Hmmm. My thoughts on this one are sort of all over the place but shout out to @ricetwicethrice for helping me sparse this one out. Let’s start with things I appreciated. I remember when this tragedy took place. I remember the media blaming Marlyn Manson and goths. I also remember the guns and how the media said the two boys were horrifically bullied. All of those things were untrue. The fact that this was supposed to be a bombing and not a shoot out was something I never knew. I appreciated the way Cullen dismantled many of the false media narratives that were presented to us at first glance. But what is more enraging is that NOTHING HAS CHANGED. So when I was reading this I was honestly kind of sick to my stomach and just wanted to be done with it.
There are two things here I want to critique. First thing was the overall structure of the book. It does not take place in chronological order and the chapters alternate between the victims and the murders. This was at times confusing bc the timelines didn’t really match up. I thought it also made the flow of the book a bit choppy. And the other thing that sort of rubs me the wrong way is Cullen’s characterization of Eric Harris as a psychopath. Like. Okay. Yes. Maybe. But also there is just so much information about him missing. There was no examination of his white supremacists beliefs. While Dylan Klebolds parents were more forthcoming about their son, Harris’s parents have remained tight lipped. I just feel like there’s this hole in his narrative. But maybe not. Maybe I just need more of a reason for why he chose to do what he did, but then why do I need that? At the end of the day 15 kids were murdered with 24 injured. Why do I care about why? What I care about is why is it so easy to still buy a gun? Why are the shooters mostly young white boys? Why has it been over two decades with no change in policy? Why does the media still get things so horribly wrong? Why do we continue to allow this to happen? This was written in 2009. we’ve got nothing to show for it. I can’t say I’m glad I read this. Maybe younger people who weren’t alive then will glean something here. But maybe not bc they already know.