Tuesday, January 17, 2017

No Easy Answers

I recently finished Sue Klebold’s book A Mother’s Reckoning and when I got into work today my ILL book was awaiting me: No Easy Answers: Truth Behind Death at Columbine.

It was interesting to read a mother’s account of the tragedy, and the circumstances that she feel led to it, so I decided to read a different viewpoint of the same event. This book was written by a friend and classmate of the teens who were responsible for the shooting.

As I've written before, I was in highschool when Columbine happened, and the year after it happened, I attended the National Catholic Youth Conference. It was a football-field sized stadium that we gathered in, us teens from across the country who came together for this event. Much of the time spent at the conference was listening to speakers and attending workshops and seminars, so it wasn't surprising to see a young woman climb the steps to the stage and take her place behind the podium. I cannot remember what she said her name was, but when she said I"m a student at Columbine Highschool" you could hear a pin drop.

Everyone wanted to hear what this girl had to say because what had impacted her directly had impacted all of us indirectly. Even now as a 30-something adult, I often think back to how I felt watching the news footage of the tragedy, and the conversations I had with my friends in the days and week following. I remember clearly that my high school, a small, private Catholic all-girls school, installed a new security system with a doorbell and a video camera.

I was discussing Sue Klebold's book with a teacher at school who had also read it, and how difficult it is as mothers to even try to imagine our sons committing such a horrible crime, and taking themselves away from us in such a shocking and violent way. Brown writes: "The next Dylan could be your son. . .a regular person who faces the cruelty of the real world just like the rest of us- and in whom something erodes away over time."

After reading Sue Klebold's book, it doesn't seem as if Dylan was unloved, or even that he imagined that he was unloved. I think what eroded away in him was hope. Depression is a cruel disease, and over time it robs people of their ability to see the future in any positive way. What's the point of continuing on if it means more sadness/grief/anxiety/anger/etc? Someone who struggles with depression for years, as Dylan did, and hides it from others due because of the shame involved, probably wouldn't have much hope left.

Everyone begins the same way- a newborn baby. Everyone is someone's child, and even though society paints people as monsters, I like to remind myself that everyone is a person. I can't believe that anyone begins their life intent on destroying another's, and I see these books as an attempt to restore some humanity, even in the worst imaginable scenarios.

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