15 October 2009

"It was clear to me that Dylan entered the school with the intention of dying there" - Columbine parent breaks silence

In the 1990s, Generation X was spared much of history’s cruelty – the job market (in the latter half of the decade) was booming, there was no draft, no pandemics, and the high point of fashion for the better point of a decade was comfy flannel.
For me, that innocence of that decade shattered April 20, 1999, when two young men killed 11 others before taking their own lives at Columbine High School in Colorado. I watched the event live on CNN, spending nearly five hours in front of a flickering screen that promised death at every angle. The legends started early: the boys did it because of Marilyn Manson, they killed Rachel Scott because she believed in God, they were bullied, etc.) For weeks afterwards, it was hard to talk about anything else. Part of this was the unspoken fear that the person next to you, or even you yourself, could be capable of such an act if pushed too far.
While we heard from plenty of victims and the families, we never heard from the two shooter’s parents. In a way, I don’t blame them. What do you say when your child does something so unspeakable? Are there even words in the English language that can convey the depth of trauma that would likely result in knowing that your progeny was responsible for the deaths of 11 people in the worst mass-shooting at a school in American history (until 2007)?
This week, one of those parents broke her silence. In an interview with O Magazine, Sue Klebold, the mother of Dylan Klebold, wrote that she could not accept Dylan's participation in the massacre until she connected it with his desire to die.
"Once I saw his journals, it was clear to me that Dylan entered the school with the intention of dying there. And so in order to understand what he might have been thinking, I started to learn all I could about suicide."
In a video shot that morning, Dylan and Eric Harris posed in their military-style clothes, and Dylan said goodbye to his mother (transcript found at www.acolumbinesite.com).
Eric: "Say it now."
Dylan: "Hey mom. Gotta go. It's about a half an hour before our little judgment day. I just wanted to apologize to you guys for any crap this might instigate as far as (inaudible) or something. Just know I'm going to a better place. I didn't like life too much and I know I'll be happy wherever the f-ck I go. So I'm gone. Good-bye. Reb..."
Eric: "Yea... Everyone I love, I'm really sorry about all this. I know my mom and dad will be just like.. just f-cking shocked beyond belief. I'm sorry, all right. I can't help it."
Dylan: (interrupts) "We did what we had to do."
Even after the echoes of gunshots and police sirens faded away on the high school campus, the hatred took more lives. Carla Hochhalter, whose 17-year-old daughter was paralyzed in the shootings, shot herself in a gun store while the clerk had his back turned to do a background check. She later died at the hospital.
In a way, I think part of all of us died that day – the part of us that wanted to believe that school was a safe place; the part of us that wanted to believe that evil was something that existed somewhere else; and the part of us that knew, deep in the back of our minds, that it was possible to leave for school one day and never come home.

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