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 How has your perspective on NBK changed over time?

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LPorter101

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PostSubject: How has your perspective on NBK changed over time?   Thu Nov 01, 2018 2:09 am

As someone who has been fascinated by NBK since the day it happened, I can definitely say that my views on the massacre have evolved since 1999.

Over the years, as I have grown older and seen more of the world and gained a broader, deeper perspective on the various facets of life and death, I have come to believe that everything does happen for a reason. I am not overly religious, but I do believe that there is a larger consciousness that guides the evolution of the universe, and I have no problem referring to this consciousness as God.

One of the questions I have always asked myself is, "Why do I want things that I can't have? Why can't I stop wanting them? If I could learn not to want anything, not to need anything, not to care about anything, then I could finally be truly happy." It has taken me a long time to accept that, as Hannibal Lecter said in Manhunter, "We don't invent our natures. They're issued to us along with our lungs and our pancreas and everything else. Why fight it?" I want the things I want, and there's nothing much I can do about it. I go after the things that I can get, and try to accept that there are some things that I might never be able to have. It's not always easy.

When I want something badly enough, I go after it body and soul. I become an absolute monster, willing to do almost anything - moral or immoral, legal or illegal, just or unjust - to further my cause. At times, my selfishness is exceeded only by my recklessness. Over the years, I have known both triumph and defeat, exhilaration and agony, joy and despair, hope and fear. There have been times when I have felt like God's favorite angel soaring above the highest peak in Heaven, and times when I have felt like Satan's lowest slave-bitch burning in the deepest crevice of Hell. But I have come to realize that, when you have an obsessive, unyielding mind, you must pursue your compulsions to the fullest, or they will eat you alive. In the long run, denying your true nature is as self-defeating as swimming against a tsunami.

Over time, I have come to believe that Eric, especially, had an insatiable appetite for blood. For whatever reason, he sought some kind of ultimate release in the act of mass homicide. Playing Doom wasn't enough; he had to make it happen in real life. I don't know if he was born with this compulsion, or if it developed over time, but somehow he came to believe that the only way he could achieve anything approaching true happiness was to annihilate a large number of his classmates and then destroy himself. In the months leading up to NBK, he truly believed that, in his final moments, as he surveyed the smoldering wreckage of his school and gazed upon the guts of the kids his bombs had blown apart and listened to the moans of the dying, he would experience a perfect moment of orgasmic joy that would erase every trace of the unbearable misery of his pointless existence. Then he could die painlessly, knowing that his name would live in infamy forever.

It didn't work out that way, of course, but he honestly thought that it would. At the very least, he felt that the potential reward of pulling off a successful attack was worth the risk of failure.

Most likely he, himself, did not have any inkling as to why he had this desire. In all probability, he didn't care why he wanted to kill people; he just knew that he did.

Eric did not want to live the ordinary life where you go to school, get good grades, go to college, get a job, work your ass off, live in a shitty apartment, find a girlfriend, get married, buy a house, get a dog, have some kids, go to Disney World once a year, pay a bunch of bills, grow old, retire, play shuffleboard, get dumped in a nursing home, and die. I don't blame him for that, because I don't want to live that kind of life, either. I'm not saying that I never want to get married and have kids, but the idea of working 60, 70, 80 hours a week for the privilege of paying a hefty mortgage has never appealed to me. When I was in high school, I made a deliberate decision not to pursue that kind of a life, and I'm reasonably certain that I made the right choice for me. I have had to learn to accept all of the good things and all of the bad things that have happened to me as a result of that decision.

In an odd way, I don't blame Eric for killing people. I don't judge him for it. I'm a little leery about admitting that fact, because it is a monstrous thing to say, but it is an honest statement of my true feelings. On an intellectual level, I know that what he did was wrong and evil and very very bad; on an emotional level, I empathize with him deeply. I know what it's like to be driven to the brink of madness by impulses that are on your mind every minute of every day, from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep, and even in your dreams. I know what it's like to dream about snatching that elusive bit of happiness that always dangles just beyond your grasp. I don't blame him for doing whatever he felt he had to do to satisfy his unquenchable hunger.

(You can hold a junkie in contempt, but you really can't blame him for doing whatever he has to do to get that vial of crack - especially if he was born with the addiction.)

I forgive Eric because I know that, in many ways, we are very similar. The key difference is that he wanted - he needed - to kill people, and I don't. If I wanted to kill people as badly as he did, I would have become a murderer a long time ago.

Of course, I feel compelled to add the following disclaimer: It is vitally important to make every effort to adhere to the highest moral and ethical standards. (Killing people is bad; don't do it.) It is also important to ensure that you remain completely honest with yourself at all times. Lie to others, if you must, but never lie to yourself.

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PostSubject: Re: How has your perspective on NBK changed over time?   Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:28 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]   As always I am in awe of your writing. I've said this before, but it needs repeating. You should write a book on Columbine. A HUGE book filled with all your musings and thoughts.

I would definitely buy it. Very Happy Not just for your Dave Cullen bashing either! Haha

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PostSubject: Re: How has your perspective on NBK changed over time?   Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:14 am

Indeed, we've got quality post here!

What you said made me think about something I lived, and it's true that what makes us better understand people is what we feel and live ourselves. I don't like to go into personal details so I will be very vague. A few months ago I had a very hard time (for no peculiar reasons), it lasted several months and fortunately now it's over.
I always knew that I didn't want, to quote you, to "live the ordinary life where you go to school, get good grades, go to college, get a job, work your ass off, live in a shitty apartment, find a girlfriend, get married, buy a house, get a dog, have some kids, go to Disney World once a year, pay a bunch of bills, grow old, retire, play shuffleboard, get dumped in a nursing home, and die." But when I studied abroad I lived a life rather similar to the one I will have later when I will leave my parents house, and I realized that I have nothing to replace all those things I don't want. I knew what I didn't want but I didn't know what I wanted, what would make me happy. In fact I still don't know. But I knew I needed to find that thing that would make me happy because I was definitely not happy. And for the first time in my life I stopped valuing life. I thought suicide was ok when you tried life and didn't like it. I stopped having hopes for the future, I didn't even want a future. Well, during this bad period I discovered a new side of myself and I realized that when you want to do something it is really not that easy not to do it. Especially because if you don't do it you feel very very bad, and sometimes you feel it's not fair to feel that way just because you don't do something bad. People say we can control ourselves but really, they don't know what a urge is.

I think when you stop valuing life, suicide or killing people is not as bad as it used to be, and I think this is what happened with Eric and Dylan. When you feel bad and depressed you also don't feel as much empathy towards others. And when you've got an urge to hurt people like Eric it is even worse. The urge grows bigger and bigger and sympathy lower and lower. I don't really think they did that because it was evil, I think they didn't even feel the evil in the killing anymore.
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PostSubject: Re: How has your perspective on NBK changed over time?   Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:39 pm

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

I think when you stop valuing life, suicide or killing people is not as bad as it used to be, and I think this is what happened with Eric and Dylan. When you feel bad and depressed you also don't feel as much empathy towards others. And when you've got an urge to hurt people like Eric it is even worse. The urge grows bigger and bigger and sympathy lower and lower. I don't really think they did that because it was evil, I think they didn't even feel the evil in the killing anymore.

I agree with different parts of what's been said in this thread, but this speaks to me the most.
I agree that Eric didn't want or couldn't envision himself living the 9 to 5 life; he couldn't see himself being a slave to doing the same thing that everyone else was doing. But I also think he didn't know what it was that he did want. He didn't see where he "fit" or what he could do/ become. He also didn't like himself very much but he wanted to matter/ to make some kind of an impact and didn't care if that was in a positive or a negative fashion.
I think his inability to see a future for himself, his self loathing, and his deep need to be respected/ feared/noticed, made him develop this go big or go home idea of destruction. He made NBK (the planning, the execution) his one major achievement, his one goal.
And it wasn't that hard for him to envision it because he didn't value himself. He had to have realized early on that doing something like this could only end in his own death. He wasn't going to go to prison, so what else was there? I don't think he was foolish enough to think escape was an option, so when he first started considering this plan he must have accepted it would end up costing him his life.
Eric also didn't value people, in general, and I think this relates to his perception of how others treated him. I don't just mean the bullying he was subjected to. I feel like Eric had this need to be noticed, appreciated, maybe to be validated by others. He wrote like he didn't care what people thought of him and then he'd stick those little nuggets in like, "they should have shown me more respect, asked for my opinion more". To me this screams of a kid who wants to be recognized as having something important to offer. And when he wasn't it made him angry, bitter, and jealous of the people that did get that type of attention. When you don't value yourself or others, it's easier to let go of the moral and ethical reasons for why something like NBK is wrong.

The one area in which I disagree is that despite all the violence and destruction he wrote about, I don't exactly believe that Eric had an urge to hurt people. Punish them, maybe, for not elevating him/ appreciating him the way he wanted, and the way he chose to do it was through violence. But I don't feel like he had a need to inflict physical pain, or wanted to see blood and gore like other killers do. I don't feel like that was the payoff he was looking for. I believe that he chose NBK as a way to become known, as a way to exert a power he never had, as a way to be remembered.
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PostSubject: Re: How has your perspective on NBK changed over time?   Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:42 am

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


The one area in which I disagree is that despite all the violence and destruction he wrote about, I don't exactly believe that Eric had an urge to hurt people. Punish them, maybe, for not elevating him/ appreciating him the way he wanted, and the way he chose to do it was through violence. But I don't feel like he had a need to inflict physical pain, or wanted to see blood and gore like other killers do. I don't feel like that was the payoff he was looking for. I believe that he chose NBK as a way to become known, as a way to exert a power he never had, as a way to be remembered.

I don't know if I should have said the word "urge". It is maybe a bit too much. However given that they spent so many time on planning NBK I think it is fair to say that it had become an obsessive idea. And I think for Eric this obsessive thought expanded to violence in general.

And what I will say now is based on no evidence at all, it is just a theory, but anger, frustration can lead to a need of violence (or the thought that there is a need of violence). Some people feel the need to punch their mattress, to break glasses, Eric punched wall. But did he punch wall only to let go of his frustration, anger and energy or would it have been more effective for him to be violent (something he couldn't do before NBK)? I can well imagine him feeling this weird sensation in his arms, and this desire to punch someone in the face, to tear off someone's arms... Something he obviously couldn't do so he punched walls instead. It would be a kind of urge, but only at some times, when he was frustrated and angry or sad (which was probably very often). But I don't think he had an "urge" 24/7 if you see what I mean.

But I agree with you, NBK was probably not only an urge. I think he also wanted to feel something and send a message. And to me even if he was not aware of it, I think the primary objective was not to send a message to others but to himself. I think the whole thing was both feeling powerful, feared and someone for once and being feared by others and showing others his power. But I think it was above all about him feeling powerful and feared and then as a second objective about people fearing him. Because despite the shooting having a huge aftermath and legacy, people feared and saw Eric's power on a very small scale. If he really was craving for power and influence on others he could have done something else. But he didn't because I think what really mattered was to please his own mind.

Maybe I shouldn't use other shooters to understand Eric because they are all different, but this quotation by Richard Durn is quite explanatory I think:

[he wanted to kill the mayor] "and then as many people as possible [...] I will become a serial killer, a mad killer. Why? Because I am frustrated and I do not want to die alone, because I have had a shitty life. I want to feel powerful and free just once."

It's all about him and his feelings, not about others.

But I think I am stuck with this idea. Now I only read Eric's writings with this idea in mind and cannot really question it or qualify it anymore. So if you disagree tell me why because I need to have different points of view. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: How has your perspective on NBK changed over time?   Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:06 am

I would say a big change that comes from hearing about it in the days after it happened and being absorbed in the research years later is the view of them as 'the team' friends even in death like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and the view of them as two individuals, Eric and Dylan. For all of Cullen's faults, I appreciate this aspect of his research, though I wouldn't have it the same way. It might not be likely, but it's possible, that, say, Eric manipulated Dylan into doing it on 4/20 because of Hitler's birth day. The same way, it might not be likely, but possible, that Dylan's remarks in Eric's yearbook are his attempt to manipulate Eric into committing the massacre so Dylan has a reason to die. "my wrath for januarys incident will be godlike" it's hard to see whether that's over the top for Eric (how many KMFDM songs are you going to reference Dylan) or just juvenile given their ages. And of course, one interpretation of the van incident in January is Dylan manipulating Eric into doing it (as Eric said) to test whether he was the kind of guy to go NBK.  They were alone or with other people ruminating on the massacre a lot more than one might first suspect. The "Eric in Columbine" video barely featuring Dylan might be one aspect of this. The most tangible example of this is thinking they said "one, two, three" and killed themselves at the same time, and then realizing no, both suicides were done differently, at different times.  They are still forever the team due to what happened on that day, but less so with time.

Also, it's become a smaller event  over time. Not just because of copycats having higher body counts, but was younger than them when it happened, but older than them now, and so the library massacre seemed like forever, but not really anymore; and the school seemed huge, but not really anymore. Pipe bombs seemed like grenades, but now just like fireworks.
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PostSubject: Re: How has your perspective on NBK changed over time?   Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:25 am

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

[he wanted to kill the mayor] "and then as many people as possible [...] I will become a serial killer, a mad killer. Why? Because I am frustrated and I do not want to die alone, because I have had a shitty life. I want to feel powerful and free just once."

It's all about him and his feelings, not about others.

But I think I am stuck with this idea. Now I only read Eric's writings with this idea in mind and cannot really question it or qualify it anymore. So if you disagree tell me why because I need to have different points of view. Smile

Sorry I can't give a different view because I pretty much agree with that Laughing
I think Eric was punishing people because he didn't get what he wanted from life. I think he had a need to feel that for just one moment in time, he was respected and feared, that he had power. And since he couldn't envision the long term of how he might work towards earning that kind of position, he took it through violence because that was an "easier" way of obtaining it.
I do believe that he wanted his actions to have a lasting impact. They said as much in the Basement Tapes. They hoped it would start a revolution, they hoped it would give the victims nightmares for years, there'd be movies, etc. about them. But because he wouldn't be around to witness all of that, the suffering he inflicted was, as you said, a secondary objective. What was most important was the satisfaction he would have, in that moment, of being the center of everything for everyone in that school.
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PostSubject: Re: How has your perspective on NBK changed over time?   Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:26 pm

I think the amount of violence and the divide in America today in outrageous. Some people make the claim all this has been going on since the end of time and we only hear of it because we have instant outlets that feed us everything but I think we have become worse as humans. You can’t say anything in public without the fear of being outcasted. If you don’t share the same views as your boss, you can get fired. You can make an allegation against anybody and get fired without proof. Political correctness is destroying everything. Due to all this Columbine doesn’t seem as big to me.
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PostSubject: Re: How has your perspective on NBK changed over time?   Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:53 pm

>In the long run, denying your true nature is as self-defeating as swimming against a tsunami.

Well I do hope some people deny their true natures. There's this kid I knew in high school who beat me up and whenever I see his face on social media I want to smash it in with a baseball bat but I had definitely better deny my true nature. Pedophiles should certainly deny their true natures even if it eats them alive, because that's better than them eating some little girl alive.

E&D would definitely be screwed in the age of social media and smartphones. Eric would probably be an alt-righter blurting his racism on Facebook (yes, I'm aware he also tried to say things AGAINST racism--and he was totally full of it) and getting fired from his latest pizza joint job. Dylan would have used Myspace to commit suicide by 2006--I told u I was hardcore!!! Either way, if the two had backed off from NBK they'd have wasted the intellect that they absolutely had, in adult life, one way or the other.
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