Published by Twelve Books on April 6, 2009
Genres: True Crime
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.
Like most historic events or tragedies, you can remember where you were and what you were doing. I was fourteen at the time so don’t remember exactly that but have a very vivid memory just a few weeks afterward. I was in 8th grade and a boy a class behind mine brought two walkie talkies to school, which were promptly confiscated. Somehow, it snowballed that said a student was bringing a gun to school on Tuesday and would shoot anyone wearing the color green. Tuesday came with a large number of the student body surprisingly in attendance. I recall a large pile of book bags at the front entrance and lots of police and bomb-sniffing dogs. Tuesday came and went. Nothing happened. It was all a rumor. If Rockwood Valley had panicked it could not even have been a tenth to what Columbine experienced.
The novel Columbine, has been hailed as the “In Cold Blood” of this generation, like Capote, Cullen had the reader connects or feel empathic towards Dylan and Eric, I know that might sound strange considering their actions but somehow, despite their wrong-doings made the killers into real people and not the psychopaths that they were. I also liked that the author flashed back and forth between the day of the massacre and then to its aftermath. He also addresses some rumors or bogus “urban legends” if you will, such as the trench coat mafia or one of the victims professing her devotion to God before her death. Columbine is not for everyone, it is disturbing, unbelievable and even though Dave Cullen maps out the 5Ws &H it still leaves you stun.