On April 20, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris went to Columbine High School and killed 12 students, 1 teacher and wounded 24 other students, some critically. They intended to do much worse but their propane bombs and other explosive devices didn't detonate as planned. The boys died at the scene by their own hand.
Sue Klebold is Dylan's mother and after 16 years, her book, A Mother's Reckoning, Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, is an account of the killings but most importantly, her search
to find answers to the questions, "How could those boys' parents not know what their son was going to do?" and "What kind of terrible parents were they?"
Dylan Klebold's death was ruled suicide; he was not killed by the police or by Eric Harris.
As his mother delved further and further into the horror of Columbine and what had driven her son to commit such heinous actions she was led into the dark world of suicide victims. Dylan Klebold was an intelligent, intellectually gifted young man. He did have trouble fitting in with the "jocks" and those "who mattered" at Columbine. Although he had friends, he was much more of an outcast than his mother realized. There were signs but subtle that he was clinically depressed and may have had other personality disorders. The last "journal", a collection of scraps of writing tucked into books, scribbled on napkins showed a deteriorating mind and a diseased world view... yet no one knew. Sue Klebold does not try to vindicate her son. She believes his abominable actions on April 20th were a result of his depression and suicidal thoughts but she blames herself and her husband for not knowing or discovering how brain sick (her words) Dylan was. If only she had known, she'd have tried to do something.
We all think we know our children. So did Sue Klebold, right up until the day Dylan shot his classmates at Columbine High School. Her plea is for people (especially those with teen children) to look for subtle changes, to investigate unusual behaviours. Adolescents do not present with the same symptoms of clinical depression as adults do. She believes the killings at Columbine, for Dylan, were his way to commit suicide.
This was a difficult book to read. Sue Klebold has spent 16 years wondering what she did wrong, wondering how she could have raised a "monster" without knowing. It is a cry for understanding but more than that it is a plea to reach out when things might be going south for a young person.
I've been writing on and off for years and this is where my more serious pieces will be.