The world has lived through some pretty catastrophic events and the Columbine Tragedy is certainly one of them. It happened in 1999 so I wasn’t full aware of it at the time because I must have been around 7 years old. This was probably the first realisation for me, that the world wasn’t the happy, positive and evil-free world that it was perceived to be during my childhood.
As I grew up and became more aware of the event that had occurred, I remember feeling terrified at the thought of someone coming into my school and the same thing happening. Of course, here in the UK, guns aren’t as easy to get hold of nor are there as many gun related crimes as there are in the US. However, it still doesn’t get rid of the fear that a place where you should feel safe, a place of education and freedom, suddenly becomes a target.
For those who may have never even heard of this tragic event, let me explain. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, attending Columbine High School in Colorado, walked into their school on April 20th 1999 and shot and killed 12 students and one teacher. They injured 21 additional people and three more were injured whilst attempting to leave the school. The two boys then committed suicide. It was an event that rocked the world and even more horrifying was the boys plans to kill many more than just the ones who died that day.
It wasn’t until the aftermath that we would gain an insight into the boys’ motivations for attacking their school. From their hidden journals, the leaked basement tapes and Eric Harris’ website, it was an attack that had been boiling away for years. It wasn’t until now that I learnt more about the lives of one of these boys, Dylan Klebold. Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother recounts the horrors of living in the aftermath of the Columbine Tragedy. As an adult, I now have a better understanding of the emotional toil she had gone through, discovering that her son (whom she thought she knew) had turned into a killer who then ended up committing suicide. As outsiders, we can’t help but think these boys were monsters and that the parents were to blame for not knowing their own children. However no-one, not even herself, knew about Dylan’s long suffering depression and suicidal thoughts that consumed him.
This is not a book that justifies or defends what the boys did, Sue stresses that continually throughout. Instead, it looks at the mental health of both boys and signs that she and others missed as being potential warning signs that these two seemingly normal but sometimes troublesome kids could end up killing.
After reading the book, I definitely felt more informed of the event and how the media (unfortunately often does) twisted it to sell it’s stories. But most importantly, it brought awareness to mental health and how these boys unfortunately bonded, creating a balance that was needed for them to commit such a horrifying crime.
Make sure you give it a read. It can be found on Amazon for £13.89.
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