Columbine - Dave Cullen The grainy image of Dylan Klebold stalking past the school cafeteria security video with a Tec-9 was the most enduring image I had of the Columbine media frenzy. Various other stray facts (the Trench Coat Mafia, Basement Videos, the girl who said yes and propane gas bombs) fell into a general sense of two misfit, picked on kids, seeking revenge.

Which is part of the reason why Cullen wrote his incredibly fascinating account Columbine. Cullen, who was also a journalist during the incident, clarifies the numerous misconception that arose after the shooting. The main culprits being the media-machine which he was a part of and the political sheriff in charge of the investigation.

Such viciousness is so outside the realm of most of our experience that the subject grips with horrific curiosity. It can be, and was, exploited. And I feared the same from this book. However, Cullen’s account strives, and in my opinion achieves, objectivity. As he states in his Author’s Note on Sources:
I covered the story extensively as a journalist, beginning around noon on the day of the attack. The episodes recounted here are a blend of my contemporaneous reporting with nine years of research. This included hundreds of interviews with most of the principals, examination of more than 25,000 pages of police evidence, countless hours of video and audiotape, and the extensive work of other journalists I consider reliable.
Cullen not only focuses on the psychology and actions of Klebold and Harris, but also intersperses his account with the stories of victims and parents connected to the tragedy. It all results in a compelling read that is well structured to build suspense around the psychology of the kids rather than the violence of their acts. He avoids caricatures and respectfully writes about those in the aftermath.

Though I’m sure the thought of Klebold and Harris leaving any kind of legacy is reprehensible to the Columbine community, the undeniable truth is that they have. The greatest fear being that such hate or bloodlust will tap into the psyche of other adolescents who may romanticize their actions. By not sanctifying the victims, he also avoids demonizing the attackers. Cullen compiles what seems to be a fair and accurate account of how their actions should be interpreted. Without interjecting some extraneous meaning, we are left with what this was.

Horror.