words, but it's simply not true. Dylan absolutely wanted to hurt people, and that's what he did. Dylan's motivation might have been his own emotional pain (the motivation for many mass shootings), but he is not Eric's opposite, as Cullen's statement implies. They both wanted to hurt people.

And, from the home page of Cullen's website, "Eric Harris was monstrous; Dylan Klebold was a revelation."

Not true. They were both monstrous.

Cullen, in his book, claims that Dylan was convinced by Eric to participate in the attack. Dylan was in a vulnerable position because of his mental illness, which incapacitated him to think clearly. That sounds like an insanity excuse to me!

Quote :
You've spent all this time refuting the psychopathy label for Eric, fine he's not a psychopath, yet you've yet to tell us why acted out in the way he did. What was so wrong with Eric that he not only felt the need to kill, but actually did kill innocent teenagers hiding under table crying and begging for their mother's.
Why did he act that way? Attacking your school is a common fantasy. Most people don't want to go to jail or commit suicide, so they don't do it.

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Wed Aug 14, 2013 10:06 pm

This is some of Cullen's description of the SWAT team behavior inside the school:

"A SWAT member held the door. He stopped each student, held them for two seconds, then tapped them on the shoulder and told them to run. That was a standard infantry maneuver. A single pipe bomb could take out an entire pack of children; a well-aimed machine-gun burst could do the same. Safer to space them."

I've said it before, but I'll say it again. That's some serious psychological warfare that E/D pulled off. The SWAT team mistook them for a professional army of machine gun slingin' terrorists!

But here's a part that I really "love". Cullen is describing Eric:

"Sophomore year, he tried an edgier look: combat boots, all-black outfits, and grunge. He started shopping at a trendy shop called Hot Topic and the army surplus store. He liked the look. He liked the feeling. Their buddy Chris Morris began sporting a beret. That was a little much, Eric thought. He wanted to look different, not retarded."

Basically, Eric started dressing the way he did to attract the girls. How smooth! And Eric thought Morris looked "retarded"? Cullen's powers of mind-reading are truly amazing...

Sit down Dave, before you hurt yourself.

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:08 pm

Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Eric dress preppy during his freshman and sophomore year. And edgier and darker in his junior and senior year?

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:46 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
I don't see Cullen in my edition saying that Eric was a psychopath from birth...
What book are you reading? Because it sure ain't the copy I'm reading.

Cullen is very obviously stating that Eric was born the way he was. His brain works differently than normal people.

I think there is a misunderstanding here and it may be my fault for not making myself clear.

I agree with your characterization of Cullen--he does believe that Eric was born a psychopath.

But this does not mean that Eric was acting like a psychopath at age 2.  Evidence of Eric acting normally during childhood does not disprove Cullen's argument.  You can be born a psychopath and still show quite normal affect in many situations, especially in childhood. What matters is the overall pattern Eric shows, and as Cullen proves that pattern is one of psychopathy.  

Before you agree or disagree with me I want to make sure that you understand my point, because our disagreement here is a very specific one.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:54 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:

I'm too lazy to go looking back through the actual books, but this is written by Cullen:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Cullen says, "Klebold was hurting inside while Harris wanted to hurt people."

That's a cute play on words, but it's simply not true. Dylan absolutely wanted to hurt people, and that's what he did. Dylan's motivation might have been his own emotional pain (the motivation for many mass shootings), but he is not Eric's opposite, as Cullen's statement implies. They both wanted to hurt people.
Doesn't that kinda make sense though? Who ended up doing most of the killing, Eric, by a long shot. I'm sure if Dylan wanted to he could have easily matched Eric's body count, or exceeded it. Instead, Dylan had a known jock at gun point the perfect opportunity and instead just "gifts" him to Eric. I'm not denying that Dylan was ruthless in what he did, but if he wanted to kill people as much as Eric did he certainly didn't show any motivation in killing, he was mostly yelling.  

Quote :
And, from the home page of Cullen's website, "Eric Harris was monstrous; Dylan Klebold was a revelation."

Not true. They were both monstrous.

Cullen, in his book, claims that Dylan was convinced by Eric to participate in the attack. Dylan was in a vulnerable position because of his mental illness, which incapacitated him to think clearly. That sounds like an insanity excuse to me!
When I first started reading stuff like that it just made me think that Dylan was so screwed up in the head that he was convinced by his friend to attack their school. To "you" it sounds like an insanity excuse, to me it just made Dylan sound even worse. I can't change how you perceive things.

Quote :
Why did he act that way? Attacking your school is a common fantasy. Most people don't want to go to jail or commit suicide, so they don't do it.
Your right most teenagers don't because they want to live their lives. So then whats with the handful of teenagers that do? Why didn't the thought of death or being incarcerated for the rest of their lives stop Eric and Dylan?

You can't sit here and try and tell me they were normal, you just can't, not after what they did. There was something wrong with them. I understand that you can't diagnose people after they're dead but, at least there are people trying to come up with reasons that would help explain why they chose to kill. Other than that the only other explanation would be that they were just pure evil and thats the end of it.

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:13 am

thedragonrampant wrote:
and there is quite a lot of evidence and information in the Columbine case to suggest that the diagnosis does not match Eric.
thedragonrampant, I don't really know about the whole psychopath conclusion as well. I'm a little iffy on the whole thing, and although the diagnosis is complex, I sometimes can see why he might be diagnosed as one. Can you name the evidence suggesting that he wasn't one? I already listed the times he felt remorse and sympathy in an earlier post, but I'm not sure about anything else.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Thu Aug 15, 2013 12:39 am

Someone post this on Tumblr. Unsure of the source but it might be useful in this thread!

List of Psychopathy Symptoms:

Considerable superficial charm and average or above average intelligence.

Absence of irrational thinking.

Absence of anxiety or other “neurotic” symptoms.

Unreliability, disregard for obligations, no sense of responsibility.

Untruthfulness and insincerity.

Antisocial behavior.

Poor judgment and failure to learn from experience.

Pathological egocentricity.

General poverty of deep and lasting emotions.

Lack of any true insight; inability to see oneself as others do.

Ingratitude for any special considerations, kindness and trust.

Fantastic and objectionable behavior, after drinking and sometimes even when not drinking. (Vulgarity, rudeness, quick mood shifts, pranks for entertainment.)

No history of genuine suicide attempts.

An impersonal, and poorly integrated sex life.
Failure to have any sort of life plan or goal.

The Standard “Checklist” of Psychopathy Symptoms:

GLIB AND SUPERFICIAL CHARM — the tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Psychopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything.

GRANDIOSE SELF-WORTH — a grossly inflated view of one’s abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart.

PATHOLOGICAL LYING — can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative and dishonest.

CONNING AND MANIPULATIVENESS: the use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain.

LACK OF REMORSE OR GUILT: a lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims.

SHALLOW AFFECT: emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness and superficial warmth.

CALLOUSNESS and LACK OF EMPATHY: a lack of feelings toward people in general.

PARASITIC LIFESTYLE: an intentional, manipulative, selfis, and exploitative financial dependence on others.

POOR BEHAVIORAL CONTROLS: expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.

PROMISCUOUS SEXUAL BEHAVIOR: a variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners.

EARLY BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS: a variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, animal cruelty glue-sniffing, alcohol use and running away from home.

LACK OF REALISTIC, LONG-TERM GOALS: an inability or persistent failure to develop long term goals.

IMPULSIVITY: the occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning.

IRRESPONSIBILITY: repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments.

FAILURE TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OWN ACTIONS: a failure to accept responsibility for one’s actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.

MANY SHORT-TERM RELATIONSHIPS: a lack of commitment to a long-term relationship.

JUVENILE DELINQUENCY: behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.

REVOCATION OF CONDITION RELEASE: a revocation of probation or other conditional release due to technical violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation or failing to appear.

CRIMINAL VERSATILITY: a diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes or wrongdoings.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:19 am

@Lifetime wrote:
You've spent all this time refuting the psychopathy label for Eric, fine he's not a psychopath, yet you've yet to tell us why acted out in the way he did. What was so wrong with Eric that he not only felt the need to kill, but actually did kill innocent teenagers hiding under table crying and begging for their mother's. What happened to the happy, smiling, sports playing, animal loving, crying over his friends, Eric that you know?
Life happened. I've touched upon some of the reasons why he may have committed to doing the things he did, but I cannot be definite about it because I have no chance to speak with Eric himself. I think it is a very complicated set of circumstances and personality that drove him to his eventual actions. Some of the contributing factors I can currently see include the uprooting of stability through the moves from state to state, the toxic school environment of Columbine, the drive to make a lasting impression on this world, the need to 'play the hero' with the motivation shifting from keeping humanity safe from 'evil' to keeping earth safe by getting rid of humanity, the difficulties in connecting with his peers and forming lasting relationships, the inability to take rejection, his medication, and his battle with his own thoughts that he has described as 'racing'. I do not doubt for a second that Eric was a possible sufferer of mental illness, but I do think that the psychopathy label doesn't match quite as fully as other labels such as bipolar disorder may do. There's no way to diagnose him with anything after death, so the only assumption we can make as of right now is that he exhibited enough traits of OCD in order to warrant medication and therapy for these. In no way do any of these factors excuse his behaviour. The combination of them, however, is what led him down this path. It is important to try and understand that Eric may have been at war with himself long before he was at war with the world at large.

Quote :
As far as I'm concerned, some people are defined by their actions in life. If people choose to ignore Eric's happy childhood and only focus on his actions on April 20th it's for a good reason. It's the point in his life that stands out the most, his biggest accomplishment. April 19th was the last we saw of normal Eric, on April 20th he chose to show us his other side, that of a cold blooded killer.
I agree that his last actions do define his life. (Not really sure on whether he would have seen it as his biggest accomplishment, though, because a lot of the original plan fell through and backfired.) Yet, I think that his childhood and his teenage years tell the background of the 4/20-story. You cannot hope to understand what brought him to that place where he was able to gun people down in cold blood and create bombs that would've wiped out hundreds of people if they'd gone off. In order to understand Eric and what brought him to sit at the 4/20 table with his 'brother in arms', you have to go back a lot further and acknowledge everything he was before as well. I was not able to connect with Eric's side of the matter for the better part of the last year, because I was never able to push past the last year of his life. The moment I did go back further and traced his path pre-4/20, I was able to make some sense of the kid. (I'm not done with him yet. He still baffles me sometimes.)

@highwayhypnosis wrote:
thedragonrampant, I don't really know about the whole psychopath conclusion as well. I'm a little iffy on the whole thing, and although the diagnosis is complex, I sometimes can see why he might be diagnosed as one. Can you name the evidence suggesting that he wasn't one? I already listed the times he felt remorse and sympathy in an earlier post, but I'm not sure about anything else.
I can sometimes see why the psychopathy diagnosis may sound logical to people, too. (Until I see the checklist of psychopathy and realise that half this stuff doesn't sound like it's applicable to him and that the stuff that is mostly applicable can usually be found in other teenagers just as much..) The times that he felt and expressed remorse or sympathy are a good place to start out from. I also use witness statements and statements from people from other places he used to live in describing Eric the way he was pre-4/20, which usually give off the impression of a weird but funny kid who could be timid and perfectionistic and genuinely kind but also mocking and angry at times. (Statements from people in Plattsburgh are interesting, but also statements from girls he asked out/spoke with more than once and statements describing his work ethic and the way he was in school.) I also use the diversion papers and some of Eric's own journal entries, which do show a manipulative streak but also show self-professed 'neurotic symptoms' and a sense of responsibility. (The diversion papers in particular are interesting because they show a real cry for help. Eric knew that some of the things he went through weren't 'normal' and that he needed help to figure out what was going on and how to handle it. He could've kept his mouth shut about it the way Dylan did, but instead chose to come forward with his problems. He may have ranted against the treatment set up for him, sure, but a lot of people do this out of fear for how much it'll change them and if they'll still be 'themselves' after.) Furthermore, I used some of his school papers and some parts of the basement tapes for my theory (described way up in this thread) on his shifting loyalties and his possible hero complex and for an impression of his genuine affections for places and people he used to know. All of these things together help form a picture of a kid who wasn't a born killer, but whose path in life and growing troubles with himself drove him to the eventual crimes we now know him for. It's a really complex puzzle to put together and I'm quite sure I'm missing pieces. There's a lot of reading between the lines going on here. Some of the stuff that Eric himself comes out with was designed to be a showcase for his shadow side (the biggest problem I have with Fuselier is that so much of his theory hinges on Eric's journal), so you can't always take his own words as the most concrete evidence for one theory or the other.

I would normally get a little deeper into it (give you page numbers for one thing Rolling Eyes ) and get into the interesting debate on Dylan's actions going on up-thread, but I have come down with a pretty severe bout of the flu and it's taken me the better part of the hour just to write this post.. If I don't make perfect sense in some of this, I'm sorry. Embarassed 
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:44 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
I don't see Cullen in my edition saying that Eric was a psychopath from birth...
What book are you reading? Because it sure ain't the copy I'm reading.

Cullen is very obviously stating that Eric was born the way he was. His brain works differently than normal people.

I think there is a misunderstanding here and it may be my fault for not making myself clear.

I agree with your characterization of Cullen--he does believe that Eric was born a psychopath.

But this does not mean that Eric was acting like a psychopath at age 2.  Evidence of Eric acting normally during childhood does not disprove Cullen's argument.  You can be born a psychopath and still show quite normal affect in many situations, especially in childhood.  What matters is the overall pattern Eric shows, and as Cullen proves that pattern is one of psychopathy.    

Before you agree or disagree with me I want to make sure that you understand my point, because our disagreement here is a very specific one.
OK. We agree that Cullen, Fuselier, and Hare believe that Eric was born a Psychopath.

Let's look at the evidence to support that diagnosis:

Most seriously violent Psychopaths display at least some dysfunction in childhood, but it's certainly possible that Eric was one of the minority who didn't.

Psychopaths are unable to feel fundamental human emotions. If Eric is a Psychopath, then it means that any empathy, love, joy, or genuine human connection Eric displayed were merely illusions -a deception spun by Eric.

It's possible to claim that same accusation of anyone! How can any person prove the emotions they feel are real? A diagnosis of Psychopathy usually involves a face-to-face interview, where the client admits they feel little emotion and empathy. Eric isn't alive to defend the claim that he was incapable of feeling shame, fear, joy, empathy, etc. It's Cullen's word against the word of a dead kid.

There is only one solid piece of evidence that Eric was incapable of these emotions: His attack on Columbine. Even then, this attack is only evidence that Eric lacked empathy towards the suffering of random people. It doesn't demonstrate that Eric lacked shame, fear, or the ability for genuine human connection.

Eric's journal is evidence for nothing. Expect rage. A good deal of Cullen's evidence for Eric's Psychopathy relies on Eric's journal.  Eric's journal proves that he hated people in general. Trying to use it prove anything more is not much better than fortune telling. What did Eric really mean when he wrote this or that? Who knows... certainly not me, and not Cullen or Fuselier either.

There are numerous possibilities why Eric lacked empathy for random people. All mass shooters display the same appalling failure of empathy that Eric did -including Dylan- but they are not all Psychopaths.

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:21 am

This is just barely scratching the surface about this entire subject, but I have always felt that what I can only describe as Eric's fixation on downplaying his emotions is a blaring indication that he was actually, in fact, intensely emotional. I think he was acutely and profoundly emotional and sensitive. Over-emotional indeed. If such feelings and emotions didn't exist, there'd be no reason for him to even discuss them in any capacity. Saying things like he was going out of his way to prevent any sort of bonding with his parents and things of that nature. Saying he had to "turn" everything "off"; and telling himself to imagine that everyone was a "monster" in "Doom". Someone who didn't have any feelings, empathy, sympathy, or selfless human connections wouldn't give any of that a thought at all. I feel that his feelings were actually so intense that he could no longer cope with them, address them, or even understand them, and over time it got progressively worse (particularly with the medication he was forced to be on, and the way he was erratically cycling on and off of them).
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:41 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:

I'm too lazy to go looking back through the actual books, but this is written by Cullen:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Cullen says, "Klebold was hurting inside while Harris wanted to hurt people."

That's a cute play on words, but it's simply not true. Dylan absolutely wanted to hurt people, and that's what he did. Dylan's motivation might have been his own emotional pain (the motivation for many mass shootings), but he is not Eric's opposite, as Cullen's statement implies. They both wanted to hurt people.
Doesn't that kinda make sense though? Who ended up doing most of the killing, Eric, by a long shot. I'm sure if Dylan wanted to he could have easily matched Eric's body count, or exceeded it. Instead, Dylan had a known jock at gun point the perfect opportunity and instead just "gifts" him to Eric. I'm not denying that Dylan was ruthless in what he did, but if he wanted to kill people as much as Eric did he certainly didn't show any motivation in killing, he was mostly yelling.  
The original plan was a bombing. Dylan helped carry those bombs into the building, fully expecting to kill hundreds. Dylan was definitely motivated to kill -not just a few, but a huge amount of people. Cullen is only telling half the truth when he says that Dylan was "hurting inside". The other half is that Dylan felt just as little empathy towards random people as Eric did.

Rather than say "Klebold was hurting inside while Harris wanted to hurt people", it would be more accurate for Cullen to have said "Klebold was hurting inside and wanted to hurt others, while Eric just wanted to hurt people period".

I agree with you that Eric was the more motivated killer. The guy lived, ate, and breathed violence for years. However, Dylan being less motivated doesn't automatically make him a follower, as Cullen takes the great liberty of concluding.

Dylan may well be less of a monster than Eric, but a less vicious monster is still a monster nonetheless. There's no reason to assume, as Cullen does, that Dylan didn't want to be there. Just because Dylan couldn't outdo Eric, doesn't mean Dylan was confused about being there. There's no reason whatsoever to assume it means that!

Instead of calling it The Psychopath and The Depressive, call it The Gleeful Psychopath and The Slightly-Less Gleeful Psychopath!


Quote :
Quote :
Cullen, in his book, claims that Dylan was convinced by Eric to participate in the attack. Dylan was in a vulnerable position because of his mental illness, which incapacitated him to think clearly. That sounds like an insanity excuse to me!
When I first started reading stuff like that it just made me think that Dylan was so screwed up in the head that he was convinced by his friend to attack their school. To "you" it sounds like an insanity excuse, to me it just made Dylan sound even worse. I can't change how you perceive things.
You may perceive Cullen's description of screwed up Dylan to be "even worse", but that's not how Cullen sees it. Cullen very obviously intended to portray Dylan's actions as a product of his depressed incapitation, and not his true nature.


Quote :
Quote :
Why did he act that way? Attacking your school is a common fantasy. Most people don't want to go to jail or commit suicide, so they don't do it.
Your right most teenagers don't because they want to live their lives. So then whats with the handful of teenagers that do? Why didn't the thought of death or being incarcerated for the rest of their lives stop Eric and Dylan?

You can't sit here and try and tell me they were normal, you just can't, not after what they did. There was something wrong with them. I understand that you can't diagnose people after they're dead but, at least there are people trying to come up with reasons that would help explain why they chose to kill. Other than that the only other explanation would be that they were just pure evil and thats the end of it.  
OK. We agree that it's relatively common for teenagers to fantasize about attacking their school. We can assume that a small percentage of teenagers are homicidal right now, but care too much about their own lives to throw it all away by murdering people.

Why didn't the thought of death stop Eric and Dylan? Because they were suicidal. I don't believe you have to be mentally ill to be suicidal. Suffering, including extreme suffering, is a part of life. Suicide is a possible solution to that suffering.

Eric and Dylan were both homicidal and suicidal at the same time. This is obviously a rare overlap, but simply because something is rare doesn't make it abnormal. In E/D, there is evidence of extreme suffering, rage, and an experience of pleasure from violence, but none of those things are illnesses.

Of course it's possible that Eric and Dylan had abnormalities -Psychopathy, hormone imbalances, mental illnesses, or whatever else.

It's also completely possible they were normal teenagers who simply made a bad choice.

EDIT: I apologize for this shitty response. I think both you and lasttrain have raised a lot of good questions that deserve good consideration. But the truth is, I'm so, so ill right now, and I just don't have the energy to think about this anymore right now.

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:47 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
This is just barely scratching the surface about this entire subject, but I have always felt that what I can only describe as Eric's fixation on downplaying his emotions is a blaring indication that he was actually, in fact, intensely emotional. I think he was acutely and profoundly emotional and sensitive. Over-emotional indeed. If such feelings and emotions didn't exist, there'd be no reason for him to even discuss them in any capacity. Saying things like he was going out of his way to prevent any sort of bonding with his parents and things of that nature. Saying he had to "turn" everything "off"; and telling himself to imagine that everyone was a "monster" in "Doom". Someone who didn't have any feelings, empathy, sympathy, or selfless human connections wouldn't give any of that a thought at all. I feel that his feelings were actually so intense that he could no longer cope with them, address them, or even understand them, and over time it got progressively worse (particularly with the medication he was forced to be on, and the way he was erratically cycling on and off of them).
You took the words right out of my mouth. I completely and totally agree with this. Eric was overpowered by the extreme emotion he felt, and Columbine was his honest attempt to handle it.

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:50 am

Also, thedragonrampant, I hope you feel better Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Thu Aug 15, 2013 2:07 pm

This is what it boils down to:

The critics are saying that Eric had emotions, had feelings, etc., so he wasn't a psychopath.

But Cullen is not claiming that psychopaths never show feelings or emotions in any situations.  On the contrary, he recognizes (as does Hare) that psychopaths do show occasional good emotions that come through "dimly," and also show incredible bouts of feelings, such as anger, self-regard, and self-pity.  The fact that Eric liked his dog, liked his friends, expressed happiness and sadness on occasion does not mean he wasn't a psychopath because all psychopaths do these things.  Hitler loved his dog.

I don't see how anyone can read Cullen's book and not be convinced.  Cullen gives you hundreds of statements from Harris where he is glib, grandiose, glories in lying, displays callousness, and fantasizes about killing, not to mention the fact that he gleefully killed almost a score of children.  He also gives you dozens of witnesses, from adults to kids, who describe seeing psychopathic traits in Harris.

Yeah, there could be other explanations for each of these things, but in Harris's case, they are bundled together in such textbook fashion that another diagnosis becomes highly improbable.  When Fuselier presented his findings the medical community immediately approved them, as Cullen describes.  If you want to claim that Eric is not a psychopath, you have to claim that the current definition is wrong, because Eric fits the definition almost as closely as possible.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Thu Aug 15, 2013 11:43 pm

Quote :
Life happened. I've touched upon some of the reasons why he may have committed to doing the things he did, but I cannot be definite about it because I have no chance to speak with Eric himself. I think it is a very complicated set of circumstances and personality that drove him to his eventual actions. Some of the contributing factors I can currently see include the uprooting of stability through the moves from state to state, the toxic school environment of Columbine, the drive to make a lasting impression on this world, the need to 'play the hero' with the motivation shifting from keeping humanity safe from 'evil' to keeping earth safe by getting rid of humanity, the difficulties in connecting with his peers and forming lasting relationships, the inability to take rejection, his medication, and his battle with his own thoughts that he has described as 'racing'. I do not doubt for a second that Eric was a possible sufferer of mental illness, but I do think that the psychopathy label doesn't match quite as fully as other labels such as bipolar disorder may do. There's no way to diagnose him with anything after death, so the only assumption we can make as of right now is that he exhibited enough traits of OCD in order to warrant medication and therapy for these. In no way do any of these factors excuse his behaviour. The combination of them, however, is what led him down this path. It is important to try and understand that Eric may have been at war with himself long before he was at war with the world at large.
Alright, for starters, I grew up in the military, I speak on experience when I say that moving around all the time sucks. I can't think of a single kid who enjoyed having to move around all the time. Few probably liked it, some probably tolerated it, and others hated it ( I fall into the "hated it" category). I never killed anyone. As far as the toxic environment at Columbine, you can't truly believe that the school was so bad that it turned two teenagers (and no one else) out of the thousands that walked those hallways into killers. And if you think Columbine is bad, look up Massillon Washington High School and the documentary "Go Tigers" and you will learn the true meaning of athlete worship. Columbine doesn't have shit on them. I'm honestly surprised no ones tried to attack that school, from what I've learned about it so far it seems horrible. As far as his need to leave a lasting impression on this world. A lot of people at that age crave attention, but most don't kill to get it. So it's no surprise that the need for fame was a motivation for what he did (think grandiose sense of self). His inability to connect with his peers? That fucker had more friends then I ever did growing up. This is the one thing that pisses me off about him. He had friends, good friends, that he pushed away at the end. Fuck him and his self pity. Rejection.... it sucks, no doubt about it, it can be extremely painful, more so than physical pain. Even still, the ones who get rejected usually just beat or kill the ones who rejected them i.e. their girlfriend. Very rarely does it result in the mass murder of innocent people.

Alright that's enough. What I'm trying to do here is show you that what you think motivated Eric to kill are the same things that millions of people have to deal with day in and day out and yet, we don't see millions of people trying to kill each other. There's still something missing.


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I agree that his last actions do define his life. (Not really sure on whether he would have seen it as his biggest accomplishment, though, because a lot of the original plan fell through and backfired.) Yet, I think that his childhood and his teenage years tell the background of the 4/20-story. You cannot hope to understand what brought him to that place where he was able to gun people down in cold blood and create bombs that would've wiped out hundreds of people if they'd gone off. In order to understand Eric and what brought him to sit at the 4/20 table with his 'brother in arms', you have to go back a lot further and acknowledge everything he was before as well. I was not able to connect with Eric's side of the matter for the better part of the last year, because I was never able to push past the last year of his life. The moment I did go back further and traced his path pre-4/20, I was able to make some sense of the kid. (I'm not done with him yet. He still baffles me sometimes.)
His plan did fall apart, but he still ended up the number one high school killer along with Dylan. I never said we shouldn't look at every stage of his life growing up. What I was saying is that the general population sees Eric as he was on April 20th, the monster next door. They're not like us, looking into every aspect of his life to try and find out what it was exactly that drove him to murder. That at times, or even most of the time to his family, friends, peers and teachers he was a normal teenager. The general population never saw that side of him. You're right in saying he's more complex than just being labeled a monster.

If you haven't already I'd like you to read Peter Langman's book Why Kids Kill or at least read the part on Eric. I'm interested in seeing what you'd have to say about it.


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(the biggest problem I have with Fuselier is that so much of his theory hinges on Eric's journal), so you can't always take his own words as the most concrete evidence for one theory or the other.
If so much of his theory hinges on Eric's journal its because, his journal was extremely personal and gave him insight into what he was thinking when he was alone. And if Eric faked all that to make it seem like he was a psychopath, he must have done a lot of studying on the subject to get it just right. What was that about psychopaths having above average intelligence? That seems like a pretty damn smart move to me.

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I would normally get a little deeper into it (give you page numbers for one thing Rolling Eyes ) and get into the interesting debate on Dylan's actions going on up-thread, but I have come down with a pretty severe bout of the flu and it's taken me the better part of the hour just to write this post.. If I don't make perfect sense in some of this, I'm sorry. Embarassed 
I honestly don't care to discuss Dylan not to sound mean or anything. His love sick depression just makes him seem kinda like a wussy to me. I hope you feel better.


Quote :
OK. We agree that it's relatively common for teenagers to fantasize about attacking their school. We can assume that a small percentage of teenagers are homicidal right now, but care too much about their own lives to throw it all away by murdering people.
We all have bad thoughts from time to time. It's our ability to control them that separates the normal people from the crazy killers.  


Alright, I got to as much as I could tonight. I may not be able to post again for a little while my internet will be shut off soon. Forgot to pay the bill, oops

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Fri Aug 16, 2013 12:08 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
This is what it boils down to:

The critics are saying that Eric had emotions, had feelings, etc., so he wasn't a psychopath.

But Cullen is not claiming that psychopaths never show feelings or emotions in any situations.
You're right. Cullen isn't saying that Psychopaths never show emotion. But he is saying that Psychopaths are retarded in their emotional spectrum.

Examples from Cullen's book:

"Joy, grief, anxiety, or amusement--he can mimic any on cue."

Cullen is saying that Psychopaths mimic these emotions, they don't feel them for real.

"Shame did not register; neither did fear. Psychopaths are not individuals losing touch with those emotions. They never developed them from the start."

Cullen is saying that Psychopaths do not feel shame or fear -they never developed them from the start.

"The fundamental nature of a psychopath is a failure to feel." Or, "Researchers often compare psychopaths to robots..."

"No love. No grief. Not even sorrow, really, or hope or despair about his own future. Psychopaths feel nothing deep, complex, or sustained."

"they fall far short of the average golden retriever, which will demonstrate affection, joy, compassion, and empathy for a human in pain."

Cullen and Fuselier are absolutely claiming that Eric's emotional spectrum was retarded, and that he was unable to feel genuine love, grief, sorrow, affection, attachment, and human connection.

What evidence do Cullen and Fuselier have that Eric was unable to feel deep or sustained emotion?

Quote :
I don't see how anyone can read Cullen's book and not be convinced.  Cullen gives you hundreds of statements from Harris where he is glib, grandiose, glories in lying, displays callousness, and fantasizes about killing, not to mention the fact that he gleefully killed almost a score of children.  He also gives you dozens of witnesses, from adults to kids, who describe seeing psychopathic traits in Harris.
We are now looking for evidence to support the theory that Eric was unable to feel deep or sustained emotion. You have mentioned the same three sources of evidence that Cullen mentions:

1) Dozens of witnesses.

There are also dozens of witnesses that claim the exact opposite, which Cullen deliberately doesn't mention. If Cullen isn't going to consider any witness that contradicts him...

2) Hundreds of statements from Harris where he is glib, grandiose, glories in lying, displays callousness, and fantasizes about killing.

These may well be traits of Psychopathy, but they are also all traits of rage too. Rage should be considered first, before Psychopathy, but Cullen and Fuselier skip over everything and go directly to the Psychopathy diagnosis.

Cullen says, discussing Eric's journal, "I will choose to kill," Eric wrote. Why? His explanations didn't add up. Because we were morons? How would that make a kid kill? To most readers, Eric's rants just sounded nuts."

Cullen and Fuselier are confused when they first read Eric's journal. They don't know what to make of it. They've already decided: "Eric's rants just sounded nuts." -no normal human would talk that way. To me, it Eric's journal just sounds like the journal of any 90s gamer -painting yourself as God, delighting in callousness and killing, cartoonishly violent humor...

Seriously, read my post on "Free Speech" in the Misc. Section. That guy talked about killing kindergarten children and watching their blood "rain down" on his Facebook page. Nearly all computer dork gamers talk the same way Eric did, especially in the 90s.

3) The fact that he gleefully killed almost a score of children.

This is evidence that Eric lacked empathy towards random people, and that he enjoyed murder, as did Dylan. It's not evidence of anything else. It's not evidence that Eric was unable to feel deep or sustained emotion towards those he cared about, which is required for Psychopathy.

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Yeah, there could be other explanations for each of these things,
...Which Cullen and Fuselier should have considered first, instead of skipping over them and going straight to the Psychopathy possibility.

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When Fuselier presented his findings the medical community immediately approved them, as Cullen describes.
In an earlier edition of the DSM of Mental Disorders it included Homosexuality as a mental disorder. The medical community approved THAT too. These are busy people, who often just don't have the time to consider the possibilities in depth.

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If you want to claim that Eric is not a psychopath, you have to claim that the current definition is wrong, because Eric fits the definition almost as closely as possible.
Eric only fits that description based on contradictory witness statements, a rather humorous journal, and an ability to kill (which his friend also shared).

What Eric and Dylan did was just normal human behavior, there's no need to pathologize it. Feeding Christians to the lions, witch burning and torture, public hangings... human beings delight in violence.

What Eric and Dylan did was cruel and it was a bad decision, but that doesn't make them abnormal for making that decision. It just means they were violent and cruel individuals -both of them.

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