ColumbineeBook - 2009
"The tragedies keep coming. As we reel from the latest horror . . . " So begins a new epilogue, illustrating how Columbine became the template for nearly two decades of "spectacle murders." It is a false script, seized upon by a generation of new killers. In the wake of Newtown, Aurora, and Virginia Tech, the imperative to understand the crime that sparked this plague grows more urgent every year.
What really happened April 20, 1999? The horror left an indelible stamp on the American psyche, but most of what we "know" is wrong. It wasn't about jocks, Goths, or the Trench Coat Mafia. Dave Cullen was one of the first reporters on scene, and spent ten years on this book-widely recognized as the definitive account. With a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen, he draws on mountains of evidence, insight from the world's leading forensic psychologists, and the killers' own words and drawings-several reproduced in a new appendix. Cullen paints raw portraits of two polar opposite killers. They contrast starkly with the flashes of resilience and redemption among the survivors.
From the critics
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This book is about the Columbine school massacre. Its written by a journalist who do 10 years of research. There is a lot of information in this book that was never made public. It really brings a voice to the victims and some insight into the perpetrators.
Excerpt from Johnathan Fast's 2007 book "Ceremonial Violence: A Psychological Explanation Of School Shootings" p.184-185 ________________________________________________________________________Eight months after the shooting, Regina Huerter, the director of Juvenile Diversion for the Denver District Attorney's Office, prepared a report on bullying at Columbine for the Governor's Columbine Review Commission. Interviews with 28 parents and 15 current and former students confirmed that bullying at the high school was sadistic in nature, frequent, and often went unpunished because the bullies were the jocks, the heroes of the high school, while the bullied were the "outcast' groups at the bottom of the social ladder. Teachers actually admitted to a fear of losing their jobs. Frank DeAngelis, the principal, and most of the deans and assistant principals at Columbine High School, had been coaches or had coaching backgrounds and were biased toward athletes. In the same report she stated that Eric and Dylan were perceived as loners and "were often the brunt of bullying and ridicule," most of it involving shoving, pushing, and name-calling. People who associated with them were also bullied, making it a liability to be in a social relationship with them. One girl reported being smashed into a locker and called a "fag lover" by a notorious bully, after she had been seen talking to Dylan. In another incident, "people surrounded them in the Commons and squirted ketchup packets all over them, laughing at them, calling them 'faggots.' That happened while teachers watched.
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"For Cullen to attribute the Columbine shootings to the psychological states of the killers is to deny environmental influences in the generation of those psychological states and tacitly to absolve others of any culpability. It is the equivalent of Columbine High School Principal Frank DeAngelis attributing the killings to the fact that the boys were "evil"…Nothing is explained; however, it gives the labeler a false sense of certainty…" Ralph W. Larkin, Ph.D. Comprehending Columbine (2007) p. 151-152.
"For the outcast students, who were as horrified as anybody at the shootings, empathy existed for Eric and Dylan because they knew how much they had to endure. Several of the outcasts who were interviewed for this study indicated that, in retrospect, they were not surprised by the shootings. They, too, experienced the towering rage generated by feelings of powerlessness in the face of continual humiliation and harassment (Garbarino and deLara 2002)." Ralph W. Larkin, Ph.D. Comprehending Columbine (2007) p. 113.
"One of the main complaints of students at Columbine High School was that athletes were subject to a different set of standards than other students. The school was rife with rumors about coaches protecting athletes engaged in even felonious behavior. Students told stories about how they were harassed, embarrassed, or humiliated by athletes in the presence of coaches who either ignored or supported such behaviors. One student admitted that after being beaten up by a jock, he began taking a weapon to school…" Ralph W. Larkin, Ph.D. Comprehending Columbine (2007) p. 216.
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