Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Columbine: Facts vs. Fiction, or What Really Went Down April 20, 1999

Totally gripping, extremely well-researched. Cullen's examination into the Columbine shootings is an unflinching, unsentimental look at one of the most horrific tragedies in our country's history. The book's pace is fast and alternates chapter-to-chapter between the killers, the victims, the aftermath, the families, the principal, one of the main detectives, and others involved in the event. Cullen exposes several myths (or re-exposes, as most of them have already been publicly debunked) that emerged out of Columbine, including that the killers had planned the attack exactly as it occurred (Columbine was actually a bombing gone wrong- the killers had planned to blow up the school, but the propane bombs they built and then planted did not go off); that Cassie Bernall said that she believed in God before she was shot to death (another girl actually said those words); and that the killers "snapped" due to incessant bullying from jocks (Eric Harris has actually been diagnosed posthumously as a classic psychopath who had been planning the killing spree for over a year). Columbine was the last thing I thought about before going to sleep, and the first thing I thought about when I woke up. I also thought about it intermittently throughout the day. Although it was an incredible read, I am glad to be able to get it out of my head and move on to something that is not such a terrifying look at the blackest side of human nature. 4 out of 4 Bananas!

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