4th Columbine Reflection
Dave Cullen uses this section of the book to further explain Dylan and Eric’s internal conflicts, the church and families use of Cassie Bernall’s death to recruit new evangelicals, and the police and media response to information to set a mood for the Columbine incident. Dylan is described as not being as violent towards others as Eric, just more depressed and self loathing. He is also described throughout the book as wanting to seek tranquility with himself but, unlike Eric, not wanting to commit homicide. This trait is shown with Dylan until his death as through the shooting, the book describes him as only firing off a few rounds from his weapons and not killing many people even though he was given the opportunity. This behavior is contradictory to that of Eric who seems to gain a sincere amount of joy in murdering his peers and whose previous activity showed hate for everyone else rather than himself. This is clearly shown in the chapter where Cassie Bernall’s death is accurately described and it shows how ruthless and uncaring Eric was for other “lesser” life. “Eric poked his shotgun under the table rim as he came down. He didn’t pause long, or even stoop down far enough for Emily to see his face. She saw the sawed-off gun barrel. The opening was huge. She looked into Cassie’s brown eyes. Cassie was still praying. There was no time for words between them. Eric shot Cassie in the head.” Pg. 445.
Cassie Bernall’s death is tragically described in the book and unfortunately lots of religious figures and even her own parents blow her distorted death story out of proportion for self promotion and emotional healing. Unaware of how Cassie actually died, these people used Craig Scott’s eyewitness story as the grounds for the creation of this martyr. As proven throughout the entirety of this investigation, eyewitness testimony is often incorrect and Craig most likely witnessed the exchange between Valeen Schnurr and Dylan Klebold but mistook Valeen for Cassie. This misinformation led to the creation of Cassie Bernall the martyr and evangelical preachers nationwide used this to recruit new people into the evangelical church. This story depicts Cassie proclaiming her belief in God in a conversation with one of the killers shortly before she is shto. Sadly Cassie was shot by Eric under a Table before she could even say a word. Personally I disagree with how the evangelical church was using this, regardless of whether or not what you believe in is “all good” you shouldn’t use a terrified young girl’s death as a promotion for it. Especially if the only account you have for its actual occurrence is the eyewitness testimony of someone who was in the most terrifying situation of their life. The parents of Cassie did not know the truth nor had complete details on their daughter’s death so when news spread out they she died a hero, I’m sure it relieved them that she was being honored and their beliefs were being recognized. Her story also helped both of them heal over the loss of the daughter and to them her story was more focused on her overcoming her struggles in life rather than her death.
Police and Media response has surprised me throughout this book and I believe would cause a general sense of outrage for any reader of Columbine. So much trouble and suffering could have been avoided if these respective organizations did their job in the most general and objective way possible. The police force of Littleton had numerous chances to stop Eric and Dylan with multiple reports of petty theft and vandalism, reason to believe that Eric was in the possession of homemade explosives, and repeated threats to the Brown family and other groups of people in general on Eric’s website. Many reports were filed and an actual search warrant was made but for some reason was not prioritized enough to be taken before a judge. Had any of these events been taken action upon, the Columbine incident may have never occurred. Media also withheld the information on accurate details about the Columbine shooting such as the actual death of Cassie Bernall. The fact that they were waiting for the opportune time to release this information to maximize profit and attention appalls me. The media’s original goal was to report local and world news to the average citizen and today many stations have become biased with topics ranging from politics to views on world events such as terrorist attacks. In this situation they were withholding key information for the public for profit and that should not be allowed. Both of these Organizations had faults which allowed for their to be more suffering over this incident than there needed to be.