Sunday, August 29, 2010

Natural Born Killers: REB and VoDkA's Not Excellent Adventure

Perhaps the biggest tragedy of the Columbine school massacre is not the dead and wounded but of the myths perpetuated.These myths dishonor the lives lost because they impart faulty lessons. Columbine was never about poor picked upon Eric Harris (REB) and Dylan Klebold (VoDKa) striking out at their tormentors. Horrific though it was, Eric dreamt of much more than gunning to death twelve students and one teacher. Eric wanted to annihilate via time bombs the whole school and then the assembled police and media, live on national television. His goal was to insert this nightmarish vision into our national psyche. Frighteningly enough, he came a few faulty detonators close to doing just that.

NBK (Natural Born Killers) Day
The Plan

Red Star - Blow up cafeteria at 11:17am with time bombs when it would contain the highest student density.
Black Stars - Shoot survivors fleeing from main exits immediately following the cafeteria explosion.
Yellow Stars - Blow up cars at noon with time bombs in areas where emergency responders and media were expected to congregate and triage areas were probably going to be set up.

The main focus of the attack was to be the two twenty pound bombs that were successfully placed in the cafeteria but failed to detonate. From the Jefferson County, Colorado, Sheriff's Bomb Summary:

"The investigation determined that Harris and Klebold placed two 20-lb. propane tank bombs in the cafeteria the morning of April 20. Computer modeling substantiated by field testing indicated that had those two large 20-lb. propane bombs detonated with a cafeteria full of students, most would have been killed or severely injured by the resulting blasts and subsequent fireballs. There were approximately 488 students in the cafeteria at 11:17 a.m. on April 20, the time the bombs were set to detonate. In addition to the casualties caused by the explosions, the computer models demonstrated a strong likelihood of structural damage and partial collapse of the cafeteria and possible library above."

Cafeteria Bomb One:

In an attempt to set it off after the detonator failed, Klebold set it on fire with a Molotov cocktail, which was rapidly put out by the school's sprinkler system. Note the alarm clock detonator, the nail wrapping and the charred napalm/gas can (top middle):

Cafeteria Bomb Two:

The second duffel contained a  twenty pound propane tank set with a detonator and packed with nails and cans of gas/napalm.

Vehicle Explosives:

Vehicle Detonator:

Still set for noon:

The Big Fizzle

While Columbine is often portrayed as a school shooting incident, it was actually a major bomb plot gone awry. Eric and Dylan did plan to shoot survivors of the cafeteria bombing but it was only a minor part of their scheme, which was to blow up 500 hundred students in the packed cafeteria at 11:17am then blow up responders and media in the parking lots at noon.

What followed after the cafeteria detonators failed to explode, while tragic, could have been a lot worse. The eventual death toll could have been substantially higher. Eric and Dylan had plenty of ammunition, time and students trapped in various rooms throughout the school. Fortunately, Eric quickly became bored with killing and Dylan's main focus was suicide not mass murder.

In fact the whole incident took less than an hour, an hour in which, after quickly becoming bored with killing and ignoring numerous students in plain view, Dylan and Eric wandered aimlessly around the school shoulders slouched. It ended in a fizzle when, after waiting for the failed car bombs to explode from a vantage point in the library, they both blew their brains out.

Please refer to the linked timeline for details:

Lethal Pairing
The Depressive Avoidant and the Psychopathic Sadist

The standard narrative that Columbine was a lashing out against bullying is wrong. It is clear from reading their writings that Eric was a psychopathic sadist with a keen interest in killing people for pleasure and Dylan was a depressive  avoidant who wanted to kill himself. Neither Eric nor Dylan were targets of any large scale bullying and, in fact, were involved in a variety of social circles.  Eric Harris was not crazy in the normal sense of the word. Eric simply lacked the part of us that we associate most closely with humanity, empathy/feelings.

Below is a link to the first article to review the psychological profiles prepared by the FBI:

The Depressive and the Psychopath, At last we know why the Columbine killers did it.- by David Cullen

From the article:

"Harris is the challenge. He was sweet-faced and well-spoken. Adults, and even some other kids, described him as "nice." But Harris was cold, calculating, and homicidal. "Klebold was hurting inside while Harris wanted to hurt people," Fuselier says. Harris was not merely a troubled kid, the psychiatrists say, he was a psychopath."

"Harris' pattern of grandiosity, glibness, contempt, lack of empathy, and superiority read like the bullet points on Hare's Psychopathy Checklist and convinced Fuselier and the other leading psychiatrists close to the case that Harris was a psychopath."

"It begins to explain Harris' unbelievably callous behavior: his ability to shoot his classmates, then stop to taunt them while they writhed in pain, then finish them off. Because psychopaths are guided by such a different thought process than non-psychopathic humans, we tend to find their behavior inexplicable. But they're actually much easier to predict than the rest of us once you understand them. Psychopaths follow much stricter behavior patterns than the rest of us because they are unfettered by conscience, living solely for their own aggrandizement."

Below are links to the more in depth psychological profiles of the two by Aubrey Immelman Phd, Psychology :

Eric Harris: Personality Profile

Dylan Klebold: Personality Profile

Aubrey has some minor differences (addtional clarifications to ) with the original FBI Psychological profile. Here are her comments on the matter: Commentary on Dave Cullen’s “The Depressive and the Psychopath”

For a clear insight into Eric's mind, here is his philosophy:

Contrast this to a fairly typical sample from Dylan's Journal entitled, El Thoughtzo's:

Note: Dylans handwriting is often illegible so a transcript rather than screenshot has been provided

"AH yes, this is me writing... just writing, nobody technically did anything, just i felt like throwing out my thoughts - this is a wierd time, wierd life, wierd existence. As i sit here (partially drunk w. a screwdriver) i think a lot. Think... Think... that's all my life is, just shitloads of thinking... all the time... my mind never stops... music runs 24/7 (xpt for sleep), just songs i hear, not necessarily good or bad, & thinking... about the asshole [edited] in Gym class, how he worries me, about driving, & my family, about friends & doings with them, about girls i kno (mainly [edited] & [edited]), how i kno i can never have them, yet i can still dream... I do shit to supposedly 'cleanse' myself in a spiritual, moral sort of way (deleting the 'limits' on my comp, not getting drunk for periods of time, trying not to ridicule/make fun of people ([edited]) at school, yet it does nothing to help my life - moraly. My existence is shit. To me - how i feel that i am in eternal suffering. in infinite directions in infinite realities - yet these [Dylan scribble] realities are fake- artificial, induced by thought, how everything connects, yet it's all so far apart.... & i sit & think... Science is the way to find solutions to everything, right? I still think that, yet i see different views of shit now like the mind - yet if the mind is viewed scientifically... HMM I dwell in the past... thinking of good & bad movies."

Without Conscience

What is a Psychotic? Not surprisingly, their portrayal in  media, literature and Hollywood movies is often ludicrously false. Psychopaths like Eric are often great manipulators who often fool psychologists, law enforcement officials, educators and parents.

Here is a tape of Eric Harris manipulating a judge following an arrest for theft, notice how Dylan does a far less convincing job:

A psychotic is defined by these characteristics:

Source: Hare Psychopathy Checklist
Here is Dr. Hare's, who is one of the foremost authority on the subject, Web Site: Without Conscience

Factor1: Personality "Aggressive narcissism"
  • Glibness/superficial charm
  • Grandiose sense of self-worth
  • Pathological lying
  • Cunning/manipulative
  • Lack of remorse or guilt
  • Shallow affect
  • Callous/lack of empathy
  • Failure to accept responsibility for own actions 
Factor2: Case history "Socially deviant lifestyle".

  • Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom\

  • Parasitic lifestyle

  • Poor behavioral control
  • Promiscuous sexual behavior
  • Lack of realistic long-term goals
  • Impulsive
  • Irresponsibility
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Early behavior problems
  • Revocation of conditional release
  • Impulsive
  • Irresponsibility
  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Early behavior problems
  • Revocation of conditional release
  • Traits not correlated with either factor

  • Many short-term marital relationships

  • Criminal versatility

Traits not correlated with either factor
  • Many short-term marital relationships
  • Criminal versatility

Out Damned Stain
(aka A Few Day with a Psychopath) 

Ever wonder what it would be like to spend a few days with a Psychopath?

Director Ian Walker got to find out when he made the compelling documentary I, Psychopath. As you will see, if you watch the video, he was left deeply disturbed by the encounter.


Psychopaths…they’ll charm you, manipulate you, then ruin your life. But, not all of them with a gun or a knife. In this extra-ordinary documentary, suspected psychopath Sam Vaknin goes in search of a diagnosis…was he born without a conscience?

Making a movie with a psychopath,” declares I, Psychopath’s director Ian Walker, “is a little like poking a snake with a stick.” Unwittingly, the film-maker becomes a textbook victim. Joined by Vaknin’s long-suffering but ever-loyal wife Lidija, the threesome embark on a diagnostic road trip to the world’s top experts in psychopathy in which Vaknin (and his wife) undergo a battery of rigorous psychological tests and neuroscientific experiments. He is the world’s first civilian to willingly seek a diagnosis for psychopathy.

The former corporate criminal turns out to be a way better psychopath than any of them imagined. By the end, Walker almost calls it quits on his own film rather than spend another day with its main subject."

By the end of the filming, Ian Walker is scrubbing himself in a scalding shower to try and scrape the filth off:


This post was inspired by the book Columbine by Davie Cullen. It is not only a ground breaking piece of investigative journalism but also a thought provoking book.

Dave Cullen also has his own web site:

Below is the most helpful Amazon review of the book:

Most helpful Amazon review:
A tender yet unflinching treatment of a chilling tragedy., March 29, 2009

By Hugh C. Howey
This review is from: Columbine (Hardcover)

Ten years have passed since the tragic event that has become synonymous with school shootings. Columbine was once a word that simply denoted a high school, a football team or a state flower. But now the word is tainted. Despite the fact that we have moved on to newer tragedies with higher body-counts, the stain has not been scrubbed off of the word `Columbine'. But perhaps we need to do something other than wish it away. A better solution might be a deeper understanding of Columbine and similar events. The What, How and Why. Most of our answers to these simple questions have been dead-wrong and it is time to replace myth with truth.

But this is easier said than done. The Columbine shootings remain one of the most-thoroughly covered crimes in American history. However, despite the voluminous output of media coverage, what really happened that day, and the motivation behind the tragedy, is understood by very few people. The result of our curiosity led to more falsehoods than fact, making a clear picture of the events on and leading up to April 20th, 1999 difficult to discern. In many ways the vast outpouring of information makes this tragedy even harder to grasp; the chaff vastly outweighs the wheat.

Which makes Dave Cullen's new book, Columbine, an accomplishment that catapults him to the top of the genre. Not since Capote's In Cold Blood do we find such a thoughtful, illuminating, riveting, and disturbing portrait of the criminal mind. Columbine doesn't just explode the myths of what happened that day and why. Instead the book carefully dissects our biases, revealing a populace eager to blame this tragedy on poor parenting, Satan, rock music, or goth kids because it is simpler and more convenient than hearing the truth.

And the truth is that Eric Harris was a born psychopath and Dylan Klebold was clinically depressed, eager to please, and clawing for an escape hatch. Together they formed a rare and volatile combination known as a criminal dyad, a coupling of an egomaniacal control freak and a doting, depressed side-kick. Like Bonnie and Clyde and the D.C. snipers, the duo had a push-me pull-me effect that spun both kids out of control and down a dangerous path that now seems well-worn and obvious as we trace it back.

Cullen's coverage of the tragedy is remarkably broad and deep for a book that doesn't even run 400 pages. The entire scope of the Columbine shootings are covered with almost no wasted space. The book is agonizingly well-researched and brilliantly end-noted. Cullen was one of the Colorado journalists covering the event as it was happening, and has been following the aftermath for the past ten years. He has become one of the most informed minds to wrestle with the shooting, and one of the few to draw the right conclusions.

The layout and pacing in Columbine is also ingenious. Instead of pretending that this was a tidy moment in history that can be covered from beginning to end, Cullen pays homage to the frustrating way that details coalesced into a final picture. Jumping back and forth from Eric and Dylan's lives before the event to the tragic consequences that reverberated after, Cullen gradually paints a full portrait of the two men in much the way that they revealed themselves to investigators. There is no pretension here that this is a subject with an easy beginning, middle, and end. Any other method of relating this story would not do the popular confusion justice, nor would it result in such a vivid understanding of what these two boys were like, and what damage they wreaked on their community.

Another impressive touch is the complete lack of images presented in the book. The center clump of photographs, a mainstay of good non-fiction, is conspicuously absent. You will not find a single picture of the killers nor their victims. It took some time for me to appreciate this classy move by the author and publishers. There is no sensationalism here. This is an outstanding work of journalism that is not only the authoritative account of what happened at Columbine high school, it is also a glimpse of criminal psychosis that I believe will be held up as a classic in years to come. This isn't just a good book, it is an important book. It is not just about the past, and not just about this one event, it is about a sad fact of the human condition, and a call for forward-looking vigilance, not backwards-glaring vengeance.

What most impressed me about Cullen's conclusions was his shucking off of the dangerous blank slate theory that causes so much societal grief. To this day most people blame poor parenting on the tragedy of Columbine. The sadness and horror that I feel when thinking about the treatment of Eric and Dylan's parents disgusts me. This injustice is fueled by the poor grasp that the vast majority of people have about human nature. It is a failing that causes harm in thousands of daily ways, and Cullen does his part in dispelling some of these myths. Some people are born with an inability to empathize with the feelings of others. And of these, some have an uncanny ability to blend in, conning the rest of us into thinking that they are normal. They are the stereotypical serial killers, described by friends and neighbors as the "nicest boy". And our failure to grasp the innate nature of these members of society makes us even more likely to be duped by them.
One of the other fascinating threads in Columbine is the unreliability of eyewitness accounts and the way that early mistakes were not corrected with the passage of time, but rather hardened, becoming cemented in Columbine lore. The Trench Coat Mafia and a massive conspiracy involving many other participants led many people astray, including investigators. The idea that these were unpopular geeks who were picked on by bullies led to a national campaign against something that played no role in the tragedy. Eric and Dylan more often played the role of bully than they did bullied. And implications that music, movies, goth lifestyle, Hitler, or videogames inspired their actions are as false as Michael Moore's assertions that they bowled on the day of the shooting.

Columbine replaces these falsehoods with an account of two kids that simply hated the world and its occupants. Everyone was beneath them. These were not kids cast out by society; they were misfits by choice. They fled the robots/zombies/sheep with eagerness and disdain. They celebrated the fact that they did not belong. Nobody pushed them away or ridiculed them, in fact they were just as popular in their own clique as any other kid, and just as invisible to most kids as we all were to people outside of our social circle. The kids who were not respected were Eric and Dylan's peers. The duo were able to look down on them from such a height of hubris as to be able to dehumanize them. Making them something outside of their scope of empathy. Easy enough to dispatch.

In this way, Marilyn Manson got it just as wrong as anyone else. When asked what he would have said to the kids in Moore's film Bowling for Columbine, Manson replied, "I wouldn't say a single word to them. I would listen to what they have to say, and that's what no one did." This notion that the boys were raging against a world that would not take them seriously is also debunked. The sad fact is that psychopaths are born with measurable differences in how their brains work. We can point to these peculiarities on a brain scan. And the differences are noted extremely early in a child's development. The idea that more compassion would prevent these tragedies is the claim that gasoline will extinguish a fire. These kids thrived on winning people over, which they did with ease.

Possibly the most shocking myth stripped down in the book is that this was a school shooting by design. The event became the poster for gun restrictions, which may be a noble cause, but it misses the intentions that Eric and Dylan had that day. By all accounts, the attack was a dismal failure. The massive bombs that they rigged up did not go off as planned. They had a low body count estimate in the hundreds, but hoped for thousands. They wanted to start a worldwide revolution. And they hoped they could do this all without devastating their parents. In every possible way, these boys failed. They failed their society, their peers, their parents, and thank goodness, they failed themselves.

These failures continue to cast ripples today. Cullen devotes a good chuck of his book to the horrible aftermath of these events. An investigation that became disgustingly political included cover-ups and foot-dragging. There were copycats, pranks and bomb-threats. Survivors went through physical and emotional re-hab. Some people tried to profit from the shooting. The school had to be rebuilt, along with the student body and the surrounding community. Some relationships were bonded for eternity, and some shattered. Depression and post-traumatic-stress were prevalent and devastating. Lawsuits were filed. The entire town seemed to be cursed, with normal bad luck ascribed to the ghost of Columbine. Cullen captures all of this with stunning detail and respectfulness. There is no stone that he does not peek under, describe, and then return with loving care. That he pulled this balancing act off for the entire book, detailing an event with so many scars and controversy, is absolutely stunning.

The end result is a book that should be required reading for every teacher, guidance counselor, clinical psychologist and parent. Columbine unmasks universal and innate tendencies that a small portion of our population harbors. And what makes this minority dangerous is that they have no empathy for the rest of us, and a genius for hiding this flaw. The signs of their disease are usually there, but they are murky due to our faith in nurture conquering nature.

Columbine is not just an account of an American tragedy, it is a guide for preventing future ones. We must begin by accepting that much of who we are is the dumb luck of genetics, but that this does not exculpate our actions. Sure, we can dream up more pleasant realities for us to operate within, where free will plays a larger role, and loving someone enough will make everything all right, but fantasy is never a solution for improving our existence. It is just the comforting blanket we tragically suffocate ourselves with.


Anonymous said...

good job

Anonymous said...

You are sadly misinformed about this subject by a slick, aggressive but ultimately vacuous media campaign promoting this book and its author.
Dave Cullen is nothing but a lying,opportunistic famewhore. His book is riddled with odious lies.

Its disgusting how quick you all are to swallow whatever the liar says without doing any further research.

Anyone with any real knowledge about Columbine knows what a liar Cullen is and how flawed and worthless his book is.Obviously, none of you on this page have more than a surface knowledge of the subject or you wouldn’t be mooning over Cullen’s badly written book of fiction.

=Factual Inaccuracies==
Dave Cullen’s book alleges that Eric Harris was involved in a romantic and sexual relationship with a woman several years his senior, Brenda Parker.

However, according to the official police interview in the 11K she confessed to making up the relationship, in addition to making up knowing about the attack prior to it happening and being afraid to partake in it.

Interview- “After a lengthy conversation she admitted that she wrote the above, but that it was not true. She just made it up to get attention. She stated she has no life and spends way too much time on the internet.”

(note- JC-001-010843 to 010851)

* [ Link to the entire 11K Report, see pages 10800-10900]

Cullen claims that Eric Harris was a swaggering ladies’ man and confident social king. This assertion is ludicrous.

Cullen writes that Eric “got lots of girls” and had sex with a 24-year-old woman named Brenda Parker. He even quotes Parker in his book. The truth is that Parker had no connection to Harris or the tragedy; she was a “fangirl” who sought attention by making up stories. She has *zero* credibility.

Eric tried to get a date to the prom; he failed. He asked several girls, all of whom turned him down. He finally convinced a girl he met at the pizza place where he worked to spend a couple of hours at his house on the night of the prom; they watched a movie. She declined to attend the after-prom party with him, so he went alone.

Harris was fairly short (5’8?) and very skinny, with a deformed chest due to his pelvus excavatum. As his body language in the following video (recorded in a hallway at Columbine and shown in a documentary about the massacre) demonstrates, he was no match for the larger boys he encountered on a daily basis:

In his final journal entry, Eric wrote:

“I hate you people for leaving me out of so many fun things. And no don’t — say, “well thats your fault” because it isnt, you people had my phone #, and I asked and all, but no. no no no dont let the weird looking Eric KID come along, ohh — nooo.”

Does that sound like someone who was confident and socially successful?

Anonymous said...

Cullen perpetuates the long-standing myth that Dylan was a sad little emo follower who was totally led by Harris.

The truth is that Dylan was the one who wrote about going on a killing spree before Eric; he even wanted to do it with someone else.

(Keep in mind that Eric and Dylan intended the massacre to be a bombing event with a shooting element. Their plans went awry.)

On Monday, November 3, 1997, Dylan wrote in his journal:

“[edited] will get me a gun, ill go on my killing spree against anyone I want. more crazy…deeper in the spiral, lost highway repeating, dwelling on the beautiful past, ([edited] & [edited] gettin drunk) w. me, everyone moves up i always stayed. Abandonment. this room sux. wanna die.”

He wrote “*my* killing spree”, not “*our* killing spree”.

Those who have seen the basement tapes have said that, on them, Dylan appears far more eager and enthusiastic than Eric.

On the tapes, Eric apologizes to his family; Dylan does not.

On one tape, Eric is seen alone, tearing up when he thinks about his friends back in Michigan. He even turns the tape off so he will not be captured crying on camera.

If he truly was a pure psychopath, as Cullen claims, is it likely that he would have cried while thinking about old friends?

There is also piece after piece of evidence asbout E &D being picked on and ostracized on a wide scale. Something Cullen denies ever happened.

Whats my truth about this event?

My truth is that E &D were bullied and tried as inhuman long enough until they decided that life was no longer worth living and decided to get revenge on a school and community that delighted in degrading them.
I’ve been in their shoes. I know what that feels like.
Unless you’ve been treated that badly long enough by enough people, you do not.

JohnQuincy said...

If, as you theorize, Eric and Dylan were lashing out against bullying, it is odd that none of their many victims was ever identified as having bullied anyone let alone Eric and Dylan. In fact, it is well documented that they tormented (bullied) many of their innocent victims before killing them. Far from suffering from wide spread bullying, they bragged in their journals about bullying others. The two also often fantasized about bullying others. In this snippet from one of their high school video projects, they express contempt for someone that they have been extorting protection money from and agree to kill him:

While you seem to want to fault Dylan more than Eric and then want to absolve their murders on the grounds that they were bullied, I place the blame squarely on the two of them. I agree with the psychological profile prepared by the FBI that they were a lethal pairing with Eric being a psychopath sadist and Dylan being a depressive avoidant. A careful reading of the entirety of their writings bears this out.

I am sorry if you were bullied at school. Everyone faces some hardships in life and usually they find positive ways to overcome it. Due to my parents many moves, I attended 11 schools by the time I entered the 9th grade. By 8th grade, I developed a phobia of going to school and had panic attacks every morning but I got over it. Again, everyone faces hardship but sane people do not decide to commit mass murder.

Anonymous said...

hi... what the hell?? Cullen is wrong! don't repeat what he wrote..he wasnt there, he only wanted to have money so he made that book like it was so simple.
Eric himself said "I wish I was a fucking sociopath so I didn't have any remorse, but I do"

JohnQuincy said...

Thank you for your comment. At JohnQuincy, all viewpoints are welcome. While you seem to have some animus towards Dave Cullen, JohnQuincy did not rely on him for Eric's diagnosis. If you read carefully. you will note that this diagnosis was made by eminently qualified professionals including the foremost expert on the subject:

Dr. Robert Hare, a professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia specializing in criminal psychology. He wrote the seminal book on Psychopathy, "Without Conscience" and developed the checklist used to diagnose this condition.

Michigan State University Professor of Psychiatry, Dr. Frank Ochber, who is known as one of the founding fathers of modern psychotraumatology.

Supervisory Special Agent Dwayne Fuselier, the FBI's lead Columbine investigator and a clinical psychologist

Aubrey Immelman, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology at St. John's University who specializes in forensic Psychology.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

i love how you called them "erica and dylan"... you know about as much as dave cullen. ZERO.

JohnQuincy said...

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. We obviously disagree about this topic but it takes an open mind to read an opposing view point.

In response to your comment about Dave Cullen knowing zero about the case, you are wrong. He spent over a decade in the Columbine area researching his highly regarded book. In the paperback edition of his book, he has added an afterward with details on his four separate meetings with the parents of Eric Harris.

As mentioned in my earlier comments, this post did not rely only on David Cullen's book but also on the official reports and psychological profiles prepared by the foremost experts in their field. These all point to the same conclusion: Eric Harris, a psychopath, and Dylan Kleibold, a depressive, formed a lethal pairing.

Anonymous said...

Hello! I think we should all be careful when reading about Eric & Dylan. I mean, I've read so many things about what happened on April 20th, about those 2 guys & everything that I now think that people hid loads of things from us.
About Dave Cullen, I personally think that he indeed wrote the book for money... We might not have the same point of view about him but oh well, the conversation wouldn't be so interesting otherwise!
Anyway, I also think that we only can trust what Eric & Dylan wrote in their diaries. I'm not so sure about the rest... (I could write more but this will do for now).

Anonymous said...

Praise the Lords.

Keith Carbone said...

Just check out the multiple stories of these two being bullied. The most egregious of which is the story of Dylan having ketchup covered tampons thrown at him from a ring of jocks while tons of students and several faculty members looked on and did nothing to stop it. I haven't read David Cullen's book but I've heard him lecture and I'm positive that he is reading completely different journals than everyone else. Just one reading of both boys journals will discredit Cullen and defenestrate his theory.

Laura Freed said...

Thank you for writing one of the few internet articles that don't glorify the columbine murders. Unfortunately, I am watching a young girl self-implode as she and her friends idolize Dylan Klebold. The irony is that she comes from a family of law enforcement and is always defending police and sharing sympathetic, uplifting stories about police, and yet, she also idolizes Dylan Klebold and idolizes the columbine killers. "I don't excuse or condone them," she has told parents/school counselors when questioned about it. Which is exactly what the websites devoted to the heroic worship of Klebold and Harris state. People who know her, of course, see the good in her. Want to believe the best in her, and excuse her fascination as a passing teenage phase. Perhaps. But Sue Klebold states she had no idea that her son would kill (yet ignored or explained away many incidents as 'normal teen behavior.')
I absolutely believe in freedom of speech, and would never request the deletion of any of these sites portraying the mass murderers of Columbine as heroes, but I think in order to have freedom, it's important to understand and heed George Orwell's warnings of how independence (and personal happiness) is destroyed: "Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both." This pertains (in this instance) to the worship of Klebold as "I don't excuse what he did BUT I idolize him."
And Ayn Rand's warning that the destruction of existence is punishing men for their virtue and rewarding them for their vices (see and read almost every thing published and produced in bookstores, online, in theaters, on TV, and music).
That the mass worship of death is full depravity.
After participating in life for almost half a century, making many many mistakes (thank God they are not documented on social media!) I am concerned that many doctors in the medical community are very quick to medicate, people glorify anxiety, and use every excuse in the book for bad behavior (I'm a victim, my family was a victim, I was poor, my dad didn't love me, my parents divorced, my parents were rich but they didn't pay enough attention to me, my parents paid too much attention to me, my parents gave me nothing, my parents gave me too much, I was made fun of for being: too fat, too thin, too tall, too short, too blonde, too dark, too white, too black."
Three books that everyone should read (especially young children) - As A Man Thinketh (James Allen). Man's Search for Meaning (Viktor Frankl) and Outwitting the Devil, by Napoleon Hill. As well as being able to recite the Articles and Amendments of The Constitution.
People glorifying killing are simply searching for significance - and have been increasingly taught by society that significance lies in being a victim, an excuse to hurt other people, and excessively use anything that makes us feel good: sex, food, drugs,etc.
Once we have lost character and trust in each other, we have nothing. We are so busy keeping an eye out for danger (can't trust cops! can't trust military! can't trust religion! can't trust politicians! can't trust our ex who cheated on us! Our friend who betrayed us!) we can't focus on working together (or solo) trying to create something positive in society.
Thanks for allowing me hijack your post.
I feel better.

Anonymous said...

"If, as you theorize, Eric and Dylan were lashing out against bullying, it is odd that none of their many victims was ever identified as having bullied anyone let alone Eric and Dylan. In fact, it is well documented that they tormented (bullied) many of their innocent victims before killing them."
Their killing spree in the library wasn't part of their plan. They went there because there was lot of easy targets and it would give them a decent kill/loss ratio after the bombing plan failed. They ran out of steam pretty quickly.

Of course, simply coming to cafeteria and just liquidating the jocks or whoever was their main enemy was or destroying the command personnel of the school would be a more rational choice than NBK, but I don't think they were exactly in shape to think rationally.

"Far from suffering from wide spread bullying, they bragged in their journals about bullying others. The two also often fantasized about bullying others."
Eric and Dylan bullying others doesn't make the bullying by jocks untrue. The jocks were a criminal element led by a kid kicked out of a private school and bullied much more people than Eric and Dylan - they bullied other kids too and did it for years. There's plenty of account of this. They also harassed Eric and Dylan outside school.

It probably began with bullying and the general anomic environment at school but by the end of the school they were full of rage at the school and humanity as a whole.
The problem with anomie is that it creates environment when stuff like bulling seems normal thing to do, even if one is suffering from it and is very angry about it.
It just works like that - some schools are simply rotten and bring out the worst out of their students. CHS was one of them.

At least that's what I experienced in my primary school and first high school, which both were very toxic environments - starting with teachers and ending with students. From what I've read, they weren't as bad as Columbine with jocks showing people into lockers and throwing bottles at them. I'm glad that at least my country doesn't have a custom of inviting brutish jocks into high schools to get money from sports. Trash like that belongs to vocational schools/sport schools/prison, not to schools where intellectual elite should be preparing for college.

"In this snippet from one of their high school video projects, they express contempt for someone that they have been extorting protection money from and agree to kill him:"

"While you seem to want to fault Dylan more than Eric and then want to absolve their murders on the grounds that they were bullied, I place the blame squarely on the two of them. I agree with the psychological profile prepared by the FBI that they were a lethal pairing with Eric being a psychopath sadist and Dylan being a depressive avoidant. A careful reading of the entirety of their writings bears this out."
Eric had strong self-hatred. A lot of his bullying was attacking people for traits he hated in himself. In his writings, he sounds to me much more like a teenage edgelord full of complexes than a psychopath. Especially that these were writings written for audience. He could have even pretended to be as evil as possible to get more fame.

Anonymous said...

Also, Eric went through a hardcore military-style conditioning to violence to be able to carry out the shooting.

It involved:
-Shooting human-shaped targets - in video games.
-Hatred of the enemy.
-Dehumanization of the enemy.

"someones bound to say "what were they thinking?" when we go NBK or when we were planning it, so this what I am thinking. "I have a goal to destroy as much as possible so I must not be sidetracked by my feelings of sympathy, mercy, or any of that, so I will force myself to believe that everyone is just another monster from Doom like FH or FS or demons, so It's either me or them. I have to turn off my feelings.""
That's dehumanization of the enemy in order to not have human feelings towards them.

Why would such mind-games be necessary if he was a psychopath?

Why finding the main reason would be the same as "absolving"? There's no reason for absolving them of anything. It's not like they have surrendered to police and now we're debating whenever we should give them a lecture about how to behave or put them into prison for life. They self-terminated, so they have accepted death as a consequence of their actions.

"I am sorry if you were bullied at school. Everyone faces some hardships in life and usually they find positive ways to overcome it. Due to my parents many moves, I attended 11 schools by the time I entered the 9th grade. By 8th grade, I developed a phobia of going to school and had panic attacks every morning but I got over it. Again, everyone faces hardship but sane people do not decide to commit mass murder."
Some people develop fear, some develop anger. I can understand how a person that is full of fear can find mass murder "insane", but from position of anger, mass murder is perfectly rational, when sufficient level of anger accumulates.

Both boys were heavily into self-reliance and their thinking was power-based, not fear-based.

Anyway, Dylan has developed full-blown depression and was burned out wreck by the end of high school. Both displayed high level of anxiety (Eric's fidgeting at school table videos, Dylan interpreting group of teenagers laughing in McDonald's when eating there with his mother as laughing at him.)

"Again, everyone faces hardship but sane people do not decide to commit mass murder."
That's enemy activity and complete failure of a school to maintain it's basic functioning, not "hardships".

Hardship is when you randomly get ill or a tornado or something like that, not when other people actively work to destroy you.

Columbine High School was degenerate and it deserved severe consequences. Reading about what kind of a zoo it was, I think it should involve massive fines/compensations to students and the school staff ending up behind bars, long time before Eric and Dylan finished the school.
How the fuck can bullying occur in a public high school? It's completely incomprehensible. In normal world bullying in high school is some teachers being mildly mean to students that don't do well at school, not inviting a zoo to school and giving it a free reign.

I think the main problem was that both of them had such culture of self-reliance that they never did stuff to address the problem with help of adults, like having a serious talk with their parents about their school, refusing to go to school until the situation got fixed, etc.
So, their anger just boiled and spiralled out of control until they hated the whole school.

Well, if we consider stuff that was happening at that school normal, we can as well conclude that getting killed/losing kids in NBK is completely normal and just a "hardship" to overcome and that everyone should get over it.
Amorality is a bitch, eh?

Anonymous said...

High school bullying is a hardship. I was bullied off and on, everyone has been to some degree. It sucks, sure. But it is not more than a hardship and responding with mass killing is not normal, not reasonable, NOT heroic. I could see how someone with malignant narcissistic personality disorder would make it all about them and find mass murder an acceptable response though. I would have loved to have the family life these guys had. Stronger saner people have overcome far worse then getting their feelers hurt in highschool, so stop making it sound as if highschool bullying can turn a rational human being into a mass murderer who dehumanized and mocked helpless KIDS as they gunned them down. These guys were pathetic, self absorbed bullies devoid of empathy. The analysis put forth by ACTUAL experts, peer reviewed even, is more solid then the whole "awww they were bullied victims" bullshit narrative.