I was reading the news headlines this morning and noticed a headline noting a girl who saved a school from repeating the sad incident that occurred at Columbine High School in Colorado some 12 years ago. It reminded me of a book I read in 2011, a book I feel should be shared.

It should be known that my brother and I are big readers, but generally of differing genres. He is into books on world religion, the state of modern society, and fiction written by unknown modern writers. I, on the other hand, spend much of my time in military/politcal history, classical fiction, and big name fantasy books (with a lot of Star Wars novels interspersed here and there). So, we tend not to be lenders of books to one another.

Last year, I had spent the vast majority of my time studying for the final two sections of the CPA Exam, a grueling test of endurance and ones willingness to torture themselves all in the name of a certificate to frame on the wall and three letters to put after their name on a business card/email signature. However, in between exams, I decided I wanted to read a book, and not one that I would normally read. So, I went to the authority on books I have never read, my brother. Without hesitation, my brother told me I must read Columbine by Dave Cullen.


I was hesitant to take his advice as I had been a senior in high school at the time of the now infamous events that took place in Columbine in 1999, making it an all-to-relatable situation for me. On top of that, my passion for video games had garnered additional distaste for the events as the popular culture talking heads we call media and politicians decided to level their anger and point blame at the gaming, music, movie, and television genres for the actions and choices made by those misguided and horribly disturbed teenagers or to blame it on other teenagers for bullying the boys. But, I had promised myself I would read whatever he had recommended, and I am glad I did.

For many, the subject of the incident at Columbine revives memories of the Trench Coat Mafia, varying (and often conflicting) stories of what happened that day, and the world trying to point blame at violent media and poor parenting. But, after all of the media coverage settles and all of the politicians have made their claims to convince their constituents that they are trying to do something good for their children, we are left with nothing but questions. How did this all happen? Who is telling the truth? What is the whole story? And why did two teenagers lash out so violently?

After 10 years of painstaking research and interviews, Dave Cullins has put together the most comprehensive and detailed account to date. This record points out and disassembles numerous myths surrounding the tragedy, the failings of the police, and the foolishness of the media trying to capitalize on the tragedy to gain viewers or readers.

Not once in the 432 pages does the author take the easy way out and try to write off the actions of the killers as the product of any outside influence. Rather, he provides a view and expert opinions of the thoughts of the killers, as recorded by the killers themselves, and what drove them to their final actions. At the same time, the author is able to balance this with a deep look into the effects of the tragedy on the victims and their families without taking sides.

Without question, this book deeply affected me and I strongly recommend and urge everyone to give this book a chance, especially gamers. This one event, and many like it, has drawn unwarranted attention from people claiming our hobby is one of the contributors causing young people to express themselves violently. Again, I highly recommend this book. Do know, however, this book does not edit the comments of the two killers and does paint a very real and very graphic mental picture of the events.