From the author:
I arrived at Columbine the first hour of the shooting, and spent ten years on this book. I was driven by two questions: why did they do it, and how did this shattered community recovery?
My surprise was that most of what we “know” about Columbine was wrong. It wasn’t about jocks, Goths or the Trench Coat Mafia. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold didn’t even envision a school shooting. They ridiculed school shooters as losers. Eric built his bombs to dwarf Oklahoma City. They planned to mow down survivors fleeing the the burning rubble for “fun.” And it would end with more bombs.
The key to comprehending Columbine is letting go of our concept of “the killers.” Spend a few pages with Dylan and Eric, and you’ll discover two starkly disparate boys. Their motives and personalities were poles apart. Eric Harris was monstrous; Dylan Klebold was loving but bitterly angry inside — a tender boy torn apart. Dylan was truly a revelation.
The survivors proved equally illuminating. Their stories are surprisingly uplifting — such a refreshing contrast to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Thousands of students and parents faced the unthinkable; most overcame it, many in extraordinary ways. I was amazed by their spirit and by stunning moments of redemption. Hopefully, those shine through in Columbine. Each survivor’s recovery is unique, but they consistently tell me the greatest lesson other communities can learn is: Don’t rush the healing!