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

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PostSubject: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeSat Jul 20, 2013 8:04 am

Okay, I mentioned in [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] that I was doing this little project. This is my very first read of the book, so I've tried to go into this chapter-by-chapter dissection as objectively as possible. I am hoping that it will be an apt commentary of the strengths and weaknesses of the book. I've done the first 20 chapters so far, but will start out with the first five here just to see if you like it enough to read more.


Author’s Note


  • I love how he starts out with a correct citation of his sources. Attaboy, Dave.

  • I am already mildly concerned about his attempts to fill the ‘significant gaps’ in the thoughts of the boys. Slightly reassured that he will attempt to do so with the help of experts in criminal psychology who’ve spent years on the case, though.

  • His timeline is based on JeffCo’s estimations? Excuse me while I take my first pinch of salt. I don’t trust JeffCo to be competent enough to determine anything.

  • Now I’m worried. Dave was among the guilty parties in the media blunders. He hopes this book will contribute to setting the story ‘right’. (Shouldn’t it be ‘setting the story straight’?) I’m worried he’s going to dig himself into a very deep grave with this.


Chapter One


  • Mr D is adored by everybody in his school. I get it. He is the adorable man who puts the ‘pal’ in principal.

  • "I am a valued member of Columbine High School. And I am not in this alone." What is this? Is Mr D seriously practising positive affirmation with the entire student body? Does he think it’s going to magically help a bunch of teenagers feel less alone and misunderstood? I’m gonna give the man points for trying.

  • "I care about you." “I love you." Mr D, I know you probably have taken a class in how to motivate your students. I know you’ve probably practiced that speech a million times over. But, all accounts from your school suggest that you and your administrators turned away from anyone who didn’t make some type of precious contribution to the sports-side of it all. Yes, you care about them and you love them. You care and love those who fit into your perfect little world.

  • The “we are COL-um-BINE!"-chant seriously freaks me the fuck out. Anything that needs that much affirmation to be believed makes me feel uneasy. Also, that kind of school spirit would’ve made me want to kill stuff even more.

  • At least Dave recognises that the phrase “the worst school shooting in history" would not have sat well with Eric and Dylan.


Chapter Two


  • This is where the fun begins. This is where the headshaking starts.

  • "Dates were not generally a problem." *has coughing fit* Um, yes, Dave, they were. Eric Harris wasn’t a successful dater. First dates were generally not a big problem, but anything beyond that first date certainly was. Girls thought he was quiet, weird, awkward, whiny.. Doesn’t sound like they had a stellar time with him.

  • "And he got chicks. Lots and lots of chicks." Oh, Dave, you make me laugh. This gave me the very interesting visual of Eric being surrounded by fluffy baby chickens and freaking out over them. (I wish I could draw cartoons. I would’ve drawn you all the most hilarious picture.)

  • He outscored the football team? He walked right up to ‘hotties’ at the mall? He had enough success with them to get to the point where he could invite them over to his workplace for a free slice of pizza? Are we even talking about the same guy here, Dave?

  • "Quick wit, dazzling dimples, and a disarming smile." Dave, honey, I know you share your last name with Edward from Twilight. This does not give you a valid excuse to gush over Eric Harris and make him sparkle with dazzling dimples just like that sad excuse for a vampire.

  • Okay, now you’re correcting yourself and naming what’s ‘wrong’ about Eric’s features. And then you go on to say it worked well with his ‘swagger’. I don’t think I have ever connected the words ‘Eric Harris’ and ‘swagger’ before, but whatever floats your damn boat..

  • He’d scored with a twenty-three-year-old? Eric? IN WHAT UNIVERSE.

  • Dylan would follow quietly after Eric on what you describe as mall conquests? This just painted me a picture of Eric as the creator and Dylan as Frankenstein. Was that what you were going for?

  • Awww, Dylan wasn’t cool. Can I just say that I do love the fact that he had fuzzy little splotches of beard on his chin, though? Can I? Dave, you just made me squee. Are you purposefully trying to endear Dylan to the audience?

  • Hold on, how tall was Eric? I’ve seen everything ranging from 5’6" to 5’11". Dave sets him at 5’9", which makes him just as tall as yours truly.

  • Eric and Dylan were short on athletic ability? From what I’ve read, both boys were decent with sports. They may not have been stellar athletes, but they weren’t disasters on the field!

  • Eric preferred Jack Daniels? I seem to recall a certain scene on the basement tapes where he visibly winces after taking a sip of that. In his diversion program, he cites the drinks After Shock and tequila as ones he’s tried. He claimed to be unappreciative of alcohol. (Certainly true when you compare him with Dylan, who was quite the drinker.)

  • I do like how he’s got their characters correct when it comes to moments of crisis and duress. Eric was the better liar of the two under duress and Dylan was the more unreliable one in terms of employment. Congratulations, Dave, you scored one point.

  • Dylan was the more engaging actor of the two? Maybe so. In the videos they did for film class, he certainly presented whatever character he was playing with relative ease. Eric was a lot more collected and unfazed in comparison. Yet, both boys broke character at least once on the videos we have seen. Dylan comes off as endearing, breaking off mid-rant in Hitmen For Hire, and also as mildly amused by Eric’s failing attempt to look cool during the lighting of a cigarette in another video. Eric, upon forgetting a character’s name, directly looks at the camera and lets slip what I personally consider to be one of his most genuine smiles. I think Eric was the more convincing actor out of the two of them in everyday life: he was a live wire behind the unflappable mask he donned every single day.

  • Dave, you should’ve just stuck to writing things for travel agencies or something. Your description of Columbine’s natural environment makes me want to visit it. Maybe this would be an adequate career switch to consider?

  • I thought that the boys smoked different brands? Eric with the red Camels and Dylan with the Marlboro menthols? Is Dave so delusional that he can’t even get this fact straight?

  • That video of Eric in Columbine shows a lot more than what you describe, Dave. It shows Eric’s absolute boredom with the conversations going on around him, the school environment as a whole when they walk through that group of ‘jocks’(?), Eric’s lack of success in getting a girl he’s interested in to acknowledge him, etc.. It shows so much more than just Eric’s detachment and his random acknowledgement of violence. When you interpret something as crucial as this, you can’t just ‘forget’ about the parts that don’t fit into what you’re trying to tell your audience.

  • I feel sorry for the girl who made it into the book as ‘busty girl’. I really do.


Chapter Three


  • Dave, I repeat: it would be a good idea for you to write for travel agencies. I AM BEGGING YOU.

  • Was Mr D truly this involved in the comings and goings of his students that he would be present in the commons so often? If so, then how the hell did he miss the toxic environment the school provided for a number of students?

  • Thank you for the surveillance cameras, Mr D.

  • Okay, Dave, this chapter was relatively free of problems. Good job. I like how you described the ‘trend’ of school shootings and how you referred to other historical events to illustrate what society was like at the time. If only you were this factual about everything..


Chapter Four


  • Was Eric’s car black? I seem to recall a gray/beige sort of thing? Wasn’t Dylan’s car the black one?

  • Eric’s lack of plans concerning his future are telling, I’ll give you that. Dylan pretended to have everything together for the future and even went to check out ‘his future college’. Who’s the convincing liar now, Dave?

  • I don’t like Dave describing Susan as another one of Eric’s ‘chicks’. I have always considered Susan to be a lovely person who deserves a better description than this tripe.

  • Eric made shift manager.. I am not surprised. He has always been described as a hard worker.

  • "German shit", really now? The bands he listened to aren’t that shitty. (Do we even know for sure if Eric punctuated his high-fives with Nazi-references? Some say he did, some say he didn’t..)

  • CONGRATULATIONS DAVE. I am so fucking proud of you saying that Eric’s weak spot was rejection. His behaviour when he couldn’t get a hold of Susan was very telling, as was his behaviour when she finally called him back. I have to ask you one thing, though: does the conversation he had with Susan over the phone sound like Eric was a ladies man when he went on and on about being stabbed in the back by people? It would’ve been off-putting for a lot of women, let me tell you that..


Chapter Five


  • Okay, I have discovered another problem. I don’t like the way the book is structured. I don’t like how I’m reading about Eric and Dylan one minute and then am thrown back into the stories of everyone else connected with Columbine. I don’t think it ‘works’. Every time I think I have the hang of the narrative, the chapter’s over and I am confronted with a totally different story. This lacks coherency.

  • I really like the description given of Dave Sanders. He seems like a nice guy.

  • It’s interesting to read about how the Littleton community evolved over time and how the population began to include a bigger influx of people throughout the years.

  • "Columbine represented a factory by design." Dave, you’ve outdone yourself: that is one of the best descriptions of the school I have ever read. Thank you.

  • Erm, why did Dave Sanders also teach typing and keyboarding? Are those valid classes to follow or something? How does that work?

  • I really like Dave Sanders. That’s it. I like the description of his teaching methods and I like the description of his family. I love the story about how he got himself new glasses as a means of updating his look and said “I finally made it to 1999". He seems to have been such a kind man.

  • Okay, so we’re also introduced to Patrick Ireland and Cassie Bernall in this chapter. I wonder if Dave spoke with Patrick about the girl he was into at the time and about prom night. The description is so vivid that it makes me think he did. Cassie’s set up to seem a little insecure and mostly friendless.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeSat Jul 20, 2013 9:07 am

Quote :
Mr D is adored by everybody in his school. I get it. He is the adorable man who puts the ‘pal’ in principal.

It's like one big cosmic battle of Good vs. Evil. On one side you've got Mr. D, who's kind of like the Second Coming, and on the other side you've got Eric Harris The Psychopath, his mom dropped him on his head when he was a baby, and he's been possessed by the devil ever since he started listening to Rammstein.

And then you've got poor Dylan in the middle. He was really just a good kid until Eric convinced him "Come over to the dark side, Luke".

Quote :
Okay, I have discovered another problem. I don’t like the way the book is structured. I don’t like how I’m reading about Eric and Dylan one minute and then am thrown back into the stories of everyone else connected with Columbine. I don’t think it ‘works’. Every time I think I have the hang of the narrative, the chapter’s over and I am confronted with a totally different story. This lacks coherency.

True fact: If you put Cullen's book in a blender for a few minutes, the end result will make more sense.

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeSat Jul 20, 2013 2:57 pm

I've undertaken this project myself in the past. I got so frustrated with Cullen's book that I gave it up though. Your take on the book is interesting, I'd love to read more.

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeSat Jul 20, 2013 4:53 pm

This is excellent, thedragonrampant. I hope you continue to share more of your chapter commentaries here.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeSun Jul 21, 2013 3:14 am

thedragonrampant this was an excellent and hilarious post!! Thankyou sooo much for writing this and I hope you do more in the future.

Does anyone else think that Wikipedia is more accurate than Dave Cullen?
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeMon Jul 22, 2013 5:27 am

Thank you very much! I'm glad people enjoy it -- makes it easier to just continue reading, haha. Laughing StinkyOldGrapes, I totally agree that the end result would make more sense if you put this book in a blender first. Love the way you described the cosmic battle.. I think that's exactly what Dave had in mind. Rolling Eyes 

Onto the next batch, then?


Chapter Six

  • The description of Dylan getting ready for prom night makes me want to hurl. This is the same guy who mentioned offhandedly on the basement tapes that he didn’t want to go to prom with Robyn, but that his parents were paying him a good sum for it. And here he is, in Dave’s book, getting ready for the same thing with ‘giddiness’.

  • Dylan really fooled them all at prom, didn’t he? All that talk about reunions and staying in touch.. The more convincing actor, indeed.

  • Okay, somehow I’d always assumed that Event Horizon was some kind of military sci-fi bullshit in the same vein as Transformers and that kind of stuff. It’s horror? Sci-fi horror? Bad sci-fi horror? *facepalms* Eric, dear, we need to talk about your movie picking skills for date nights. Seriously.

  • I really, really like that he didn’t push his luck with Susan and just kissed her goodnight on the cheek. It is the same kind of warm consideration I also saw in Susan’s words to him in her letter post-4/20. What I find very interesting is that nothing in her account of that night remotely suggests Eric’s desperation to connect or any of his usual awkwardness. Maybe he finally found someone willing to listen and hear him out? Someone who was just kind to him? His apology to her on the basement tapes speaks volumes if this was true: under different circumstances, it would’ve been a lot different.

  • Dylan lay it on a bit thick, didn’t he, with all that continuous mentioning of college and the future? Maybe everyone thought he was getting nostalgic? He certainly had everyone fooled that night.


Chapter Seven


  • I think I’d read once before that Littleton had a lot of different churches and religious buildings, but Dave really drives home the point here. This was/is Christianity-central.

  • "Satan was at work in Jefferson County." Does that explain why law enforcement is so incompetent over there?

  • Religion was a big deal, huh.. Columbine even had a Bible Study group. There’s a lot of focus in the community on witnessing to unbelievers, acting as worthy servants to Christ, etc. I wonder how much religion influenced the everyday comings-and-goings. We know that the boys ranted against Christianity and specific believers in their basement tapes, so they obviously must’ve gotten in touch with some overzealous believers in their days at Columbine.

  • Okay, so Cassie transferred into Columbine from a very Christian-minded school. She had apparently begged her parents to make the move, so she could witness to the unbelievers at Columbine. This mindset is actually mildly terrifying to me.

  • This is the first mention of Dwayne Fuselier and the FBI. Yay.


Chapter Eight


  • So, the estimates of the boys as to how many people they’d affect with their bombs were ‘oddly conservative’. This makes me feel even better that this shit didn’t go off on 4/20.

  • I always thought that the decoy plan was a very smart move. Get law enforcement to go elsewhere and you have free reign of the school for a longer period of time. Attaboys.

  • Dylan had been wavering? HOW. Where is the evidence of this gigantic claim, Dave? (Oh, yeah, you forgot to include how on earth you can possibly tell that poor Dylan wants to back away from the bombs..)

  • Dylan was eased into killing? Eased into killing? I can’t. I have lost all ability to can. You do realise that this is the same dude who wrote ‘have fun!’ in the plans for murder, right? You do realise this is the same dude who was planning a killing spree long before Eric even mentioned it, right? How the fuck does your brain work, Dave?

  • Oh, Eric, you and your meticulous planning skills.. I wonder how long it took him to plan everything out and map the locations of the bombs in such a way that there’d be maximum impact upon detonation? He must’ve done an awful lot of calculating to get that just right.

  • 250,000 square feet of school? I am dying. My brain cannot compute. How many football fields go into that? (Keep in mind, people, that I come from a country you can cross north-south and east-west in about four hours. My perspective is different.)

  • I really, really like the meticulous planning that went into this whole 4/20 thing. Have I said that before? However, I cannot comprehend how there was no great thought-out Plan B. Surely Eric, with that type of planning skill at hand, would have taken a bomb failure into account?

  • Oh, finally Dave and I agree on something again. It is also my belief that the boys had been considering this for over a year and that they’d decided on April relatively early on in their plans.

  • “Eric and Dylan expected their attack to puzzle the public, so they left an extraordinary cache of material to explain themselves." Thank the gods for small favours, even if half that cache of material never made it to the public domain. JEFFCO I AM STILL UPSET WITH YOU.

  • Was there ever any evidence that the boys had planned their attack for 4/19? I remember Eric saying that they couldn’t decide whether to do it before or after prom, but I’ve always assumed that 4/20 was pretty much set in stone for a long period of time. I do wonder why he put getting some of the ammo off until the very last moment, though..


Chapter Nine


  • I like the account of Mr D and Dave Sanders talking about coaching and what got them into Columbine and stuff. I think Mr D was one of the interviewees for this book? There’s no way you could get such a detailed account otherwise. I wonder if he made himself sound better than he actually was at the time?

  • Mr D has a head on his shoulders after all. “You can’t really teach a kid anything: you can only show him the way and motivate him to learn it himself."

  • Aww, Dave Sanders was cutting back his hours and planning to take the entire summer off to spend more time with his family. That just tugs at my heartstrings.

  • The account of regrets.. not having spoken or said goodbye to someone.. just blowing someone a kiss from the driveway rather than giving them a physical kiss.. That’s the thing that gets to me most about these stories. It’s all those things that make you go “what if".


Chapter Ten


  • Eric, why the flipping fuck did you put off acquiring your shit for the bombs until the very last minute? Did it just slip your mind that maybe you needed a little more time to build a successful one?

  • No, I get not wanting to be caught. In fact, I have a hard time understanding how his parents missed all that stuff stashed away in his room. By all accounts, it was an arsenal of stuff. They’d already caught him with minor stuff before. Surely they would’ve kept a closer eye on it?

  • I want to hear that cassette Eric left on the kitchen counter. I really do.

  • They hadn’t even gotten to the school yet and they were already running behind on schedule. You’d think that they would’ve tested how long it took them to get from there to there and stuff, right? Maybe the planning was less meticulous in that sense. (Do you hear me headdesking here, boys? SERIOUSLY YOU HAD ONE JOB COME ON.)

  • Even here, in the midst of describing the morning of 4/20, Dave cannot resist another shot at Eric being a chick magnet. It tires me out. DAVE ONE MORE MENTION OF THIS AND I WILL SHOW UP AT YOUR HOUSE WITH A SHOVEL.

  • I’ve always wondered how nobody noticed them carrying those huge duffel bags into the cafeteria. Wouldn’t it have seemed weird to anyone that the bags were just dropped off at seemingly random places?

  • Okay, the 8-minute gap in the surveillance footage is something that suddenly makes all the conspiracy theories seem this much clearer.

  • Quite a few people had a break in routine that day, including Patrick Ireland and Cassie Bernall. It placed them in locations they normally wouldn’t have been in at that point in time. That’s actually really sad.

  • There was a deputy assigned full-time to Columbine? Why? Is that normal standard practice in US schools or something?

  • The diversionary bomb fizzled out because it was moved by someone working in the area. Okay. That must’ve been a really unstable bomb, though, because I’d usually assume that a fucking propane tank would remain attached to it even upon being moved. See, Eric, you should’ve constructed this shit a little earlier.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeMon Jul 22, 2013 8:45 am

Another excellent and hilarious post. I enjoyed reading the part about Event Horizon. What was Eric thinking when picking out that movie for a date?!?! He should have let Susan chose the movie instead. But other than that it sounded like the date went really well.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeMon Jul 22, 2013 7:40 pm

catherineM813 wrote:
Another excellent and hilarious post. I enjoyed reading the part about Event Horizon. What was Eric thinking when picking out that movie for a date?!?! He should have let Susan chose the movie instead. But other than that it sounded like the date went really well.

It's funny because back in the day, I remember I looved Event Horizon. I went to go see it at the theater, and twice.
I guess I had similar taste in movies with Eric.  Who'da thunk.

I thought it interesting what Sasha Jacobs had to say about how she controlled movie choices on date night with Eric. Good for her!  I wonder what sorts of films he had to endure! Razz 

Jacobs stated on their dates they would normally go to the movies and she picked the movies they would attend.  She did not like violent movies and on their dates they did not attend any. She advised they would normally go out one night per week and the other night Harris would go out with Klebold and see movies such as Pulp Fiction, Natural Born Killers, Reservoir Dogs, etc.

Maybe sappy chick flicks like "She's All That" with Freddie Prinze Jr.  "A high school jock makes a bet that he can turn an unattractive girl into the school's prom queen."  
or "Top Ten Things I Hate About You"   No, wait, he might actually enjoy that one.   Or, oh, "Cruel Intentions"   LOLz
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeMon Jul 22, 2013 8:36 pm

10 Things I Hate About You is an awesome 90's movie and it's based after Shakespeare so Eric might have liked it. But She's All That, 10 Things and Cruel Intentions came out the spring of 1999 so Eric and Sasha wouldn't have seen those movies together. If it were me and I had movie date night with Eric I would have been like Sasha and made him watch those movies too. But most likely we would alternate who chooses.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeMon Jul 22, 2013 8:45 pm

Yeah, I know, they're spring '99.  I was just mentioning cheesy teen dramas or chick girl flicks.  Any of those would be highly amusing circa '97 - 99.  Eric would be enduring them.  'Cept you're right, maybe he'd like 10 Things for the Shakespeare.

I even wonder if E & D ever did see The Matrix.  I know Devon had plans to see it with Dylan the Saturday after 4/20.  I wonder if he and Eric already saw it though.   I know the media ran with the idea that they were influenced by it but it released March 31.  That movie is so up their alley - and I don't just mean the trench coat shoot up scene but also the 'self awareness' thing Neo goes through with the red/blue pill thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeMon Jul 22, 2013 8:57 pm

Sorry I misunderstood what you were saying. And I'm positive Eric wouldn't want to sit through a cheesy teen movie. But maybe he would have been willing to do so for a girl he really liked and cared for.

I haven't seen the Matrix but it does sound like a movie they would both enjoy.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeMon Jul 22, 2013 10:02 pm

CatherineM813 wrote:


I haven't seen the Matrix but it does sound like a movie they would both enjoy.  

Wow, you should definitely see The Matrix! Worth renting as a 90s movie.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeMon Jul 29, 2013 12:33 am

Good summarization. I only made it through the first two chapters.

But yeah, keyboarding and typing is a valid class. It's required at my high school. And full time deputies at schools actually are very common nowadays; I have no clue what it was like in 1999.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeMon Jul 29, 2013 11:07 pm

At my high school keyboarding and typing are not valid classes, Maybe depends on what state or city your in.

I have this book I didn't make it too far, Cullen is real piece of work. I kind of feel like this whole thing happened in his head and that's how he remembers it.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeMon Jul 29, 2013 11:43 pm

My high school (Fall 1998 - Spring 2002) had a keyboarding class as an elective. We never had a deputy at school, before or after Columbine. Even now they don't have one. But I don't think it's uncommon at schools in more metropolitan areas.

AceOfCards wrote:
I kind of feel like this whole thing happened in his head and that's how he remembers it.

I like the way you put it. We all have our own perceptions of a situation, influenced by past experiences and knowledge and prejudices etc, and I would agree that this is genuinely how Cullen remembered it. For me, it almost reads like a work of fiction. But hey, I have my own ideas that may or may not be accurate.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeTue Jul 30, 2013 1:37 am

thedragonrampant wrote:
Dylan was eased into killing? Eased into killing? I can’t. I have lost all ability to can. You do realise that this is the same dude who wrote ‘have fun!’ in the plans for murder, right?

According to Cullen, Dylan didn't mean to write "have fun". In fact, if you have a look at the journal entry, you'll see there is a line underneath those words -Dylan was trying to cross them out, but he was a bit drunk at the time and missed.

Satanic Eric tempted Dylan to take a bite of the forbidden apple of mass-murder, and the poor guy just couldn't resist taking a chomp. Eric: "Dylan, remember that time you wouldn't try my spicy omelette, but then once you tried it, you realized you liked it? Well, the same applies to vicious mass-murder..." It's that easy to turn a good kid bad.

While Cullen's so keen on giving out posthumous mental illness diagnoses, why not give poor deceived Dylan a post traumatic stress disorder diagnosis? I'm sure that getting tricked into shooting that kid point blank in the face would have given Dylan reoccurring nightmares and flashbacks if he'd still been alive.

thedragonrampant, if you've got the time, have a read of the "Psychopathy" chapter and let everyone know what you think of that one Very Happy 

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeTue Jul 30, 2013 1:59 pm

Thanks very much once again! I have finished up to chapter 35 in the book as we speak, so more is on the way. The psychopathy chapter seems to be in the next batch I have to read, so I'll just continue through the book chronologically. (It'll be interesting to see how much worse it can get. Rolling Eyes I already had an issue with earlier chapters, most noteably chapters 25 and 30, so I bet you won't be disappointed once I post my thoughts on the psychopathy one..) StinkyOldGrapes, your commentary made me laugh! It is mostly Fuselier I take up issue with in later chapters, to be quite honest, but the fact that Dave is willfully making Dylan out to be that good guy is something I can't really condone either. I believe that both Dave and Fuselier were far too closely involved in the case from the get-go, which is why this book and the official investigation are not objective enough. Ugh.

In regards to movies, I think both boys would've loved the later batches of sci-fi/dystopian stuff. (I'm thinking movies like The Matrix, V For Vendetta, Watchmen, Children of Men, perhaps even The Fountain and Sin City..) It's a pity they weren't around to see those. It'd be interesting to see if they would've taken ideas and concepts from those if they had been available to them at the time.

Keyboarding and typing were part of the IT-class here, but not given as separate subjects. The differences between the Dutch education and the US education can be quite big in some cases, which is why I will sometimes note my own confusion about how it all works throughout the read as well. It's inconceivable to me that a school would be large enough for it to have its own assigned deputy. (It took me the longest time to figure out how classes and such are structured in the US. The schedules/classes of the boys puzzled me quite a bit. Laughing )

And, now, onto the third batch!

Chapter Eleven


  • Eric, you should’ve had a goddamn plan B. I’m glad you didn’t, but you should’ve.

  • "The bomb failure appears to have rattled one of the boys.

    No one observed what happened next. Either boy might have panicked, but Eric was unflappable, the reverse of his partner. The physical evidence also points to Dylan. Eric apparently acted swiftly to retrieve his emotional young partner."

    I am quoting this shit in its entirety to show you the kind of fucked-up Cullen logic I have to deal with here. First he says that the bomb failure appears to have rattled one of the boys. I’m kinda thinking it would’ve rattled both of them, but I’m willing to let this slide. HOWEVER. Then he says ‘no one observed what happened next’. If there’s no one to observe what happened, then how the fuck would you know that one of them appeared to have been rattled by the failure? Eric may have been unflappable on the outside, but I’m willing to bet the life of my firstborn child on the fact that he was flailing wildly on the inside. I DON’T BET ON THE LIFE OF MY FIRSTBORN CHILD LIGHTLY DAVE. Also, physical evidence. Physical evidence pointing to Dylan as the one who freaked out? WHERE. CITE ME YOUR SOURCES. Also cannot get over Eric retrieving ‘his emotional young partner’. I don’t know why that makes me giggle, but it does.

  • Okay, I’m willing to let description of outside events go because ballistics clearly show that Eric fired more shots outside in comparison with Dylan. Yay, Dave, you got something right.

  • DAVE I AM UPSET AGAIN. How is it that you can describe Eric’s shots and his moves and everything in perfect detail, but the moment we get to Lance Kirklin you suddenly revert to describing ‘the gunman’ who said “sure, I’ll help"? Allow me to help you out here: your precious Dylan was the one who shot Lance in the face at point-blank range. Was that really so hard to say?

  • Dave Sanders.. I adore you, you brave man. You brave, brave man. You probably saved a lot of people’s lives that day.

  • Okay, so, Dylan was in the cafeteria alone. He was in easy firing range concerning quite a few people. Dave describes him as ‘losing his nerve’, but I’m pretty sure that by that time the boys were flailing about the bombs and wanting to see if nothing went off/fizzled in the cafeteria. Dylan’s not described as going near the bombs, but this felt more like a cursory sweep to me than anything else.

  • Deputy Gardner was first on the scene. It must’ve been pretty confusing for him driving up to the school and seeing kids run and smoke rise and such.

  • Patti Nielson actually went to tell one of the gunmen (Eric) to knock it off. I don’t know why that cracked me up just now. A kid named Brian tagged along with her and I have no idea why this is important enough to mention.

  • Another teacher, Rich Long, had made it to the library before Patti did and warned the kids there to run and get out of there. He then fled to warn others. Patti did the opposite once she made it to the library: she ordered everyone down. That was not a stellar decision day for her, was it? At least she had the sense to call 911.

  • Eric really was a shit shot, wasn’t he? Reading that description of his shoot-out with Gardner makes me think he should’ve spent a little more time learning to take aim and fire correctly.

  • Dave Sanders, I continue to like everything about you. Trying to clear everyone out of the line of fire without a thought for yourself. You brave man.


Chapter Twelve


  • The story took twenty-eight minutes to make it into the media. By the time coverage started, the gunfire and explosions were still going on inside the school.

  • 911 operators were so overwhelmed that people started calling the media instead.. I don’t know why you’d even think about that in a moment of crisis.

  • I really like how it immediately became clear that the boys were shooting at random and not caring who they hit.

  • Ahh, the famed reports of multiple shooters came flooding in. I expect half of that is because the boys took their dusters off.

  • That poor air-conditioner guy being seen as the rooftop gunman, though.. Can you imagine just working on the AC like no big deal and suddenly everyone’s in a frenzy because they think you have a gun?

  • Poor Nate.. I can’t imagine what was going through his mind as reports solidified and he started to connect the dots between the shooting and Eric/Dylan. I can imagine he called other people first before he tried calling Dylan..

  • Okay, so Eric actually reappeared in the doorway as Gardner got back-up. Eric retreated as soon as the back-up started to fire at him.

  • Some of the very early on-scene witness statements seem to have been far more correct than some of the later witness statements were. It’s a shame that nobody thought about taking the statements down for later follow-up in the middle of all that panic, though.

  • Protocol asked for containment and setting up a perimeter. I’m so glad that they altered this police protocol after Columbine, because we’ve all seen how well that works..

  • Apparently, the weapons of the boys were ‘sophisticated’. That’s a big word for crap guns and failed bombs.

  • I’m not at all sure that JeffCo’s response was the way to go here. I think they had no clue what they were doing.


Chapter Thirteen


  • The Bernalls lived pretty close to school. It must’ve been terrifying for Cassie’s dad to see the police pile into the schoolyard knowing his daughter was at school right then..

  • I love how the community immediately reacted by letting the fleeing students into their houses. That was a lovely thing to do.

  • The chaos of the waiting and the reuniting of families is actually something Dave describes beautifully.

  • One witness claimed she hadn’t been scared because Mr D had been right with them at the time. Whatever makes you feel safe, I guess?

  • Okay, so the sheriff was actually newly elected and was more of a bureaucrat than anything else. Why does that not surprise me?

  • They had SWAT teams on the scene this early and didn’t allow them to advance? WHAT THE FUCK ELSE ARE THEY FOR? TO SIT THERE AND LOOK IMPORTANT AND PRETTY?

  • Just after noon, they let the SWAT team in at the wrong side of the school. Apparently, they were unaware the school had been remodeled ALMOST FOUR YEARS PRIOR TO THIS DAY. Every time I think JeffCo can’t surprise me anymore, they do..

  • It would take them three hours to reach Eric and Dylan. This reinforces my belief that you should not have a fucking 250,000 square feet school anywhere, okay.

  • Yay for the fire department and the paramedics! I am complaining about everything going to hell in a handbasket here, but they actually did manage to go check out the deceased and injured outside on the side where E/D were still actively shooting. It took them a while, sure, but at least they didn’t take fucking three hours..

  • Oh finally somebody had the common sense to just charge at the correct part of the school and make it into the cafeteria. *facepalms* How the fuck did nobody notice the duffel bags, though? One of them had even burned away and left the propane tank exposed.

  • Okay, so they’re finally evacuating the people still left hiding out in the cafeteria. Some time after 1:15. How utterly terrified must they have been all that time? (And how on earth did Eric and Dylan not notice them when they made their way back to the cafeteria?)

  • Around noon, Nate finally picked up the phone to call the Klebolds. That was such a brave thing to do, especially because Tom Klebold still had no idea what was going on and Nate had to be the one to break the news to him. I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like to tell Dylan’s dad that you think his son was involved in the shooting.

  • Tom Klebold also called 911 to tell them about his son’s involvement. Is there any transcript or something of this the way there is about Wayne Harris’s call?

  • Okay, so media coverage was running about an hour behind on the information law enforcement possessed. “Everybody seemed to be milling around." That’s exactly what they were doing.. milling around. Apt description.

  • They chose to withhold some of the information made available because they didn’t know if the gunmen had access to a TV. That’s actually quite clever. The public remained unaware of the magnitude of what was going on.

  • The “1 bleeding to death"-sign breaks my heart into a gazillion little pieces.


Chapter Fourteen


  • Word filtered out in the media around 1pm about kids being held hostage? Reports were conflicted, but most claimed that the kids were being held in ‘the commons’. That being the cafeteria. Which law enforcement then entered after 1:15 with the possible risk of upsetting a hostage situation? WHAT. No wonder everybody got confused. I can’t even follow the chaos Dave is describing here.

  • Another story then followed about kids being stuck in the choir room. The number of students hiding in the school was 200-300. Reporters had no idea: they thought maybe 20-30 kids were still inside.

  • The cops knew hundreds of their witnesses were still stuck inside that school. They had no means of getting to them, but their witnesses were speaking with the media about their experiences through cellphones. Then they had something additional to worry about: if the kids could see them on TV, so could the shooters. The news stations finally cooperated with them and told the kids to turn their TVs down or off.

  • “The fundamental experience for most of America was almost witnessing mass murder. It was the panic and frustration of not knowing, the mounting terror of horror withheld, just out of view. We would learn the truth about Columbine, but we would not learn it today. "

    Dave, you’re literally obstructing the truth about Columbine almost single-handedly nowadays. Although I do like your description of the experience for everyone stuck outside the school waiting, following the news, etc..

  • The narrative shown in the news wasn’t accurate. The media speculated. It’d take months and even years to piece together exactly what happened and why.


Chapter Fifteen


  • Kate Battan actually seems to have a head on her shoulders in this crisis. She compiled dossiers on both Eric and Dylan, seeing as they were named time and time again as the shooters, and dispatched teams to the homes of the boys.

  • The Harrises were uncooperative and even tried to refuse law enforcement entrance to their home. Eric’s mom didn’t want them to go down into the basement. I have always wondered why. Had they gone down there before law enforcement showed up and seen the chaos in the room, or why?

  • The cops smelled gas and had to go back out and resume their search later. (Why was there a gas smell?) In Eric’s room, they found chaos: a sawed-off shotgun barrel, ammo, fireworks, bomb materials.. Out in the open. Out in the fucking open. An evidence specialist spent four hours shooting seven rolls of film inside Eric’s room alone.

  • The Klebolds were a lot more communicative with law enforcement and even gave accounts of Dylan’s past and his friendships. The only thing they found at Dylan’s house that shocked the Klebolds were pipe bombs. (I can see how this might lead some people to believe that Dylan was not as involved in the case as Eric. Eric’s room certainly was the more incriminating.)

  • Here comes Fuselier from the FBI.. but he’s not officially involved just yet. His son’s in Columbine. I didn’t know this bit! Oh, and his son’s apparently called Brian so that makes me think that his son’s the one who accompanied Patti to see Eric.

  • Okay, I get it, Fuselier is not your standard arrogant Fed. He reads Shakespeare in abridged form. He likes local cops. He goes off to Columbine because he’s specialised in hostage and nonhostage situations. So far, so good with this guy.

  • I do like the description of how JeffCo labelled this as a hostage standoff and how Fuselier immediately knew this wasn’t the case and that what he was going to see would be much worse. To nonhostage gunmen, humans mean nothing. “The potential for homicide followed by suicide in many of these cases is very high." Did the FBI get something right? I think they did!

  • I can’t imagine how scary it must’ve been for Chris Morris and everyone else who was friends with Eric and Dylan to realise that their friends were involved in the worst possible way. The conspiracy theories flying around would implicate them, too.

  • The reporters thought of the boys as a single entity: were they loners, were they outcasts, etc. Always ‘they’. They thought of them as fitting the profile for school shooters, not knowing that the original plan was a bombing..

  • Fuselier didn’t think about the boys as a single unit. He knew it was far more likely that he’d find a pair of polar opposites in the building. There might be one motive for Eric and another completely different motive for Dylan. So far, I’m not feeling too angry about Fuselier’s role and knowledge.

  • The first mention of the TCM is here and the media immediately turns it into a bizarre circus based on the testimony of someone who didn’t even know the people he was describing. (Do you want to bet money on the fact that Dave was one of the circus monkeys? Like that freakazoid monkey from Toy Story 3?)

  • Please tell me this is the last of the confusing chapters.. I am getting tired of having to read back and reread again just to make sense of the narrative. Dave, honey, would it really have been such a problem to at least stick to the timeline instead of skipping back and forth between 11am and noon and 1pm and so on? I AM SO CONFUSED I WANT TO CRY.
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Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Empty
PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeTue Jul 30, 2013 3:01 pm

thedragonrampant wrote:
Thanks very much once again! I have finished up to chapter 35 in the book as we speak, so more is on the way. The psychopathy chapter seems to be in the next batch I have to read, so I'll just continue through the book chronologically. (It'll be interesting to see how much worse it can get. Rolling Eyes I already had an issue with earlier chapters, most noteably chapters 25 and 30, so I bet you won't be disappointed once I post my thoughts on the psychopathy one..) StinkyOldGrapes, your commentary made me laugh! It is mostly Fuselier I take up issue with in later chapters, to be quite honest, but the fact that Dave is willfully making Dylan out to be that good guy is something I can't really condone either. I believe that both Dave and Fuselier were far too closely involved in the case from the get-go, which is why this book and the official investigation are not objective enough. Ugh.

In regards to movies, I think both boys would've loved the later batches of sci-fi/dystopian stuff. (I'm thinking movies like The Matrix, V For Vendetta, Watchmen, Children of Men, perhaps even The Fountain and Sin City..) It's a pity they weren't around to see those. It'd be interesting to see if they would've taken ideas and concepts from those if they had been available to them at the time.

Keyboarding and typing were part of the IT-class here, but not given as separate subjects. The differences between the Dutch education and the US education can be quite big in some cases, which is why I will sometimes note my own confusion about how it all works throughout the read as well. It's inconceivable to me that a school would be large enough for it to have its own assigned deputy. (It took me the longest time to figure out how classes and such are structured in the US. The schedules/classes of the boys puzzled me quite a bit. Laughing )

And, now, onto the third batch!

Chapter Eleven


  • Eric, you should’ve had a goddamn plan B. I’m glad you didn’t, but you should’ve.



  • "The bomb failure appears to have rattled one of the boys.

    No one observed what happened next. Either boy might have panicked, but Eric was unflappable, the reverse of his partner. The physical evidence also points to Dylan. Eric apparently acted swiftly to retrieve his emotional young partner."

    I am quoting this shit in its entirety to show you the kind of fucked-up Cullen logic I have to deal with here. First he says that the bomb failure appears to have rattled one of the boys. I’m kinda thinking it would’ve rattled both of them, but I’m willing to let this slide. HOWEVER. Then he says ‘no one observed what happened next’. If there’s no one to observe what happened, then how the fuck would you know that one of them appeared to have been rattled by the failure? Eric may have been unflappable on the outside, but I’m willing to bet the life of my firstborn child on the fact that he was flailing wildly on the inside. I DON’T BET ON THE LIFE OF MY FIRSTBORN CHILD LIGHTLY DAVE. Also, physical evidence. Physical evidence pointing to Dylan as the one who freaked out? WHERE. CITE ME YOUR SOURCES. Also cannot get over Eric retrieving ‘his emotional young partner’. I don’t know why that makes me giggle, but it does.



  • Okay, I’m willing to let description of outside events go because ballistics clearly show that Eric fired more shots outside in comparison with Dylan. Yay, Dave, you got something right.



  • DAVE I AM UPSET AGAIN. How is it that you can describe Eric’s shots and his moves and everything in perfect detail, but the moment we get to Lance Kirklin you suddenly revert to describing ‘the gunman’ who said “sure, I’ll help"? Allow me to help you out here: your precious Dylan was the one who shot Lance in the face at point-blank range. Was that really so hard to say?



  • Dave Sanders.. I adore you, you brave man. You brave, brave man. You probably saved a lot of people’s lives that day.



  • Okay, so, Dylan was in the cafeteria alone. He was in easy firing range concerning quite a few people. Dave describes him as ‘losing his nerve’, but I’m pretty sure that by that time the boys were flailing about the bombs and wanting to see if nothing went off/fizzled in the cafeteria. Dylan’s not described as going near the bombs, but this felt more like a cursory sweep to me than anything else.



  • Deputy Gardner was first on the scene. It must’ve been pretty confusing for him driving up to the school and seeing kids run and smoke rise and such.



  • Patti Nielson actually went to tell one of the gunmen (Eric) to knock it off. I don’t know why that cracked me up just now. A kid named Brian tagged along with her and I have no idea why this is important enough to mention.



  • Another teacher, Rich Long, had made it to the library before Patti did and warned the kids there to run and get out of there. He then fled to warn others. Patti did the opposite once she made it to the library: she ordered everyone down. That was not a stellar decision day for her, was it? At least she had the sense to call 911.



  • Eric really was a shit shot, wasn’t he? Reading that description of his shoot-out with Gardner makes me think he should’ve spent a little more time learning to take aim and fire correctly.



  • Dave Sanders, I continue to like everything about you. Trying to clear everyone out of the line of fire without a thought for yourself. You brave man.




Chapter Twelve


  • The story took twenty-eight minutes to make it into the media. By the time coverage started, the gunfire and explosions were still going on inside the school.



  • 911 operators were so overwhelmed that people started calling the media instead.. I don’t know why you’d even think about that in a moment of crisis.



  • I really like how it immediately became clear that the boys were shooting at random and not caring who they hit.



  • Ahh, the famed reports of multiple shooters came flooding in. I expect half of that is because the boys took their dusters off.



  • That poor air-conditioner guy being seen as the rooftop gunman, though.. Can you imagine just working on the AC like no big deal and suddenly everyone’s in a frenzy because they think you have a gun?



  • Poor Nate.. I can’t imagine what was going through his mind as reports solidified and he started to connect the dots between the shooting and Eric/Dylan. I can imagine he called other people first before he tried calling Dylan..



  • Okay, so Eric actually reappeared in the doorway as Gardner got back-up. Eric retreated as soon as the back-up started to fire at him.



  • Some of the very early on-scene witness statements seem to have been far more correct than some of the later witness statements were. It’s a shame that nobody thought about taking the statements down for later follow-up in the middle of all that panic, though.



  • Protocol asked for containment and setting up a perimeter. I’m so glad that they altered this police protocol after Columbine, because we’ve all seen how well that works..



  • Apparently, the weapons of the boys were ‘sophisticated’. That’s a big word for crap guns and failed bombs.



  • I’m not at all sure that JeffCo’s response was the way to go here. I think they had no clue what they were doing.




Chapter Thirteen


  • The Bernalls lived pretty close to school. It must’ve been terrifying for Cassie’s dad to see the police pile into the schoolyard knowing his daughter was at school right then..



  • I love how the community immediately reacted by letting the fleeing students into their houses. That was a lovely thing to do.



  • The chaos of the waiting and the reuniting of families is actually something Dave describes beautifully.



  • One witness claimed she hadn’t been scared because Mr D had been right with them at the time. Whatever makes you feel safe, I guess?



  • Okay, so the sheriff was actually newly elected and was more of a bureaucrat than anything else. Why does that not surprise me?



  • They had SWAT teams on the scene this early and didn’t allow them to advance? WHAT THE FUCK ELSE ARE THEY FOR? TO SIT THERE AND LOOK IMPORTANT AND PRETTY?



  • Just after noon, they let the SWAT team in at the wrong side of the school. Apparently, they were unaware the school had been remodeled ALMOST FOUR YEARS PRIOR TO THIS DAY. Every time I think JeffCo can’t surprise me anymore, they do..



  • It would take them three hours to reach Eric and Dylan. This reinforces my belief that you should not have a fucking 250,000 square feet school anywhere, okay.



  • Yay for the fire department and the paramedics! I am complaining about everything going to hell in a handbasket here, but they actually did manage to go check out the deceased and injured outside on the side where E/D were still actively shooting. It took them a while, sure, but at least they didn’t take fucking three hours..



  • Oh finally somebody had the common sense to just charge at the correct part of the school and make it into the cafeteria. *facepalms* How the fuck did nobody notice the duffel bags, though? One of them had even burned away and left the propane tank exposed.



  • Okay, so they’re finally evacuating the people still left hiding out in the cafeteria. Some time after 1:15. How utterly terrified must they have been all that time? (And how on earth did Eric and Dylan not notice them when they made their way back to the cafeteria?)



  • Around noon, Nate finally picked up the phone to call the Klebolds. That was such a brave thing to do, especially because Tom Klebold still had no idea what was going on and Nate had to be the one to break the news to him. I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like to tell Dylan’s dad that you think his son was involved in the shooting.



  • Tom Klebold also called 911 to tell them about his son’s involvement. Is there any transcript or something of this the way there is about Wayne Harris’s call?



  • Okay, so media coverage was running about an hour behind on the information law enforcement possessed. “Everybody seemed to be milling around." That’s exactly what they were doing.. milling around. Apt description.



  • They chose to withhold some of the information made available because they didn’t know if the gunmen had access to a TV. That’s actually quite clever. The public remained unaware of the magnitude of what was going on.



  • The “1 bleeding to death"-sign breaks my heart into a gazillion little pieces.




Chapter Fourteen


  • Word filtered out in the media around 1pm about kids being held hostage? Reports were conflicted, but most claimed that the kids were being held in ‘the commons’. That being the cafeteria. Which law enforcement then entered after 1:15 with the possible risk of upsetting a hostage situation? WHAT. No wonder everybody got confused. I can’t even follow the chaos Dave is describing here.



  • Another story then followed about kids being stuck in the choir room. The number of students hiding in the school was 200-300. Reporters had no idea: they thought maybe 20-30 kids were still inside.



  • The cops knew hundreds of their witnesses were still stuck inside that school. They had no means of getting to them, but their witnesses were speaking with the media about their experiences through cellphones. Then they had something additional to worry about: if the kids could see them on TV, so could the shooters. The news stations finally cooperated with them and told the kids to turn their TVs down or off.



  • “The fundamental experience for most of America was almost witnessing mass murder. It was the panic and frustration of not knowing, the mounting terror of horror withheld, just out of view. We would learn the truth about Columbine, but we would not learn it today. "

    Dave, you’re literally obstructing the truth about Columbine almost single-handedly nowadays. Although I do like your description of the experience for everyone stuck outside the school waiting, following the news, etc..



  • The narrative shown in the news wasn’t accurate. The media speculated. It’d take months and even years to piece together exactly what happened and why.




Chapter Fifteen


  • Kate Battan actually seems to have a head on her shoulders in this crisis. She compiled dossiers on both Eric and Dylan, seeing as they were named time and time again as the shooters, and dispatched teams to the homes of the boys.



  • The Harrises were uncooperative and even tried to refuse law enforcement entrance to their home. Eric’s mom didn’t want them to go down into the basement. I have always wondered why. Had they gone down there before law enforcement showed up and seen the chaos in the room, or why?



  • The cops smelled gas and had to go back out and resume their search later. (Why was there a gas smell?) In Eric’s room, they found chaos: a sawed-off shotgun barrel, ammo, fireworks, bomb materials.. Out in the open. Out in the fucking open. An evidence specialist spent four hours shooting seven rolls of film inside Eric’s room alone.



  • The Klebolds were a lot more communicative with law enforcement and even gave accounts of Dylan’s past and his friendships. The only thing they found at Dylan’s house that shocked the Klebolds were pipe bombs. (I can see how this might lead some people to believe that Dylan was not as involved in the case as Eric. Eric’s room certainly was the more incriminating.)



  • Here comes Fuselier from the FBI.. but he’s not officially involved just yet. His son’s in Columbine. I didn’t know this bit! Oh, and his son’s apparently called Brian so that makes me think that his son’s the one who accompanied Patti to see Eric.



  • Okay, I get it, Fuselier is not your standard arrogant Fed. He reads Shakespeare in abridged form. He likes local cops. He goes off to Columbine because he’s specialised in hostage and nonhostage situations. So far, so good with this guy.



  • I do like the description of how JeffCo labelled this as a hostage standoff and how Fuselier immediately knew this wasn’t the case and that what he was going to see would be much worse. To nonhostage gunmen, humans mean nothing. “The potential for homicide followed by suicide in many of these cases is very high." Did the FBI get something right? I think they did!



  • I can’t imagine how scary it must’ve been for Chris Morris and everyone else who was friends with Eric and Dylan to realise that their friends were involved in the worst possible way. The conspiracy theories flying around would implicate them, too.



  • The reporters thought of the boys as a single entity: were they loners, were they outcasts, etc. Always ‘they’. They thought of them as fitting the profile for school shooters, not knowing that the original plan was a bombing..



  • Fuselier didn’t think about the boys as a single unit. He knew it was far more likely that he’d find a pair of polar opposites in the building. There might be one motive for Eric and another completely different motive for Dylan. So far, I’m not feeling too angry about Fuselier’s role and knowledge.



  • The first mention of the TCM is here and the media immediately turns it into a bizarre circus based on the testimony of someone who didn’t even know the people he was describing. (Do you want to bet money on the fact that Dave was one of the circus monkeys? Like that freakazoid monkey from Toy Story 3?)



  • Please tell me this is the last of the confusing chapters.. I am getting tired of having to read back and reread again just to make sense of the narrative. Dave, honey, would it really have been such a problem to at least stick to the timeline instead of skipping back and forth between 11am and noon and 1pm and so on? I AM SO CONFUSED I WANT TO CRY.



lol! That was Great! I feel like this should be a book. His emotional young partner part made me laugh so hard. Thanks for the laugh!
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Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Empty
PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeTue Jul 30, 2013 3:28 pm

Someone should send this to Cullen's Facebook as the definitive bible review of Cullenbine. Twisted Evil 
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Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Empty
PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeMon Aug 05, 2013 4:17 am

Quote :
I do like the description of how JeffCo labelled this as a hostage standoff and how Fuselier immediately knew this wasn’t the case and that what he was going to see would be much worse. To nonhostage gunmen, humans mean nothing. “The potential for homicide followed by suicide in many of these cases is very high." Did the FBI get something right? I think they did!

Yes, Fuselier. We're dealing with a real brain here. He's listening to an open 911 call of E/D shouting "Ha Ha Ha! Let's kill everyone!" and Mr. Fuselier turns to his fellow cops and says, "You know folks, I'm starting to think that this isn't a hostage situation." Someone give this guy an Einstein award.

There were a whole heap of school shootings in the 90s. In none of those cities did the police feel that the protocol demanded them to "contain the perimeter". In none of the other cities did the police wait for an FBI guy to show up and tell them that two teenage jackasses running around their school with guns shooting anything that moved probably weren't there to take hostages.

As for the SWAT team. Pathetic! I only wish that I could be so fearsome that 500+ heavily armed SWAT professionals were too afraid to engage me. Someone should write a book titled "Eric and Dylan's guide to Psychological Warfare".

Quote :
The “1 bleeding to death"-sign breaks my heart into a gazillion little pieces.

Unfortunately, it didn't have the same effect on the SWAT team. They were certain that Eric and Dylan were setting a trap for them, and used this as further excuse not to enter the building.

Quote :
DAVE I AM UPSET AGAIN. How is it that you can describe Eric’s shots and his moves and everything in perfect detail, but the moment we get to Lance Kirklin you suddenly revert to describing ‘the gunman’ who said “sure, I’ll help"?

It gets worse than that. Cullen completely skips over the shooting spree in the library and doesn't discuss it at all. This is because Cullen would be forced to to tell the world how Dylan behaved, and he doesn't want to do that. People who read Cullen's book never hear ANY of what Dylan said during the shooting.

Cullen also doesn't mention that E/D let John Savage go.

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeFri Aug 09, 2013 8:56 am

Hey thedragonrampant, have you got time to write more? I'm really keen to hear what you think when you get to the "Psychopathy" chapter...

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeFri Aug 09, 2013 9:39 am

Ugh, I kept holding out hope for Dave's description of the library events thinking he couldn't possibly excuse Dylan there.. Rolling Eyes Just goes to show how much I underestimate this book. Law enforcement doesn't really come off too well in this account, though. I think Dave tries to make them sound better than they were, but even he can't gloss over the facts that they fucked up big time there.

I haven't written much lately due to some personal circumstances I won't bore you with, but looking to get back to it some time this week. I do have some more chapter batches to share, though, so hopefully this tides you all over a little until then. ;) The batch from this post was relatively unproblematic overall, but the following three batches are the stuff nightmares are made of.

Chapter Sixteen

  • Oh thank the gods we’re back in longer and non-confusing scenes. My prayers were answered.

  • Wow, some of the girls (including Danny Rohrbough’s stepsister) Dave mentions in this had a really close call with Dylan and Eric. They hadn’t been warned – how did they miss the sounds of gunfire and such, though? — and pretty much walked straight into their paths. Mr D was around, too, and shepherded the girls to safety amid more gunfire. I don’t know if Mr D is trying to make himself sound better, but if his account is true then I really just like him for wanting to turn back into the school in order to get more students to safety.

  • By the time they ran into Mr D, they’d both taken their dusters off. Dylan was still wearing his cap.

  • The first symptom of PTSD was already taking hold in Mr D the minute he left the scene to be with his family? Hold on just one damn second, Dave. It is perfectly normal for anyone who’s been exposed to trauma to have almost zombie-like responses and an overall feeling of numbness. There are other responses to trauma, too, that can come up in the first days or weeks after the traumatic event. It’s only when these symptoms/responses don’t decrease and get worse that you can begin to speak of PTSD. You called this one a little too soon.

  • The description of Patrick Ireland’s parents hoping to find their son in the gathering place at Leawood is very powerful. Their refusal to dive into negative thoughts and just focus on finding their son and thinking he’ll be OK.. That’s parenthood right there.

  • Fuselier must’ve been really worried about his son, especially after hearing confirmation that both Danny Rohrbough and Rachel Scott were dead. He checked in with his wife in Leawood every fifteen minutes, but didn’t mention the murders. It’s described in a way that makes me think nobody in Leawood knew that there had been fatalities.

  • There were ninety minutes of pure chaos in which they had no idea where Eric and Dylan were. After those ninety minutes, things quietened down. Dave describes the gunmen as still roaming the school with sporadic gunfire being heard at that point in time. But the rampage only lasted from approximately 11:19 to 12:08.. I may not be a stellar math student, but that’s a lot less than ninety minutes! Dave, I am in despair. You can’t even get this part right? *sad panda face*

  • At 11:44, law enforcement apparently ‘nabbed’ three students in a way that made people celebrate with “they surrendered!” and “it’s over!”.. Yeah, no such luck.

  • The story of Patrick Ireland’s rescue continues to astound me. He’s a very strong individual. He knew for sure that he had to get the hell out of that library, so that’s what he did. He’d apparently leaned over to help one of his friends under the table and exposed his head to Dylan. Patrick drifted in and out of consciousness ever since he was shot. One of the pellets will remain lodged inside his brain forever because it’s too dangerous to take it out. It took him three fucking hours to get to that library window. He was so desperate to flee that he didn’t stop trying to flee even when he had gotten himself to a safe place. His own sister watched him being rescued on TV but didn’t even recognise him through all the blood. If this is not a dude you admire, then get the hell away from me before I come after you with a shovel and a llama.

  • The reactions of Patrick’s parents are so, so understandable. His father racked with guilt thinking about everything he should’ve been able to do to protect his son. His mother focused on one thing: how she could help Patrick right now. They’re such natural, beautiful responses of parents to the need of their child.

  • Okay, so SWAT finally rescued kids locked in the choir room and in the science department. Three-and-a-half hours into the siege, they finally make their way out of the school. I think it’s really sweet how they were first patted down and then hugged by law enforcement, though. That’s exactly the kind of human contact those kids needed.

  • SWAT reaches a barely alive Dave Sanders. BE STILL MY BREAKING HEART.


Chapter Seventeen

  • Oh, Dave now corrects himself saying the entire attack lasted for forty-nine minutes. This still does not explain the ninety minutes scenario he spoke about in the previous chapter. I am horribly confused, though glad he corrected himself..

  • SWAT got to the library at 3:15. One paramedic was there with them. Most of the kids had been dead for almost four hours. Only one was warm to the touch: the paramedic rolled Lisa Kreutz onto her back, saw that her eyes were open and that she was crying. Lisa was rushed to hospital and survived the ordeal.

  • Two bodies were out in the open: those of Eric and Dylan. Their deaths were ruled as suicides pretty much immediately at the sight of their bodies.

  • Four faculty members were still in hiding in back rooms. They were taken from the library in a way that would not expose them to the horror completely: staring at the helmet of the officer who’d lead them to safety.

  • “Detectives would piece it together eventually—how long the attack had lasted, and how long Eric and Dylan had killed. Those would turn out to be very different answers. Something peculiar had transpired seventeen minutes into the attack.”

    Dave, for the love of everything, please don’t give me cliffhangers. Tell me about the peculiar shit.

  • What a huge task for law enforcement.. interviewing everyone they could find. Some interviews didn’t last for more than a minute. Lead investigator Kate Battan conducted some interviews in person, but was briefed on the rest of them. She was determined on getting every detail right.

  • This is the part where they also discover that Eric and Dylan were already in the JeffCo system. (You’d think they would’ve looked that up right after hearing their names, right?) Someone in Battan’s department had already known about Eric through the complaint the Browns filed against him.

  • The search warrants for the homes of the boys were exercised within four hours of the first shots, so they were already searching the homes at the time SWAT discovered their bodies. The warrants cited seven witnesses who’d identified Eric and Dylan as the gunmen.

  • Fuselier had just gotten word that his son Brian was okay when he heard about the suicides. He immediately mobilised federal agents. An hour later, the first specialists would already arrive.

  • At 4pm, JeffCo went public about the fatalities. The chief spokesman joined the sheriff for a press conference. The sheriff was a “no bullshit”-sort of guy, whereas the spokesman stressed caution and reiterated warnings about rumours. The sheriff took almost full custody of the microphone and answered nearly every question. Later evidence suggests he had little to no information on most of these questions. He completely winged it. He gave an erroneous deathcount. He fed the myth of a third shooter, although he did take the time to confirm the deaths of Eric and Dylan.

  • I don’t like this sheriff. I don’t like him at all. *headdesks* I am so, so sick of JeffCo’s incompetence. I’m sick of it. When they ask you about a motive, sheriff Stone, you don’t immediately come out with “craziness”. When you assume the killers used automatic weapons, you don’t share that assumption until you have confirmation of the facts. Must I fucking spell it out for you? You. Do. Not. Give. False. Information. On. An. Event. Of. This. Magnitude.

  • Students were eager to speak to the press. Their teachers were right with them, but unable to stop them from speaking out. While it does give us more information to go on, I honestly feel that the students should’ve been protected from this more.

  • Now Dave turns the narrative over to the family of Dave Sanders. None of this is okay. It breaks my heart to hear how they had hope because only one teacher from a different department was reported as injured. Everyone kept calling his family, including reporters, and Dave’s wife heard from one of these reporters that her husband had been shot. She remembers screaming and throwing the phone. She has no idea what happened after. Imagine.. put yourself in that woman’s shoes.. you’re holding out hope, thinking your husband’s going to be fine because he wasn’t a risktaker.. and then all that hope is shattered the moment a goddamn reporter tells you that your husband has been shot. Try to put yourself in her shoes for just one minute. I can’t even imagine what she went through when she later heard that her husband had been holding on to life for three hours after having been shot.

  • Ooh, okay, we’re with Robyn Anderson all of a sudden. She sure kept her mouth shut fearing for the repercussions of the gun deal she had with the boys for a while. She told one detective a part of the truth, but not the whole truth.

  • Robyn spoke with Zach Heckler over the phone. She didn’t speak about the weapons. He told her he knew the boys had been making pipebombs. That came as a surprise to Robyn, but Zach wasn’t surprised at all. He said it “sounded just like those guys to run down the halls laughing while they killed people”. Zach had omitted his knowledge about the pipebombs in his interview with the police.

  • Chris Morris took a different approach and immediately called the cops when he suspected the involvement of his friends. He was handcuffed in public and taken to the station. He kept talking. He described Eric’s interest in Nazism, a crack about jocks, and some recent suggestions: cutting power to the school and setting PVC-bombs filled with shrapnel at the exits. Chris continued to cooperate with law enforcement and spoke at length about their fascination for explosives and their acquisition of the guns. He swore he hadn’t taken any of it seriously. Law enforcement believed that if the boys had ‘leaked’ to Chris about this, then there’d be other people with more knowledge about the case as well.

  • Robyn spoke with her best friend Kelli later on that night. She came clean to Kelli about having bought the guns for Eric and Dylan. Kelli said later that Robyn felt really guilty. Robyn told Kelli that she hadn’t know Eric and Dylan were the ones killing people until she’d heard it be announced on TV that night. Kelli didn’t buy it. Robyn was clever enough to have put two and two together.

  • The Klebolds spent their afternoon and evening on the porch. They were no longer allowed into their home. They were eventually allowed to pack up the bare necessities and leave. Sue later said they “ran for their lives”. They spoke to a lawyer that same night. The quote of what he said to them rings very true indeed: Dylan isn’t here anymore for people to hate, so people are going to hate you.


Chapter Eighteen

  • Oh gods, I can’t imagine sitting there at Leawood waiting for your kid to come back to you.. With every bus arrival, there’s new hope that maybe your child is on that bus. How awful it must have been for the families of those children who’d never again return to the arms of their loved ones. Around 4pm, the buses stopped coming. There was still mention of one more bus coming to Leawood. Around five, it still wasn’t there.

  • Around dinnertime, President Clinton held a press conference. I like that he urged to be cautious with rumours and to treat the Littleton community with great care.

  • District attorney Dave Thomas tried to comfort the still waiting families. In his breast pocket? A paper with thirteen names on them. Ten students had been identified in the library. Two had been identified outside. One teacher lay in science room 3. All were deceased. It was not a definite list. Thomas kept it to himself. He told the parents not to worry. HE TOLD THE PARENTS NOT TO WORRY. I’m DONE. I’m fucking DONE. I want to cry because I’m so done. How could you.. how could you have thirteen names.. right there in your pocket.. knowing those were the names of the deceased.. and then tell their families not to worry? I have never been this disgusted in my life. I wish I could turn into the Hulk right now. I’m so upset I can’t fucking breathe.

  • 8pm. The parents are asked to describe what their children were wearing and asked to retrieve the dental records of their kids. Some knew what was going on. Others perked up at the news because they finally had a task and something to arrange. One parent asked “where is the other bus?”. There was no bus. There was never another bus.

  • Some parents, strengthened in their faith, found it in them to sing and pray and offer comfort to those around them. (This is said to be particularly true of the parents of Isaiah Shoels.) A Red Cross volunteer described it as such: “They were definitely in pain, and you could see the pain in their eyes, but they were very confident of where their kids were. They were at peace with it. It was like they were a living example of their faith.”

    This actually.. kinda terrifies me? I realise that faith is an important part in the lives of many. I realise it can offer comfort in the worst of times. But this is a whole new level of faith.. to be at peace with your child’s passing. I don’t even have words for it right now.

  • Mr D stayed with the families. He was waiting for news about Dave Sanders. Dave Sanders and Mr D had been friends for 20 years. They’d had beers together, coached sports together.. Mr D even attended the man’s wedding. Another friend and teacher, Rich Long, also showed up at Leawood. He, too, didn’t know if Dave Sanders was dead.

  • Fuselier went home and gave his son a hug. He watched the news alongside his wife. Fuselier was choking back tears. “How could you go home and get dental records?” he asked. “Then what? You know your kid is lying there dead. How do you go to sleep?”


Chapter Nineteen

  • No, no, no, this book is putting me back in science room 3 with Dave Sanders. The SWAT team had reached him while he was still alive, but he bled to death moments before he was evacuated. His family was not notified. They were told that he would be taken to a medical center. He never showed up there. They went to Leawood and waited there for a while. Eventually, they decided to go home. Around ten-thirty that evening, they began to call teachers in order to find out what had happened. The teachers they spoke with told them that Mr Sanders had been the one bleeding to death. Law enforcement did not tell them anything. I can’t even wrap my head around this anymore. I can’t. This is not how you deal with these families.

  • Survivor’s guilt was already at hand in some of the witnesses. Some were focused entirely on mundane tasks. Others had irrational thoughts and even felt ashamed for having them, such as the girl who thought about how ‘hot’ the paramedic who treated her looked. A sophomore felt guilty and selfish for leaving one girl behind as she was running away from the killers. That girl went down. The sophomore got to safety. She asks herself why she didn’t stop to help.

  • Cassie Bernall’s parents went home. Their house overlooked the school. They could see the team at work in the library when they grabbed binoculars. Cassie’s father couldn’t quite make out what they were up to, although he guessed they were stepping over bodies looking for explosives. At 10:30 that evening, an explosion rocked the neighbourhood. One of the bombs being removed for controlled explosions had gone off. No one was hurt, but it was the sign for the team to call it a night. Cassie’s parents kept watching the school. They knew their daughter was in there. There was nothing they could do.


Chapter Twenty

  • I am ready to throw a party because I made it through Part I of the book! YAY!

  • Kids and parents drifted into Clement Park the next morning. Most of the parents were crying. Almost none of the kids were. The kids were so quiet it was almost unsettling. There was an acute blankness. Some said they felt like they were watching a movie. None of the names of the deceased had been released, although most students knew who had been killed. All the murders had been witnessed.. and word spread. They were running out of tears.

  • Nobody from the sheriff’s department called Brian Rohrbough. Nobody informed him that his son had been killed. A friend called him to warn him. There was a picture in the Rocky Mountain News newspaper. Brian picked the newspaper up. Flipped past all the page until he landed on page 13. There was a photograph of his son’s body. His face was blurry and almost obscured. Brian knew. Danny was all Brian had. As soon as he saw the picture, Brian drove up to the school and demanded to see his son’s body. The cops there said no. Danny had not been brought inside. He was still out there on the sidewalk. Authorities were worried that the body could be booby-trapped. (HOW. WHAT. My brain can’t even compute with this mess anymore.) Brian’s son wasn’t a priority.

    It began to snow.

    Danny would lie there for twenty-eight hours. TWENTY-EIGHT HOURS. I just.. Imagine that’s your kid. Your kid out there lying on that goddamn piece of sidewalk in the dead of night and in the snow come morning. Imagine they don’t let you near your child. Imagine they would only see fit to remove his body twenty-eight hours after his death. That gives a whole new perspective into Brian Rohrbough’s rage, doesn’t it?

  • Cassie Bernall’s mother had had nightmares all night. Both her parents walked up to one of the cops patrolling the perimeter. They asked if there was anyone still alive in there. The cop paused. Finally, he said “no”. Her mother still didn’t stop hoping that there was a slight chance that her daughter was still alive.

  • The parents were asked to return to Leawood. At 1:30pm, the same district attorney arrived. He still had thirteen names on a paper. The coroner required another day to be sure. He decided to risk it anyway. He finally decided to tell the families one by one. Cassie’s mother still held hope, but it gradually dissolved into anger. If her daughter was dead, then she wanted her body out of that library to be attended to.

  • A patrol car pulled up to the house of Dave Sanders around 3pm. A deputy went inside to speak with his wife. “We have tentatively identified your husband as a victim at Columbine,” he said.

    His wife screamed. Then she threw up.

  • Mr D had a congregation of people to speak to at 10am. He had lain awake most of the night trying to figure out what to say. He later said that his job was to provide a safe environment for everyone. He felt that he had let so many people down. Mr D cried at the congregation. He turned his back on the public because he felt so ashamed and guilty. The outpour of support made it even more emotional for him. Mr D was honest with them. He spoke of scars that would never heal. He ended his speech by telling them that he loved them. Every single one of them. They needed to hear that, too. (I agree with Mr D, for once. They really did need to hear this.)

  • The kids, the survivors, were trying to find their feet. The need for hugs had abated, although their parents did not understand this yet. They needed to unload. They found reporters willing to listen. Most kids in Clement Park congregated around Rachel Scott’s car. Her car was already covered with messages, candles, and flowers. A song rose in the crowd.

  • The Harrises and Klebolds both hired attorneys. Investigators didn’t expect to have to charge them with anything, but the public did. Their parents were the chief suspects in what had possibly led two normal-looking kids so astray. Their attorneys warned them to keep quiet. Both families did release statements on Wednesday. The statement from the Klebolds was warm and heartfelt. The Harrises were more brief and distant. (This continues to be the case right until today, actually, so it’s nice to see some things never change..)

  • Fuselier’s concern on Wednesday morning had to do with conspiracy. Everyone, including the cops, assumed that the massacre was a conspiracy. It was said to be too big, too bold, and too complex for a couple of kids to have pulled off. JeffCo’s response to these conspiracy theories would haunt the recovery in peculiar ways.

  • Fuselier entered the crime scene that morning. He had seen carnage before, but that didn’t make this experience any less awful. Years later, he would shudder at the memory of the bodies of Danny Rohrbough and Rachel Scott lying uncovered out there on the pavement.

  • Fuselier arrived at Columbine as a Fed. He would end up using his knowledge as a clinical psychologist far more in this case. Dave says that Fuselier would play the leading role in understanding ‘the Columbine killers’. I SUDDENLY FEEL VERY UNEASY. If Fuselier’s the reason why this world doesn’t understand Columbine, I am going to grab my shovel again. Fuselier wouldn’t even have been assigned the investigation if his son hadn’t attended Columbine. (How does that work? I thought nobody with any personal attachments to the case would be allowed to work on it?)

  • The team identified eleven likely conspirators: Brooks Brown, Chris Morris, and Robyn Anderson among them. The team had over five thousand interviews ahead of them in the next six months. They would compile over 30,000 pages of evidence. (How much of this evidence is in our hands, guys?)

  • 250,000 square feet of crime scene. I repeat: you should not have that big a school anywhere, okay. I’m pretty sure everyone suddenly regretted the size of that thing.

  • The Klebold house held little evidence. Some yearbooks and a small stack of writings. Dylan had wiped his harddrive clean.

  • The Harris house was different. Eric had mountains of evidence. He had documented everything.

  • A cryptic message suggested more violence to come. They spent days trying to track its origins. Students who’d seen the shooters were put on the priority list: get their testimonies while their memories were still fresh and relatively uncompromised by other stories. Other detectives headed out to the childhood hometowns of the killers. (I think Dave just means they went to Oscoda and Plattsburgh and wherever else Eric had set foot over the years. Dylan grew up in Littleton.)

  • I am not feeling too upset with Dave over these chapters, to be honest. His descriptions of what the families went through and how the situation was in the community are actually really good. I think this is where his journalist side shines through. It would’ve been such a good book if he’d just focused on stories of survivors and the families of the victims. It’s a shame you didn’t do so, Dave.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeSat Aug 10, 2013 7:07 am

Thanks thedragonrampant, for posting more Smile

thedragonrampant wrote:
Fuselier must’ve been really worried about his son, especially after hearing confirmation that both Danny Rohrbough and Rachel Scott were dead. He checked in with his wife in Leawood every fifteen minutes, but didn’t mention the murders. It’s described in a way that makes me think nobody in Leawood knew that there had been fatalities.
This kind of behavior shits me off. I hate it when people "protect" others by not telling them the full truth. How would Mr. Fuselier have felt if his wife withheld the truth from him because she thought he wasn't strong enough to handle it?

thedragonrampant wrote:
Danny had not been brought inside. He was still out there on the sidewalk. Authorities were worried that the body could be booby-trapped. (HOW. WHAT. My brain can’t even compute with this mess anymore.) Brian’s son wasn’t a priority.
I'll say it again, E/D pulled off some serious psychological warfare at Columbine. Why were the cops so terrified?

thedragonrampant wrote:
I don’t like this sheriff. I don’t like him at all. *headdesks* I am so, so sick of JeffCo’s incompetence. I’m sick of it. When they ask you about a motive, sheriff Stone, you don’t immediately come out with “craziness”. When you assume the killers used automatic weapons, you don’t share that assumption until you have confirmation of the facts. Must I fucking spell it out for you? You. Do. Not. Give. False. Information. On. An. Event. Of. This. Magnitude.
JeffCo have all the IQ of a toilet bowl. It's extremely difficult to acquire automatic weapons. The chances that a school shooter would be using automatic weapons is infinitesimal. Yet a bunch of screaming, traumatized teenagers claim the shooters have Uzis and hand grenades and the cops say, "They must have bought them on that scary new thing called the Internet. They probably bought an atomic bomb too!"

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeSat Aug 10, 2013 3:33 pm

Quote :
[*]Fuselier arrived at Columbine as a Fed. He would end up using his knowledge as a clinical psychologist far more in this case. Dave says that Fuselier would play the leading role in understanding ‘the Columbine killers’. I SUDDENLY FEEL VERY UNEASY. If Fuselier’s the reason why this world doesn’t understand Columbine, I am going to grab my shovel again. Fuselier wouldn’t even have been assigned the investigation if his son hadn’t attended Columbine. (How does that work? I thought nobody with any personal attachments to the case would be allowed to work on it?)
Why does Fuselier's involvement make you feel uneasy? I understand he had a son graduate a year or two before the massacre and that his youngest son was in the cafeteria when the shooting began, but I fail to see how any of this would affect his work. I also don't believe that Fuselier was involved just because his son happened to be there. The reason Fuselier was there in the first place was because, the building the FBI uses for there terrorist division is located in downtown Denver. In other words he just happened to be there.

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeSat Aug 10, 2013 3:42 pm

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.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeSat Aug 10, 2013 4:19 pm

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.

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeSat Aug 10, 2013 4:34 pm

Lifetime wrote:
Why does Fuselier's involvement make you feel uneasy? I understand he had a son graduate a year or two before the massacre and that his youngest son was in the cafeteria when the shooting began, but I fail to see how any of this would affect his work. I also don't believe that Fuselier was involved just because his son happened to be there. The reason Fuselier was there in the first place was because, the building the FBI uses for there terrorist division is located in downtown Denver. In other words he just happened to be there.
Fuselier's involvement makes me feel uneasy because it is mentioned in that paragraph that he would be using his knowledge as a clinical psychologist for this case more than he would use his training as a federal agent. The only thing I really knew about this book before I began reading it was that it promoted the psychopath-depressive theory. When I add two and two together, I arrive at the conclusion that Fuselier would've been the one to come up with this. It is described in Cullen's book that Fuselier was led to Columbine High that day because of one thing: his wife had called that their son was still inside the school. Fuselier headed down there to offer his professional services straight after receiving that call, true, but fact remains that he was the first federal agent on the scene because of his personal interest/involvement in the school. I think that the case might have benefited from the involvement of (mental health) professionals who didn't have any personal ties to Columbine and the Littleton community. (Of course, you would still need others immersed in the community to give you some background on the how/what/why/etc. JeffCo and all of the witnesses and families involved would've been able to provide this without much issue.) The case needed objectivity more than anything, and I don't think it always got that treatment.

By the way, guys, I think I state in one of the previous chapters on here that the kid "Brian" who accompanied Patti Nielson to see Eric was Fuselier's kid. Brooks Brown's book actually mentions the same event, but gives Brian a last name that's not Fuselier. My bad -- although it must be said that this thing about Brian being Fuselier's kid is the impression that Dave's book gives me whenever I read those paragraphs! (It is such, such a confusing mess. This book.. I don't know how it ever got through the editing process the way it's written..)

InFiNiNcEX5, I remember reading the same thing! No wonder he refused to answer, though.

StinkyOldGrapes, haha, those are my exact thoughts as well. I hate how much the families and everybody else were being lied to or being kept in the dark by officials. There are no words that excuse this type of treatment. The psychological components of Columbine are the most fascinating thing, especially the responses (lack thereof Rolling Eyes ) of law enforcement to the events and all of that prior crap that makes a sane person think that they could've caught Eric at the very least before he went off on his merry adventure..

Onward we go into the disaster zone, then?

Chapter Twenty-One

  • I wish this book had a voice-over just so I could hear the sentence “Eric settled into a life of petty crime” out loud. It’s completely hilarious to me. It makes Eric sound like one of those cartoon crooks like the dudes from 101 Dalmatians.

  • I always feel like a part of Eric never really grew up. Dave mentions that Eric was already exhibiting telltale signs of a particular breed of killer before adolescence. He uses one of Eric’s memories, of fireworks on the 4th of July, and Eric’s dreams of gunfire and explosions to support this statement. To me, they read a little differently. What little boy doesn’t like the thrill of fireworks and things going boom? What little boy doesn’t dream of being a big hero in a battle? Dave describes Eric as being “delirious with anticipation” and as “dazzled by fire” (yes, we’re back in Twilight-esque descriptions!) but it just feels to me like Eric just never grew out of that phase of childhood where everything’s about being the hero and being in loud/explosive fights with the archetypical faceless bogeyman. (Over time, I believe this archetype took on the guise of ‘society’ and ‘humankind’ in Eric’s mind.)

  • Dave also describes that explosions freaked Eric out in his ‘earliest memory’. He ran for cover when the fireworks started. Eric writes that he hid in a closet. And here comes the most telling phrase from this fragment: “I hid from everyone when I wanted to be alone”. Does this sound like a little boy already exhibiting telltale signs of a particular breed of killer to you, Dave? Really? To me, it just sounds like a boy who had no idea how to handle his emotions and preferred to hide from the world instead until he had himself back under control. (I’ve always wondered about how Eric was raised in regards to his feelings. Was there even a place for his feelings in that household?)

  • There’s nothing wrong with the description of Eric’s childhood. Until we get to the part with Eric’s dad did not tolerate misbehaviour in his home. Punishment is described as swift and harsh, but all inside the family. (Typically grounding or loss of privileges.) Eric had to accept responsibility for his actions and accept whatever his Dad decided for punishment. It reads to me like the expectation was to fall in line with ‘authority’ no matter what. Dave does state that Eric’s dad felt a conflict was concluded when he had discussed it with Eric, but the expectation following this discussion was always for Eric to obey and get with the program his dad had created. It doesn’t feel to me like there was much space for dialogue or disagreement.

  • I really love how Dave took the time to describe Eric’s stays in Plattsburgh and Oscoda. These are the things I also touched on in the piece I wrote on Eric earlier. Dave even takes the time out to note that one of Eric’s core personality traits was a fear of failure, which I agree with. I am surprised but pleased that Dave does not react adversely to Eric’s childhood stories of warfare and such.

  • Eric always saw himself as the protagonist in those early stories. I don’t believe he ever stopped thinking about himself as this protagonist. He always described himself as ‘one of the good guys’. I honestly believe that he continued to see himself that way right until his death.

  • Eric did like the fishing trips with his dad. He’d wake up to a still-dark sky and the smell of coffee. He remembered that his brother was trying to impress their dad through drinking the coffee he hadn’t really grown to like yet. Eric remembers his brother as “always trying to impress everyone”. Eric thought of this need to impress as a waste of time.

  • Eric was such an outdoorsy kid. It endears him to me so much. If that kid had been dropped into the middle of a forest with the message that he could never go back to society, he would’ve taken the opportunity to build an entire life for himself in the woods. Eric writes about that same fishing trip and notes: “Nature shared the secret serenity with someone who was actually observant enough to notice. Sucks for everyone else.” I believe that he genuinely loved this planet, but not so much the people inhabiting the planet.

  • Okay, this part actually proved relatively unproblematic. Dave, I’m not seeing the telltale signs of a particular breed of killer yet! (I hate how you make one statement and then either wait forever to follow up on it or don’t follow up on it at all. You lack coherency. The disease of this book is that it is one of the most jumbled accounts on Columbine I have ever read in my life. Did nobody think to edit this before it was published? Or did your editor take one look, decided they didn’t know where the hell to start fixing this pile of crap, and just send it back to you saying ‘looking good Dave’?)


Chapter Twenty-Two


  • Oh, finally, the families get the bodies of their loved ones back on Thursday morning. Most of them were desperate to learn how their child had died, but there were a lot of embellished and dramatised stories out there. Brian Rohrbough, in particular, was irritated by the urge people felt to make his son’s death more tragic or meaningful. His son’s death was already tragic enough.

  • Students in Clement Park were still praying and singing and whatnot. I’m freaked out by the mention of one young girl declaring they felt Satan operate in their midst. It’s one big Jesus-lovefest, which I’m okay with, but why include the immediate ‘naming of The Enemy’ and all that jazz? Isn’t it enough to simply commemorate those no longer with you and ask God for strength in the days to come? I think it speaks volumes about the overall community in Littleton and in Columbine. Get with the program or be branded an agent of ‘The Enemy’. There is no middle ground.

  • I am really glad they had good trauma specialists present in Littleton. Their advice to Mr D to show his own emotions at another assembly was the best they could’ve given. The kids needed to know it was okay to show emotion. Mr D had to give them the example and the permission. His friends and some of his staff had warned him against doing so, in the belief that it would make him seem weak. But when Mr D finally appeared at the assembly, there was such a rallying cry of “we are COL-um-BINE!” that it became impossible for him to hold his emotions back anymore. This is where I actually appreciate the community spirit, because it gave them a chance to come together and draw strength from each other.

  • Wow, I can imagine the dilemma of what to do with the school now. They could finish this year in another location, sure, but then what? Do you send everyone back to a place of trauma? Do you build an entirely new school? What on earth do you do with the place? I’m glad they opted for keeping it and simply restructuring a part of it in the end, but I can imagine that it was a really difficult decision to make.

  • This next section freaks me out. I was raised in a Catholic household, so am quite used to Christian lines of thinking and sermons and whatnot. But this.. this is a whole new level of religion right here. The pastors described in this piece freak me out. The smell of Satan was in Clement Park? You could smell Satan wafting through the park? (I don’t know if I should laugh or grab a shovel, really..) Satan wants people to see trenchcoats and black make-up and whatever and be freaked out because it shows ‘His’ power? Satan has plans for Littleton? This is spiritual warfare? The Enemy had taken the battlefield? ARE YOU KIDDING ME. I want to laugh and go hide in a corner until this is over because WHAT. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to live in a community that takes this sort of thing so seriously.

  • I love Reverend Marxhausen for marching to the beat of a different drum. He saw two boys with hate in their hearts and weapons in their hands. He saw a society that needed to figure out the how and why of this, and do it fast. Blaming Satan, he felt, was just letting them off easy. The community would be copping out on its responsibility to investigate. I really appreciate that one of these religious people is not dancing the crazy here.

  • Kids kept pouring into the churches. Some said it was a conscious choice to open up the dialogue with God, but others said it was simply ‘a place to go’. Some tried to recruit the kids by leaving flyers under their windshields and stuff like that. Must it always be about winning souls? Can we, as a society, not simply reach out to those in need without expecting anything else in return?

  • Mr D was the first witness to be led through the school. They took him down the path he had followed on the day itself. Mr D described everything emotionlessly. He thought he was ‘all cried out’. Then they turned the corner. There were bloody smears on the carpet. Dave Sanders had gone down there, crawling on all fours, struggling to get to safety. They took Mr D to the place Dave Sanders had died in. That’s when he broke down again. Fuselier gave him a hug.

  • The bomb squad dissembled the bombs. The centerpieces were a huge mess. The boys had not had a good understanding of explosive reactions and electrical circuitry. The primary mistake was summarised as defective fusing. They would refuse to give out any more details for fear of copycats.

  • They first turned to tracking down the guns the boys had used. The shotguns proved to be problematic and impossible to trace because of their age. Chris Morris had implicated Phil Duran that very first day. Duran could be cracked. And then, they finally heard from Robyn Anderson. Robyn had come clean to Zach and her mom. Her mom took her down to the school, where Robyn would be questioned. (The task force had set up shop inside the crime scene, in a sense. Weird decision, no?)

    Detectives were harsh with her. Robyn visibly recoiled. They asked her about the guns first. Robyn claimed she had not known what the boys would use them for. They never spoke about ‘hunting people’, not even as a joke. Detectives asked her about prom, the TCM, the personalities of the boys, and then returned to the guns. Robyn didn’t feel there was anything suspicious or out of the ordinary about that purchase. (I believe she should have, and could have, known better.)

    Robyn told them about the call she had with Zach. She told them about his admission that he knew about the pipebombs. She did say that Zach didn’t know much, either. He had no idea what the boys had been up to.

    One quote from Robyn is very telling, though: “When they (the boys) wanted you to know something, you knew. When they wanted you in the dark, you stayed there. They could get very secluded about it, very isolated.”

  • Bomb squads had gone through the school several times. They found nearly a hundred bombs of varying sizes and composition. Most were pipebombs or crickets, which had mostly exploded/detonated. The cafeteria bomb stood out through sheer size. The car bombs were also discovered. These, too, had faulty wiring. And then there was the diversionary bomb in the field.

  • At 8:15 on Thursday morning, the team started on the cafeteria. As they walked, one agent spotted a blue duffel bag positioned ten feet away from the other bomb. They sliced open the bag. Found another bomb. They sealed the area off immediately. If there was one bomb still ‘active’, there could be others.

  • Had the bombs detonated, they would have incinerated most or all of the inhabitants of the commons at the time. They would have killed 500 people within the first few seconds. Four times the toll of Oklahoma City. More than the ten worst domestic terrorist attacks in the US combined.

    For investigators, this changed everything. The attack suddenly became indiscriminate. Everyone was supposed to die. This did not start as a school shooting. This was a failed bombing turned into a school shooting.

    That same day, they went public with the announcement about the bombs. Journalists failed to grasp the implications. Detectives let go of the targeting theory immediately, but the media never shook it off. To them, the killers would forever remain outcasts targeting jocks.

    I don’t care what anyone else thinks: I am so, so glad that the bombs were such a messy job. I am so glad they didn’t detonate. I am happy that Plan A fell through.


Chapter Twenty-Three


  • Stop the presses. Dave actually agrees with me again. This time, we both call Dylan ‘gifted’ and quite brilliant. The world is ending, you guys.

  • Dylan was into sports when he was little. He hated to lose. He was competitive. He’d remain interested in sports until the day he died.

  • Dylan was painfully shy with strangers. He is described as a very adorable child. That is, until you somehow managed to trip his fragile ego. That’s when Dylan would blow up. If someone was laughing at him, he would go ballistic with rage. His mom had grown to expect the outbursts of temper. Dylan would simply get frustrated with himself and go crazy. He would be quiet and docile for a time, but then something would cause him to boil over and the tiniest transgression would be enough to humiliate him. Everyone assumed he’d grow out of it. Dylan never did.

    (Now who’s the angrier one of the duo in childhood? Dylan’s temper got the better of him even at that age. Eric’s temper didn’t. Eric only grew into this in later years.)

  • Detectives assembled portraits of the two boys that felt really similar. Youngest sons. Intact, two-parent families. Raised in small towns. Both had bigger, taller, stronger brothers. The same hobbies. The same friends. The same classes and the same jobs. Their interior lives, however, were described as ‘vastly different’. Dylan is described as always seeing himself as inferior. (WHAT. This is the same dude who puts himself above humanity in every inch of his writings. Dylan believed he was many things, but inferior? It wouldn’t be my first choice of words.) Dylan’s anger and loathing travelled inward. That’s the thing I agree with, for the most part.

  • Dave describes Dylan’s first major upheaval as the move from elementary school to middle school. I disagree with him somewhat on this. The program for gifted children Dylan was in did not offer him a safe environment in the way Dave describes. I've talked about this in the piece I did on Dylan that's somewhere in this forum.


Chapter Twenty-Four


  • Aaaand we’re back with Reverend Marxhausen. A woman softly broke the spell during communion. She spoke Dylan’s last name. She told him to not forget the family in their hour of need. The Klebolds had registered with his church five years prior to this. They hadn’t stayed long. Yet, Reverend Marxhausen sent them word that he was available. (I really, really like this man.)

  • Tom Klebold called a few days later. He asked for help in a shaking voice. He needed a funeral for his boy. Confidential. Marxhausen replied “of course”. (I take it back. I don’t like this man. I love him.) The service was conducted with just fifteen people. Dylan lay in an open casket surrounded with stuffed toys.

    Tom was in denial. Sue was falling apart. She crumpled into the arms of the pastor. He says she sobbed for nearly two minutes, which he states “was a very long time”. Tom just couldn’t see his little boy as a killer. He stated “what you see in the papers is not my son”. The other mourners arrived. It became even more awkward. No amount of liturgy was going to help. Reverend Marxhausen felt the need to scrap his service and simply let them speak. That is exactly what he did.

    For forty-five minutes, the congregation simply talked about Dylan. They spoke of their love for the awkward kid who’d occasionally had outbursts of anger. They spoke of their confusion. They spoke of their anguish. Dylan’s brother mostly listened. Near the end, he spoke with words of thanks and love for his brother.

    The Klebolds were afraid to bury Dylan. They cremated his body and kept the ashes in their house instead.

  • Marxhausen spoke with the media after receiving the advice of the attorney of the Klebolds on how to deal with the media attention. He spoke of the family with love. He described Tom and Sue as “the loneliest people on the planet”. He made some people in his parish proud for being a man who could find compassion for anyone. Some of his parish, and many in the community, felt differently. They had trouble rousing any kind of sympathy for the Klebolds.

  • The Harrises presumably held some kind of ceremony for Eric. Word of this never leaked. Never did they speak with anyone about it.


Chapter Twenty-Five


  • Nobody remembers how Eric and Dylan met. They didn’t connect right away at middle school. When they first went to Columbine, however, their friendship was already there. Brooks Brown reconnected with Dylan that year and met Eric on the bus to school.

  • I am on the verge of tears because Dave describes Eric as “practically a celebrity” because his older brother was a starter on the varsity team. I’m pretty sure 90% of that school population didn’t know who Eric was, Dave..

  • First semester in freshman year. The “I am”-poem makes an appearance here in the worst way possible. Dave, honey, I’m pretty sure they had to experiment with styles of poetry and write this particular one with a returning phrase. That’s why Eric describes himself as “a nice guy who hates when people open their pop can just a little” so many times. He bragged about his straight A’s? More like he just predicted he would get them again because that’s what he set his mind to doing, Dave. He demonstrated his emotional depth with the line “I cry when I hear or see a dog die”? Are you kidding me, Dave Cullen? Really now? All that line proves is that he loved animals and got emotional over seeing/hearing them in distress. (How’s that psycho killer theory coming along now, babycakes? Did you tick the box of animal cruelty yet?)

  • Dave says Eric kept much of the work he produced in high school because he was proud of it. I say Eric was a packrat who had a hard time letting go of anything from the past. Three times a guess who wins this round? (Hint: it’s not Dave.)

  • Eric’s dreams were bleak and ugly? His dream of a world where the rest of us had been removed was boring? I beg to differ, again. That dream, more than anything else, shows his utter frustration with the human race and his appreciation of everything non-human where this earth is concerned. It shows that his “I hate the world”-tirades were never about the world. They were simply about society. He invented a world for himself where nobody would have expectations or judgement concerning him. Eric was convinced that the human race would fuck this planet up sooner or later. That’s what concerned him. The human race should bite the dust before that happened.

  • Dave says that happiness for Eric was eliminating the likes of us. That’s not a bad thought coming from Dave, but the explanation he attached to it is faulty in parts. I want to sigh and bury my head in my hands. How hard can it be to understand one boy, Dave?

  • Does anyone know if Zach Heckler was also close with Eric? Dave says that Zach and Dylan initially became friends, but that Eric eventually joined them. I was always under the impression that Zach and Dylan were besties and that Eric was an occasional tag-along under rare circumstances.

  • DAVE I HAVE HAD IT UP TO HERE I AM SICK OF YOU AND I AM COMING TO YOUR HOUSE AND I WILL BRING A SHOVEL WITH ME. “They cruised the mall to pick up chicks. Eric did the talking. Zack and Dylan hung back and followed his lead.” No. No. NO. I am DONE with you making Eric the ladies man. So. Fucking. Done. Did you even look at the evidence proving you wrong? Did you? Why are you a published author? WHY.

  • Dylan joined the theatre group. Eric had no interest in that. They met Chris Morris and Nate Dykeman, and grew close with them as well. Dylan’s parents are described as very nice people who always made sure everyone had what they needed. Eric’s parents, especially his dad, were stricter.

  • "They had girls over." WILL YOU GIVE IT A REST ALREADY.

  • Dylan and Zach needed Eric? How? Someone had to do the talking and Eric craved an audience? How about Dylan and Zach bonded over their teenage angst and Eric sometimes put his foot in his mouth and lost friendships over the weirdest shit? Eric was cool, detached, and tough to rattle? Sometimes. But Dave, really, I don’t think an ounce of those two boys needed Eric to make shit work out for them in their lives.

  • Eric led the parade. Eric led the fucking parade. Will someone get Dave to safety before I find a parade willing to trample all over him? Please? (I will use a parade with an elephant, Dave, so don’t fuck with me.)

  • Nothing wrong with the descriptions of Eric being creative with Doom. Yay?
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeSat Aug 10, 2013 8:14 pm

Lifetime 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.
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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeSat Aug 10, 2013 9:12 pm

Quote :
I always feel like a part of Eric never really grew up. Dave mentions that Eric was already exhibiting telltale signs of a particular breed of killer before adolescence. He uses one of Eric’s memories, of fireworks on the 4th of July, and Eric’s dreams of gunfire and explosions to support this statement. To me, they read a little differently. What little boy doesn’t like the thrill of fireworks and things going boom? What little boy doesn’t dream of being a big hero in a battle? Dave describes Eric as being “delirious with anticipation” and as “dazzled by fire” (yes, we’re back in Twilight-esque descriptions!) but it just feels to me like Eric just never grew out of that phase of childhood where everything’s about being the hero and being in loud/explosive fights with the archetypical faceless bogeyman. (Over time, I believe this archetype took on the guise of ‘society’ and ‘humankind’ in Eric’s mind.)
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.

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.

This may sound odd, but last night my children were watching an old 80s movie called "The Care Bears Movie". I haven't seen this since I was a young child, but what surprised me was how strong the Biblical themes are in this movie. It's basically a retelling of The Bible. I don't mean that the director of the movie had a Christian agenda, but I'm starting to think that most 80s/90s kids grew up in an environment where EVERYTHING was an epic battle of Good vs. Evil.

Doom had some Biblical themes too.

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.

Quote :
The pastors described in this piece freak me out. The smell of Satan was in Clement Park? You could smell Satan wafting through the park?
I went to this Aboriginal gathering once. They were roasting snake on a campfire. After thousands of years of burning in Hell, I imagine that the smell of Satan would be a lot like that roasted snake meat.

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeSun Aug 11, 2013 5:59 am

StinkyOldGrapes wrote:
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.
I just wanted to clarify what I meant here.

Fundamentalist Christianity teaches young children to trust what "feels good", not to think about what's right and wrong and decide for themselves. That's a dangerous thing for young children to be doing.

I think that many 80s/90s kids went to church and learnt to just trust in what feels good (God's protection), and that, over time, they moved on from trusting in the epic Good vs Evil in The Bible to trusting in commercial movies, games, and books that contained the familiar epic Good vs. Evil theme. They were doing what they were told: Following what feels good. It's not a big leap to go from The Bible to games like Doom. The themes are very similar.

Eric's belief that he was born to kick Natural Selection up a few notches is no more delusional than a belief in talking snakes and The Armageddon. The lines between fantasy and reality were very blurry at Columbine.

Unfortunately, trusting in your own feelings, without any discussion of it, leads to very murky morality.

Once again, I'm not bashing Christianity, only the hardcore type.

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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeSun 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   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeSun 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   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeSun Aug 11, 2013 10:44 am

InFiNiNcEX5 wrote:
Lifetime 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.


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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   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeMon 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:
StinkyOldGrapes 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   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeMon Aug 12, 2013 1:24 am

Lifetime wrote:


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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   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeTue 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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Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Empty
PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeTue 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   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeTue 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   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeTue Aug 13, 2013 8:06 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.
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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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeTue Aug 13, 2013 10:18 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.
"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   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeWed 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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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeWed 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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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeWed 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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PostSubject: Re: Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeWed Aug 14, 2013 7:14 pm

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

Lifetime 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   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeWed 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   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeWed 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   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeWed Aug 14, 2013 11:46 pm

StinkyOldGrapes wrote:
lasttrain 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   Cullen's Columbine: Chapter-By-Chapter First Read Icon_minitimeWed Aug 14, 2013 11:54 pm

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