I had hoped the mother or author would do the unexpected, but no, it's the same old complete denial that parents have any effect whatsoever on their kids behavior (unless the kids are a success and then of course that's 100% due to the parenting).
I have a lot of respect for parents who confess at some point that they were bad parents, but didn't realize it at the time, and they take complete responsibility for how their kids turned out.
Everything I have ever read about Columbine says that the parents were nice people who tried to get the right help for thhit sons when they were arrested for breaking into a car and when Eric Harris was found to have made a pipe bomb.
I was just reading up on the Clutter killings. (In Cold Blood) Dick Hickock's family was a nice working class family. It seems his personality changed after he was in a bad accident where he sustained head injuries. Perry Smith's family, on the other hand, was violent, broken and alcoholic. In other words, Smith's family is exactly the kind you expect to raise a killer.
Charles Manson's family life was also chaotic. His mother was a "good time girl" (a prostitute) and he was shuffled around and sent to reform school. Many of his followers came from broken families who ignored or tormented tjeir children. Others came from perfectly nice families who couldn't understand wtf caused their children to run off to the desert and become devotees of a stumpy con man.
I do believe that sometimes parents do the best they can but their kids are just plain fuck ups who hide their motives and thoughts quite well. (I know I lied to my parents when I was a teen. A lot.)
It's easy to blame the parents. Some parents -- like Jeffrey Dahmer's -- did totally bizarre things to placate their crazy kids. Others didn't know how crazy their kids were because their kids were good at lying to them. Still other parents knew their kids were disturbed and did their best to get help for them.
The problem with blaming the parents is that the boys THEMSELVES did not blame their parents in any way. In fact they pretty much let their parents off the hook in the suicide notes they left behind. Klebold and Harris put the blame for their misery squarely on the bullying they endured at school, and the administration that turned a blind eye to it.
The principal reportedly was a jock himself who supported the jocks and the bullies and didnt give a shit about the geeks and the losers, who he seems to have thought deserved a good bullying.
These boys were not "crazy" in the way someone like Jeffrey Dahmer was. Columbine was a rage murder from a pair of outcasts.
There are a few excellent books out there about Columbine, and it's clear that Dylan Klebold was not the mastermind of the attacks, and was just a follower. His parents didn't know, and his participation in this horror can be laid at the feet of Eric Harris, whose family dynamics were much more complicated. It turns out that Harris, who was charming and very intelligent, was the true sociopath.
but did the mother keep her hair appointment (as initially reported?)
I've also read that the Klebolds were good parents who tried to help their troubled son. Sometimes kids fall in with the wrong crowd, and people say that's what happened to Dylan. That Dylan fell under the sway of Eric and wouldn't have done what he did if he hadn't become enmeshed with him. His classmates have pretty much all said that about him.
Heterosexual males strike out. Physical violence is a part of heterosexual male culture. It's encouraged. And with that encouragement you are going to have some heterosexual males who go overboard. When answering whether a person might commit mass murder first ask if the person is a heterosexual male. If yes, then proceed further into the person's character.
She should have killed herself immediatly.
Miranda Richardson, Damage
Eric Harris was a total hottie! What a waste.
R2, what bizarre things did Dahmer's parents do to placate him?
As to Dylan Klebold, from my understanding, both his parents were fairly normal, decent people and he had a good upbringing. It seems that in his case, his friendship/love affair(?) with Eric Harris is what did him in.
Dylan Klebold's mom wrote an eloquent, thoughtful, heartbreaking essay for Oprah's magazine a few years back. In these instances, I always feel for the mothers and fathers of these crazies.
Lionel Shriver's novel, "We Need to Talk About Kevin", is very interesting and relevant as it deals with the aftermath of the shooter's parents, the feelings of guilt, the social shunning.
I just watched a documentary about the shootings about the shootings after reading this post. I found it on Youtube, Columbine the final report or something of that nature.
Anyway, in this film it said that the two were not bullied, that based on their journal entries they were pissed off at everyone starting when the boys got arrested for theft on a van a year earlier.
They were supposedly POed they had to go to anger management thus they began planning this whole attack.
The documentary also said they had friends, did not belong to a trench coat mafia and had no specific target list. They were intent on setting off the bombs and shooting everyone who fled. They wanted to inflict maximum pain and death on anybody and everybody.
But, who knows. Conflicting reports aside I think they were just nutballs who were born that way.
R11 Dumb-dumbs like you always have to interject. If it's something bad you can bet there will be a chorus of posters questioning whether the person is gay. You clearly don't know what a heterosexual male friendship looks like to distinguish the difference between it and a gay relationship.
R13, you sound like a dumbass with a very strange agenda. I would go on and describe how Dylan and Eric had a very Leopold/Loeb relationship, but I see no point in conversing with you any further.
[quote]Klebold and Harris put the blame for their misery squarely on the bullying they endured at school, and the administration that turned a blind eye to it.
People who are psychotic lie a lot. I wouldn't put stock in a single thing either one of them ever said or wrote.
Yup, I think the bullying thing was an excuse to kill.
They were so cray, cray and bonded in that crazyness I don't think any bullying would have hurt them in any way.
They were demented as clearly seen in some of their weird video diaries.
The DEFINITIVE book on the Columbine massacre is "Columbine" by homosexualist, Dave Cullen. He is regarded as the #1 expert on the subject in the literary world. He was there from day one researching and interviewing everyone and everything that was happening. He didn't let up for a decade. He published his book on the tenth anniversary of the tragedy. He called bullshit on so many things, including the dumbfuck Christian parents who said that their little darling wouldn't give up god before getting blown away. They made money off that shit.
Pretty sure Dave Cullen used to post here a lot, too - wasn't he the one behind the Brokeback Mountain threads when it lost best picture?
[quote]He called bullshit on so many things, including the dumbfuck Christian parents who said that their little darling wouldn't give up god before getting blown away. They made money off that shit.
He also was far, far kinder in his assessment of Missy Bernall than he had to be. He basically said that he thought she was doing her church appearances and writing her book because it was helping her grieve, not because she was trying to make money. I do know she ended up moving to North Carolina, so he's probably right.
The Klebolds have always been incredibly tone-deaf about making public statements. Sue Klebold mailed out sympathy cards to the parents of all of the dead--I believe on the one year anniversary--which I suppose was born of a good impulse, but I bet if she'd bother to ask anyone, they would have told her not too.
Wayne and Kathy Harris, on the other hand, have never spoken publicly. Which may be because they are a lot more culpable than the Klebolds. The latter were just clueless. Wayne Harris was a martinet who utterly failed to take his son's escalating behavior seriously, thinking he was able to deal with it himself.
The Voice of the Night
You're an asshole, r1.
No idea about the hair appointment, but I would imagine someone in total shock might move on autopilot or in a slightly odd way, so cut her some slack.
Sadly, in today's society bullying has taken a far more violent turn then when I was in High School in the 50's and 60's.. I had my share of being bullied but to say it was anything like what the kids today go through would be ridiculous! Bullies run in packs now, much like Hyenas and they are just as dangerous.. They latch onto some poor kid and worry at them like a dog over a bone.. They humiliate, denigrate and they are so feared or admired or both by their peers that they will push far beyond the acceptable bounds of human behavior.. They literally BECOME pack animals!
If you were to go to a prison and watch the behavior of some of the prisoners, the way they treat the weaker among them, even, in some cases the guards, you would understand the mentality of a bully.. They are basically the worst of all cowards, brave ONLY when they have the upper hand or are surrounded by their circle of followers.. Inside, bullies tell themselves they are 'superior' then the people they bully, either by strength, wealth or both but, in truth, they are desperately afraid and only by the act of 'bullying' do they have a sense of control.. It's all illusion, of course, but the result of it all is when their victim/s reach their breaking point! Unfortunately, that result is often seen in horrible ways, such as Columbine and, even more often, in the death by suicide of the victim..
Parents simply don't pay attention, they are blind because they are far too busy leading their own lives.. Gathering more 'things' is, too often, more important then what their child or children are going through.. So often they turn that blind eye with even the slightest reassurance from their child that 'all is well'.. They don't see it isn't because they don't want too! This goes for both sides, bully and victims.. Parents of bullies often encourage their behavior with their own actions, be it with physical and mental abuse or teaching their children they are 'better' then everyone else.. Most females (cheerleaders are notorious at being bullies) come from wealthy families and feel they are 'entitled' to act the way they do.. Sadly, their parents often encourage this attitude because THEY, in turn, feel exactly the same..
After all, bullies beget bullies, just like violence begets violence!
[quote]It's all illusion, of course, but the result of it all is when their victim/s reach their breaking point! Unfortunately, that result is often seen in horrible ways, such as Columbine and, even more often, in the death by suicide of the victim..
Except that the Columbine shooting had nothing to do with bullying. That was more misinformation that made into the media echo chamber in the first days after the shooting, and then became canon.
The Voice of the Night
R3. According to Dave Cullen's excellent Columbine book, Dylan and Eric were the bullies. Dylan had been suspended for writing Fag on a younger students locker. And they didn't really go after jocks during the shooting. That's just something Eric said to try to get one of his friends (a guy who hated jocks) involved in the attack.
Columbine was anything but an isolated event. It came amid a cluster of school shootings. It only became really big news because Harris and Klebold managed to rack up a higher body count than any of the other school shooters.
Mass shootings are a way of life in this country, and for one reason: guns. The firearms industry has masterfully used the NRA to maximize profits while neutralizing all resistance to the sale and use of its products. As a result, Americans see gun massacres as a viable solution to any life crisis, whether it's the end of a relationship, being fired or laid off, or just pissed off and fed up and wanting to make some sort of statement about it. How can you parent against an entire culture that promotes gun nuttery?
It's quite interesting in the novel We Need to Talk About Kevin, how many other real school shootings are directly referenced in the novel. It does hammer the point home that Columbine wasn't an isolated incident.
We Need to Talk About Kevin is a fantastic book. The film is actually a decent adaptation.
Excellent post, R22.
There's another thing that happens. Kids who become involved in antisocial behavior train their parents to either ignore what they're doing or stay out of their lives. They are so difficult and unpleasant to deal with, the parents leave them alone.
I had been wondering how parents manage to stand by while their kids collect weapons and decorate their rooms with swastikas. Most parents feel helpless in dealing with aggressive children, to the point where they give up trying to control them, stand aside and hope it doesn't get too crazy. Early on they may have tried various kinds of therapy but eventually they give up because it's not helpful. I know some parents who sent their son to a military school hoping regimentation and discipline would be a solution. He has graduated from the military academy and he's even worse than he was before.
The "went to her hair appointment" claim sounds like an urban myth. I seriously doubt that happened.
I'm sure you're right, R29. My guess is they did not want to be seen in public afterward until they were forced to do so.
I read the Cullen book. It was excellent. My take away was that (and while this isn't excusable) Harris was the real psycho and Klebold went along with it.
I believe the Harris's have never spoken publicly and I think that's a wise choice.
I realize that parents cannot be responsible for every decision their kids make and you never know how a kid will turn out. However, the idea that both sets of parents didn't have the slightest clue as to what was being planned defies everything I have experienced being a parent of teens.
If they truly didn't know its because they paid absolutely no attention whatsoever to their kids, their friends and their behavior.
As boys become teens, they get a lot bigger and stronger. This is good in a situation where the parent is an abuser. My grandfather was a drunken old bastard and when his sons got old enough to kick the shit out of him, he stopped beating their mother.
But when the kid is a violent, destructive kid, he can hurt the family when he grows older. You can make him see a therapist when he's 10, but when he's 6'2" at age 16 or 17, you're not going to get him to do something he doesn't want to do. If he's been punching holes in walls, the parents may be afraid he'll hurt his siblings or the parents themselves. They may be quietly hoping for him to reach age 18, when they can kick him out of the house and get an order of protection. They might be keeping family troubles quiet because they don't want to set off this hulking, violent person in their home. They may be dropping hints to their son about how he would make a great soldier or Navy SEAL and hope he joins the military and gets the hell out of the house as soon as he's eligible.
It can't be easy to deal with a scary teenage boy.
[quote]I would go on and describe how Dylan and Eric had a very Leopold/Loeb relationship, but I see no point in conversing with you any further.
Please elaborate anyway, R14. I'm interested in this perspective.
R32, how can you be so shocked or surprised by the fact many parents, BOTH of them, haven't a clue as to what their teens are involved in outside of the home!? The fact is many parents are totally clueless as to what their children are doing with their peers.. Even those parents who THINK they take an active interest in their kids and make an effort to keep tabs on where they are, really have little to no control once the kids leave their sight! I think ALL parents of teenagers need to take a long, HARD look at just how much influence they really exert over their little darlings!
R23, this goes for you.. You say that Columbine had nothing to do with bullying but you really have no clue as to what those two boys really went through BEFORE they met up with each other.. Both were very likely bullied throughout their school years and may even have done a bit of bullying themselves.. However you look at it those two boys did NOT fit in with their peers and any child who doesn't fit in will soon become the target of bullies.. A bully can smell 'different' from a mile away! I have absolutely no doubt those two boys were harassed and bullied by the jocks and those kids who consider themselves the 'elite' of the school.. There are always 'cliques' like these around in ANY school! Bullying may not have been specified in the Columbine shooting but you can bet your arse it played a big part in those two boys lives!
How do we explain when the same parents have several kids and one turns out rotten but the rest are fine?
Children can be nasty, don't you think?
The Voice of the Night
Despite the books, film, etc, the myths remain alive in most people's minds. There are still millions who believe that Christian girl was executed for believing, and that the pair were bullied loners in trench coats.
I saw that when I was back in school when Virginia Tech happened. It suddenly became a very ugly situation for eccentrics.