Posted by: hannah jo | September 1, 2009

Now reading Columbine by Dave Cullen

columbine-coverI’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.



  1. Hannah Jo, thank you so much for the kind words about my book.

    Word of mouth is so important for books. I sure appreciate you spreading the word.

    I also compiled much more info about the killers and resources for victims at my Columbine Guide. It includes video links and scans of the killers journals, plus info on PTSD.

    There’s a book trailer there, too, which may help people decide whether they want to pick the book up. I think the filmmaker who worked with me did a great job on it.



  2. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts when you finish it. My impressions of the two boys changed dramatically over the course of the book.

  3. This book has opened my eyes dramatically. As a high school teacher myself, I now am so conflicted. These kids (Dylan & Eric) were not the people we all thought after all. It makes all of this even harder to take, even after 11 years. How do you know how to prevent these things if the kids that carry them out are just everyday kids? I sure wish someone had listened to the Brown Family…….
    Mr. Cullen, what an impeccable job you have done! You should be commended for your dedication and your research! I will never view things from that day the same way again.
    -Michelle Hamlett

  4. Michelle, that’s great to hear. Thanks.

    And thanks again, Hanna Jo.

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