I’m currently reading Columbine by Dave Cullen. I rarely read non-fiction, but I might have to change my habits — this book has me by the throat. It’s an extremely well-researched and gripping book about what happened at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. Like so many other people, I had some stupid impressions about who the two shooters were that day and what their motivations were. I was wrong. Dave Cullen does an insanely good job of spelling it all out — what happened, what led up to it, and why. Forget the Trench Coat Mafia nonsense. Goth? Nope. The shooters were smart, well-liked boys with jobs. Not loners. They liked to go bowling.
My daughter will enter 7th grade next week. They don’t just have fire drills at her school. They have practice “lockdowns.” I’m not sure if they had them before April 20, 1999 or not. I have no idea how safe they would really be in a situation that required them to go into lockdown mode. It’s impossible, as a parent, to read Columbine and not think about the parents of those kids at that school that day. Imagine not knowing if your child was alive or dead inside that school. Imagine not knowing that your child was one of the shooters. Thanks to Dave Cullen, I’m getting a pretty good idea of what it would be like to be one of those parents and it’s breaking my heart.