Section Two: After and Before

Section two of Columbine, by Dave Cullen, focuses on the lives of Dylan and Eric before they started planning their attack, and the aftermath of the terror they brought down on all of the students, teachers, and people of the nation. While reading, I was most shocked to see how hostile Dylan and Eric were from an early childhood. There are several indicators that a child could grow up to be a sociopath, and potentially end up causing harm to others for this reason, including vandalism, lack of empathy, setting fires, and cruelty from a young age. All of these traits describe Dylan and/or Eric from early on, yet no one noticed the signs as a true danger because the attack on Columbine High School was not something people would expect to happen in Jefferson County. Moments like Dylan having extreme outbursts of anger could easily be seen as temper tantrums because having any other thought would be seen as overreacting. It’s hard to prepare for something as horrible as Columbine because it seems unbelievable that someone would do such a horrible action. Judy Brown, a neighbor and parent of Brooks Brown, claims, “I would see Dylan get frustrated with himself and go crazy.” It was said that, “He would go docile for days or months, then the pain would boil over and some minor transgression would humiliate him.” Dylan was seen as a gifted boy with some minor anger issues, so seeing past his hostility seems somewhat reasonable. Although, Eric, was extremely dangerous from early on, including his threats on Brooks Brown, his files of online hate rants, his death threats to anyone who upset him, and his conversations of dreaming of a world completely empty. All of these signs pointed straight towards a killer, or a criminal to be. It must have been so incredibly hard for both of their parents to look back at these moments, paired against their good memories, and realize that they were blinded by the fact that these kids were their kids. Losing someone you love is extremely hard, but knowing what Dylan and Eric had done, and seeing the tragedy it brought down on the country, must have brought even more difficulty when saying goodbye to their sons for good. The media liked to come up with different motives, from Trench Coat Mafias to goths. Although, in my opinion, I think Dylan and Eric were regular kids who wanted to fit in more, and faced several mental and emotional issues. Their families will always have to live with the guilt and shame of the boys, along with the misconceptions brought down on them by the media and other people who embellished their stories. Columbine was tragic enough, and I think that trying to add more to the story to make kids seem even more heroic, or their deaths even more sad, seems extremely insensitive to all of the people involved. In section two of Columbine, there are several stories given about Dylan and Eric that point towards what could lead to their acts of terror. Although, what they did was so harmful to so many people, mentally and physically, that expecting it would be nearly impossible.

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