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Author Topic: Columbine  (Read 110162 times)

Offline KittyHawk

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Re: Columbine
« Reply #60 on: June 16, 2009, 07:59:26 AM »
Dylan could have been identified and treated, because there are many effective treatments for depression, but Eric?
There is no treatment for Psycopathy.
People like him could be anywhere. Smiling, pleasant, normal seeming, and yet ready to commit murder at a moments notice. It is vey chilling.

Janjo, there is a small ray of hope for improving the behavior of adolescent psychopaths. If you look in the bibliography under the section Psychopathy Treatment, you'll see the name Michael Caldwell listed several times. He directs a promising program in Wisconsin that teaches incarcerated adolescent psychopaths to modify their behavior to become more socially acceptable. His program doesn't cure the condition, but it improves the behavior.

Offline janjo

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Re: Columbine
« Reply #61 on: June 16, 2009, 08:23:10 AM »
Dylan could have been identified and treated, because there are many effective treatments for depression, but Eric?
There is no treatment for Psycopathy.
People like him could be anywhere. Smiling, pleasant, normal seeming, and yet ready to commit murder at a moments notice. It is vey chilling.

Janjo, there is a small ray of hope for improving the behavior of adolescent psychopaths. If you look in the bibliography under the section Psychopathy Treatment, you'll see the name Michael Caldwell listed several times. He directs a promising program in Wisconsin that teaches incarcerated adolescent psychopaths to modify their behavior to become more socially acceptable. His program doesn't cure the condition, but it improves the behavior.

Thank you. I will go and have a look. That is very promising news.
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Offline michaelflanagansf

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Re: Columbine
« Reply #62 on: June 16, 2009, 09:58:10 AM »
5.)  We begin the book in the assembly on the weekend before the attack.  What strikes you about Frank DeAngelis' (Mr. D) relationship with the kids at Columbine?  Do you believe that there would have been a different outcome if he hadn't been principal?

Just a quick comment on this.  One of the things which surprised me the most about Mr. DeAngelis and his relationship with the students is the students reactions to him.  As someone who does not have children, and doesn't spend a lot of personal time (i.e., outside of work) with people 18 and under I tend to think of children as being much more hardened and cynical than they were when I was growing up.  This book shows the myth of that - if you show children love they will respond in kind (with the exception, of course, of the small number of those who incapable of this).

It's a good reminder (for me) not to stereotype kids based on what we are faced with in media constantly.

And I believe that without Frank DeAngelis (and Dave Sanders) the school would have lost many more people that day.  It amazes me that the people who wound up saving lives here were not the police but two thoughtful school employees.  It's very touching.
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Offline michaelflanagansf

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Re: Columbine
« Reply #63 on: June 16, 2009, 10:07:32 AM »
Janjo, there is a small ray of hope for improving the behavior of adolescent psychopaths. If you look in the bibliography under the section Psychopathy Treatment, you'll see the name Michael Caldwell listed several times. He directs a promising program in Wisconsin that teaches incarcerated adolescent psychopaths to modify their behavior to become more socially acceptable. His program doesn't cure the condition, but it improves the behavior.

Yes Lydia, a small glimmer of hope there.

There is no way to go through this book without discussing the nature of psychopathy whenever it comes up - and I would encourage group participants to bring this up when the text prompts them.

I plan on going into this in depth in the fourth section of the book ('Take Back The School') where the chapter 'Psychopath' occurs.  I think it's a great chapter and addresses a lot of these questions - so as readers here are going through and thinking about Eric's behavior and how he differs from us 'normals' I'd also refer you to that chapter as well.
I do my thing, & you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other - it is beautiful. If not it can't be helped.

Fritz Perls - A Gestalt Prayer

Offline chapeaugris

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Re: Columbine
« Reply #64 on: June 16, 2009, 11:09:47 AM »
5.)  We begin the book in the assembly on the weekend before the attack.  What strikes you about Frank DeAngelis' (Mr. D) relationship with the kids at Columbine?  Do you believe that there would have been a different outcome if he hadn't been principal?

Just a quick comment on this.  One of the things which surprised me the most about Mr. DeAngelis and his relationship with the students is the students reactions to him.  As someone who does not have children, and doesn't spend a lot of personal time (i.e., outside of work) with people 18 and under I tend to think of children as being much more hardened and cynical than they were when I was growing up.  This book shows the myth of that - if you show children love they will respond in kind (with the exception, of course, of the small number of those who incapable of this).

It's a good reminder (for me) not to stereotype kids based on what we are faced with in media constantly.

And I believe that without Frank DeAngelis (and Dave Sanders) the school would have lost many more people that day.  It amazes me that the people who wound up saving lives here were not the police but two thoughtful school employees.  It's very touching.
I think it's later in the book that Dave points out that the students' love for Mr D might have blinded him to problems, because when he walked in the hallways all he saw were kids smiling back at him.

Offline Nikki

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Re: Columbine
« Reply #65 on: June 16, 2009, 03:35:42 PM »
5.)  We begin the book in the assembly on the weekend before the attack.  What strikes you about Frank DeAngelis' (Mr. D) relationship with the kids at Columbine?  Do you believe that there would have been a different outcome if he hadn't been principal?

Just a quick comment on this.  One of the things which surprised me the most about Mr. DeAngelis and his relationship with the students is the students reactions to him.  As someone who does not have children, and doesn't spend a lot of personal time (i.e., outside of work) with people 18 and under I tend to think of children as being much more hardened and cynical than they were when I was growing up.  This book shows the myth of that - if you show children love they will respond in kind (with the exception, of course, of the small number of those who incapable of this).

It's a good reminder (for me) not to stereotype kids based on what we are faced with in media constantly.

And I believe that without Frank DeAngelis (and Dave Sanders) the school would have lost many more people that day.  It amazes me that the people who wound up saving lives here were not the police but two thoughtful school employees.  It's very touching.
I think it's later in the book that Dave points out that the students' love for Mr D might have blinded him to problems, because when he walked in the hallways all he saw were kids smiling back at him.

Yes, and students know how to 'get around' teachers even someone like Mr. D.  Kids can sniff out honesty very easily -- they're not easily fooled.
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Offline Nikki

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Re: Columbine
« Reply #66 on: June 16, 2009, 03:47:57 PM »

11.)  In 'Judgment' and 'Female Down' we are given a rundown of the events on April 20th, the day of the attack on Columbine High School.  Were there any things that stood out particularly about they events as they unfold?  Do you think that if Deputy Gardiner had been in the lunch room that things would have turned out differently?  Were you surprised at the demeanor of Eric and Dylan?  What was your opinion of the reactions of the adults in charge in the school - would you have done anything differently?


No, I don't think it would have made that big a difference if Gardiner had been in the lunch room.  Remember, they were all caught off guard, and even some of the students thought it was a joke at first.  As a school cop, Gardiner probably didn't carry a weapon, so even if he had been alert to what was going on, he may not have been able stop the shooters. I suspect they would have gone for him first anyway.

I was surprised  by how the shooters kept their cool and were so coldbloodedly methodical -- this was part of their demeanor.

Can't see how anyone would have done anything differently -- they were all taken off guard -- and no one could have stopped these guys once they started shooting. The only thing that occurred to me was that if there had been metal detectors at the entrances maybe it would have helped, but they were so devious and prepared I think Eric would have found a way around that. 
The shirts hanging on a nail shudder slightly in the draft.

If he does not force his attention on it, it might stoke the day, rewarm that old, cold time on the mountain when they owned the world and nothing seemed wrong.

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive
But to be young was very heaven!

Offline gwyllion

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Re: Columbine
« Reply #67 on: June 16, 2009, 03:58:04 PM »
I agree 100% with Nikki.  I have worked in, and with, schools for many years and it is amazing to this day how truly lax school resource officers are as well as the school administration regarding intruders or trouble makers of any kind.  Sad to say, but I'm surprised that Columbine type incidents do not happen more often. 
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Offline Nikki

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Re: Columbine
« Reply #68 on: June 16, 2009, 04:05:44 PM »
I agree 100% with Nikki.  I have worked in, and with, schools for many years and it is amazing to this day how truly lax school resource officers are as well as the school administration regarding intruders or trouble makers of any kind.  Sad to say, but I'm surprised that Columbine type incidents do not happen more often. 

You're right donnab.  I live in the suburbs where my grandchildren go to school.  Even though there is security in the lobby - you have to check in at the office -- a determined psychopathic killer could get in easily.  This wasn't an inner city school, and neither where I live.  The kids really live in a bubble out here, and the parents are often occupied with other things.  I truly believe anyone could pull this off as easily as Harris and Klebold did, sad to say.
The shirts hanging on a nail shudder slightly in the draft.

If he does not force his attention on it, it might stoke the day, rewarm that old, cold time on the mountain when they owned the world and nothing seemed wrong.

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive
But to be young was very heaven!

Offline Nikki

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Re: Columbine
« Reply #69 on: June 16, 2009, 05:09:17 PM »

18.)  In 'First Assumption' we get to meet Dwayne Fuselier.  What do you think of his response to the attack as opposed to the other law enforcement officers?  Were you impressed by his competence right off?  Do you think that (because we have been introduced to others such as Sheriff Stone) we are more inclined to view him favorably in contrast?


I was impressed with Fuselier -- he was a trained negotiator, clinical psychologist, and veteran FBI agent. Most importantly he seemed cool, calm and collected. Stone was a bureaucrat and county politician who was reminiscent of Andy of Mayberry.  The contrast between the two was wide and deep. I was impressed by how calm Fuselier was even though he knew his son was somewhere on campus. He was a professional in every sense of the word IMO.
The shirts hanging on a nail shudder slightly in the draft.

If he does not force his attention on it, it might stoke the day, rewarm that old, cold time on the mountain when they owned the world and nothing seemed wrong.

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive
But to be young was very heaven!

Offline Jenny

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Re: Columbine
« Reply #70 on: June 16, 2009, 05:18:19 PM »
I thought the opening of the book was very effective because it illustrated the closeness of this principal and his students. This was a happy school. There was a sense of community and bonds of trust between the students, faculty and staff. What Mr. DeAngelis was worried about was the danger of drinking and driving, which is a very familiar threat. They're about to have a prom. It's an ordinary setting. We know what will happen, but we understand how people in the school and the community could feel secure that such an event would never occur there, even though they read stories about the increase in school shootings.

Jumping to Q. 6, the next chapter illustrates the same "ordinariness" in the appearance of the killers. They worked in a pizza place, had relationships with girls, had friends. Eric, usually successful in picking up girls, was trying to get a date for the prom. Dylan was going with a nice girl, sharing a limo with five other couples. Eric was a good student; Dylan was very smart but unreliable, had a problem with his temper. Nevertheless, he wasn't disturbingly different. They participated in extracurricular activities, were baseball fans and belonged to a bowling league. They drank some, but weren't seen as "problem" drinkers; they didn't do drugs. They liked math and computers, played video games, made videos.

In hindsight there were many red flags; if all of the information had been collected in one place and available to an adult or adults, including the content of Eric's website, threats they had made, their contact with the legal system, and things their friends had heard and seen, there would have been alarm and action. They weren't showing the red flags associated with school shooters, however: they weren't friendless loners who were failing in school and getting high all the time. They hadn't been bullied; in fact, they were bullying younger kids. They didn't come from broken homes, had no history of abuse. No one who didn't have access to most or all of the pieces would have picked them out--they didn't fit the profile. 
 
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Offline Nikki

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Re: Columbine
« Reply #71 on: June 16, 2009, 05:35:55 PM »

20.)  What is your opinion of the news media's questions such as 'were they outcasts' - and they use of the word 'they' to indicate some sort of groupthink?  Why do you think that the notion of the 'Trenchcoat Mafia' was seized on so readily?  Why do you think these early notions were not corrected as it became clear they were wrong?  Do you think that mistakes of this sort lead to the 'school shooter profile'?  To what degree does looking for easy explanations for complex problems come into play to explain these sorts of notions?


Seems like the press jumped the gun and plunged in with misinformation.  The press/TV/news all  love a 'sound bite,' and Trenchcoat Mafia certainly fit. So much info was coming in -- true and false -- that there was no time to correct it on TV and in the media generally.  Besides, how could they take time to make corrections while news was continually streaming in.  There must have been utter chaos while stations all over the country were sending reporters to cover the 'breaking story.'   Some of the students gave misinformation to the media even as the events were ongoing.  No one knew whether they were dealing with a gang, terrorists, Goths, or what.  It was like the media threw all of these quasi-descriptions into a pot and made up a stew to fit the 'school shooter profile.'
The shirts hanging on a nail shudder slightly in the draft.

If he does not force his attention on it, it might stoke the day, rewarm that old, cold time on the mountain when they owned the world and nothing seemed wrong.

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive
But to be young was very heaven!

Offline Nikki

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Re: Columbine
« Reply #72 on: June 16, 2009, 06:21:24 PM »



21.)  In 'The Boy In The Window' we are told the story of Patrick Ireland's survival.  What struck you most about the events involved in his rescue?  Were you surprised at the level of detail we were presented about this event?


This was terribly sad. I could picture the poor kid filled with such desperation, and how frustrated he must have felt trying to escape. I was surprised at the level of detail, but perhaps Cullen wanted to show how gutsy this kid was and what it took for him to reach the window.

His survival was nothing short of miraculous IMO.
The shirts hanging on a nail shudder slightly in the draft.

If he does not force his attention on it, it might stoke the day, rewarm that old, cold time on the mountain when they owned the world and nothing seemed wrong.

Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive
But to be young was very heaven!

Offline Monica LoveEmBoys

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Re: Columbine
« Reply #73 on: June 17, 2009, 01:29:41 PM »
Hello all -- coming late to the discussion.  Reading through there's a couple of questions I don't think I've seen covered which prompted me to post.

10.)  In 'Maximum Human Density' Dave lays out how Eric and Dylan's plans were affected by Timothy McVeigh and the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.  Were you aware of this connection?  Before reading this book did you know about the bombs that were in the High School?  Should this fact have been given greater prominence by the press after the attack?  Why or why not?


I was not aware of the connection to McVeigh prior to reading the book, though I had a nagging feeling I'd heard it at the time.  But I was absolutely unaware of the bombs inside and outside of the school.  Their presence obviously totally changes the motivations of the boys.  As Dave explains: this wasn't intended to be a 'shooting'.  That fact is probably what scared me most, out of the book.  Beyond how normal and unassuming the guys seemed.

So yes, I think it's amazing that these details didn't receive more media coverage.  The story just snowballed - it had a momentum of it's own that couldn't change course despite the revelations that much of the story was false.  And that, too, is scary.  Makes me feel rather like a lemming, that we all just go along because everyone else is going along.

Offline Monica LoveEmBoys

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Re: Columbine
« Reply #74 on: June 17, 2009, 01:41:10 PM »
11.)  In 'Judgment' and 'Female Down' we are given a rundown of the events on April 20th, the day of the attack on Columbine High School.  Were there any things that stood out particularly about they events as they unfold?  Do you think that if Deputy Gardiner had been in the lunch room that things would have turned out differently?  Were you surprised at the demeanor of Eric and Dylan?  What was your opinion of the reactions of the adults in charge in the school - would you have done anything differently?

It's probably a fools errand to wonder What If...  But this question does make me wonder.  It's been almost 2 months since I read the book and my copy is at home, but I recall that Deputy Gardiner did carry a firearm, didn't he?  Didn't he fire on the shooters on the top of the steps from behind his car?  Anyways, that's neither here nor there.  More to the point, I assume he had a radio.  I just have to wonder if he had been inside the school if whether he couldn't have been more reliable source of information for the police outside.  

I think so much of the confusion came from the fact that officials were assembling information from so many different reports.  That's how rumors of multiple shooters came about.

And just how ironic is it that by removing their coats -- surely a purely incidental move -- caused the reports of shooters to multiply?!  Thats yet another thing that just makes me shake my head about this incredible story.

Anyways, if the Deputy had been inside, he presumably would have been in radio contact with the police, and could have been a single point of information.  As it was there was no way to establish who that one point should be.  He could tell the swat team what door was safe to enter at least - would that have allowed them to enter sooner?  He could attest to seeing only 2, or possibly 4 shooters if he too was duped by the now-you-see-em-now-you-don't-coats.     No way could he cooberate the 25 shooters theory.

I don't know - I never thought about this before, but right now I do think he could have had an impact.