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Impact

Ten years later, a journalist tries to decipher the motives at Columbine.

Book Cover An April 1999 event at a Colorado high school should have changed the way Americans view childhood and child rearing. It did for me. As the parent of a young boy I can assure you that the harrowing and tragic events at Columbine High School, where two teenage students attempted to blow up the school lunchroom (which would have killed about 500 people) and, when the explosives failed, ended up slaughtering 12 of their fellows and one teacher, injuring countless others, and killing themselves, gave me pause to view adolescent boys and the world they are given with very different eyes.

A number of people have tried to tell this story in some fashion—including Gus Van Sant in the film Elephant and in an oblique way Lionel Shriver in We Need to Talk About Kevin, Jim Shepard’s Project X, Douglas Coupland’s Hey Nostradamus!, and Francine Prose’s young adult novel After. Now Denver writer Dave Cullen, who started covering the Columbine story as a journalist from the time it hit the police scanners and lower-third scrawls on cable stations (a distraction now employed by all of TV), has written a formidable treatise after having spent a decade immersed in this story. Aspiring to the benchmarks set by classic crime accounts such as In Cold Blood and Helter Skelter, Columbine (Twelve Publishers) focuses on killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold’s motives and, more palpably, some of the impact (no doubt even 10 years may be too soon to tell) that this horror has had on the community. And now, through the wonderous (sic) confluence of new media and commerce, you can see and hear Cullen tout his book for yourself, in the below video.
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