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Columbine by Dave Cullen Essay Sample

Rinnin head: COLUMBINE BY DAVID CULLEN                                                            1

Was it a bullying effect or simply a psychopath behavior?

Columbine by Dave Cullen is a book that covers a leaf life story about two teenagers who ended up killing thirteen people and severely injuring a number of school mates after shooting them to death and using the pipe bombs inside the Columbine High School. Their initial plan was a little different, as they planned to detonate two bottle bombs inside the school building and waif for the running students on the parking lot in order to have a clear area to shoot them.

This attack left so many questions being unanswered, that there have been many psychologists trying to understand the triggers that driven two teenagers ruthlessly killing their school mates. Whether Eric and Dylan have been had any companions? What were the true reasons that made them to want to kill people. What would happen if Dylan and Eric never met? Would they find other partners and do the other attack or act on their own? Who was the dominant partner when planning the attack? Why it took so long for police to take actions? Whether good parenting could prevent this attack?

The author tried to give the full detailed information on what happened, how this happened, who was involved in the investigation and what kind of evidence were analyzed in order to provide of full analysis and possible answers to the multiple questions. Both attackers have been through a detention juvenile program for breaking in to a van. Both teenagers had criminal activity previously, but shooting thirteen people and committing suicide to themselves does not point out on simply a criminal activity or behaviors, but psychopath activity.

Many people believed that the two teenagers were bullied by their peers and this consequently triggered the mass shooting. However, FBI analysts disapproved this theory claiming that both boys were psychopath and Eric was the dominant one while planning attacks.

Bullying is an important issue in today's society, especially among students. Children, who become outcasts, tend to develop anger towards their bullies and even commit something terrible in revenge. This was not the case, even though many people who were trying to find any justification in Eric and Dylan’s actions were trying to say. After deep examination of the home tapes, personal journals of the shooters, it turned out that they have planned this happening for quite a time and that they both felt very hesitant at some point to commit it.

It was revealed that Eric was the dominant one, by reading his journal and watching the home videos of Dylan. On those tapes Dylan was always trying to look at Eric for approval and when something was happening on the video, Dylan was always looking at Eric to watch his reaction and share.

After something terrible happens, society often looks for revenge and has an urge need to blame someone. In this case, if the both boys were still alive, everyone would have them to blame. They committed suicide and the community now needed to blame someone, including parents, teachers and police.

Several versions and theories have been developed, including bad parenting, or teachers’ ignorance or late actions of police. After parents of one of the boys’ friend claimed that Eric Harris previously threatened their son and they had gone to police with the information. The society went viral blaming police for not taking any preventive actions, especially when they had an access to Eric’s website that contained some of his thoughts that later seemed quite clear for FBI analysts to claim him to be a sociopath.

Claims that Eric was the dominant partner in this friendship have been made based on the home video tapes and how FBI analysts interpreted them, especially the way Dylan looked at Eric and how Eric behaved. Another key factor is stating him to be a dominant is Eric’s journals, where he described the planned attacks in details trying to explain himself.

The released basement videos significantly reminded of the suicide note and they described their plan in details. This is how police and FBI knew that their initial plan have not worked out and they had to stick with plan B, using the pipe bombs and guns simply shooting everyone. They were full of rage and were addressing their parents and families that their actions would change everything. In addition, their suicide was planned, so the theory that they have regretted of what they have done and killed themselves could not be processed. In those basement videos Eric says how it is weird to tape this video now and realize that he will be dead in two weeks.

Was this a revenge? It is possible to say that both teenagers did not feel they fit in with the school society and were somewhat outcasts. However, this was not the first criminal incident that happened to boys, as they previously broke in to someone’s van. They have been charged with it and spent month in the juvenile detention. Eric even wrote a note apologizing for breaking into a van, that sounded quite sincere. However, FBI revealed that more likely Eric initiated both break-in and the mass shooting, making Dylan to follow him into this.

Dylan seemed to be following Eric in everything. According to FBI analysts, Eric was a dominant one in both their friendship and planning this attack. What would happen if Dylan never met Eric? Would he be a normal person living a normal life? Was he realizing what is he about to commit? Did it matter to him whom to kill?

It seems that Eric was shooting people just for fun and was bored at some point. One of the survivors, Valeen Schnurr, said that she had been shot by Dylan and began to pray. When Dylan came closer and asked her if she believed in God, she said she did and he did not kill her. This statement might prove that Dylan was not that cruel and psychopath deep inside and might have a bit of a sanity and compassion inside of him. FBI analysis described Dylan as loud and uproarious, however, after everything he said he would look at Eric to watch his reaction.

It seems like Eric was shooting people without any concern and Dylan tried to choose who to shoot. If the words that someone was a christian made him not to shoot the person, then this massacre was something different to him other than simply fun. Maybe this was because Dylan’s writings in his journal were more focused on love during this period. Maybe he started feeling something and was emotionally and psychologically suppressed by the dominant friend.

Trying to explain what happened in Eric and Dylan’s minds is hard and probably not even possible. It is impossible to determine WHAT has driven them to kill those school mates and WHY they did it. FBI stated that the boys were psychopaths and no one can really figure out how their minds work. They simply had no empathy and both boys fulfilled each other. Eric was more like a calm person, searching for excitement but not able to keep up with it. Dylan was a loud and lively boy, feeding Eric’s need for excitement, at the same time allowing Eric to be a dominant part of their friendship.

Killing people with no specific reason for that is a clear indication of psychopath behavior. Even though Dylan was not the dominant in the friendship of him and Eric, he knew what he was about to commit, as the basement videos of him and Eric revealed their specific plans of detonating bombs inside school and killing those who would run outside to save their lives.

killing those who would run outside to save their lives.


Cullen, D. (2010). Columbine. New York, NY: Twelve.