08 November 2014
No Easy Answers: The Truth behind Death at Columbine is a non-fiction novel, written by Brooks Brown, which provides insight to the behind-the-scenes factor to the Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colorado. On April 20th of 1999, two high school boys, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, entered their local high school by storm with shot guns and homemade pipe bombs. Before turning their weapons on themselves, Harris and Klebold killed twelve of their fellow classmates, one teacher, and left twenty-four others injured and wounded. In this novel, author Brooks Brown who once befriended the two distressed, teenage gunmen, goes into detail of his encounter with the shootings and what he believes may have caused the two boys to resort to such violence.
Brown was able to write from such a personal point of view because he was best friends with Klebold throughout all of grade school. As years passed, Brown was able to see just how sick and ill minded the boys were, as he listened to their fantasies of executing one of, if not the, largest bombings in the history of the United States. Klebold was said to be quiet, depressed, and suicidal. He hurt internally, whereas Harris put on a good face. Harris had many thinking he was kind and well spoken, but he was really very hateful and held quite an insipid attitude towards the world around him and everyone in it. Brown tells us the fantasies of the two boys, along with their wish to plan a bombing in their high school on the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing that would wipe out approximately 600 people.
There were several warning signs that could have been easily identified and tended to, and very well may have nipped the violent tendencies in the bud before they even began. This, I will divvy into two segments. First, one of the main warning signs made apparent by Brown was the near two dozen death threats he received, publically online, from Harris in which the authorities had little to no response for. Harris threatened to murder not only Brown, but his family as well. Brown and his family went to the authorities, went to the parents of Harris, and addressed the parents of Klebold as well; worried, fearful, and concerned, Brown tried in every way he knew how to get the attention of the people who could make a difference in these boys’ lives, yet no one budged. Fortunately, law enforcement takes these matters much more serious now, but think of every innocent person that had to be harmed before they realized what students are capable of? Ironically enough, the same authorities then had the audacity to point fingers at Brown and members of his family after the shooting, insinuating that they were involved or in on the plot that was almost a year in the making because, once upon a time, he was friends with the shooters, all in effort to cover up their own mistakes. The second segment that could be divvied from the lack of attention from authority to warning signs is in the actual school environment. Harris and Klebold were also said to have violent and gruesome tendencies in their school work, including one video project in specific where the boys actually acted out several scenes where they shot and killed their classmates. Now, why that would not alarm a teacher or administrator? That is beyond me. The lack of attention to students is still a present conflict in our society, but thankfully, educators all over the nation are at least attempting to pay close attention to their students and their mental stability now that violence has begun taking our nation’s schools by storm.
Browns obvious emphasis on ignored red flags by authoritative and supportive figures, such as teachers, law enforcement, etc., is not only something that took place almost twenty years ago, but something that is very present and conflicting in our society today. You can turn your television to the news and see another shooting...
Cited: Brown, B. (2002). No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine. Lantern Books.
Division of Violence Prevention. (2014). The Relationship Between Bullying and Suicide. Chamblee: Centers for Disease Control.
FOX News. (2014, June 10). Hero of Seattle campus shooting says gunman was 'sad and troubled '. Retrieved from FOX News: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/06/10/hero-seatle-campus-shooting-says-gunman-was-sad-and-troubled/
Martinz, M. (2014, June 10). "I just want people to die,"Seattle college shooting suspect wrote, prosecutor says. . Retrieved from CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/10/justice/seattle-campus-shooting-charges/
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