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NEWSHOUR BOOKSHELF - "A Mother’s Reckoning"

"The mother of a Columbine shooter on the son she thought she knew" PBS NewsHour 2/25/2016


SUMMARY:  Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in April 1999 carrying guns and homemade pipe bombs.  Within an hour, 12 students and a teacher were dead, and 24 others injured.  Seventeen years later, Dylan’s mother Sue writes of a son she thought she knew in her new book, “A Mother’s Reckoning.”  Sue Klebold joins Jeffrey Brown to discuss her life in the shadow of tragedy.

JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour):  April 20, 1999, Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.

Two seniors, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, walked into the school armed with weapons and homemade bombs.  Less than an hour later, 12 students and one teacher were dead, 24 students injured, and the two shooters had turned the guns on themselves.

It was a searing time for the community, for the victims’ families, and for the nation.

Seventeen years later, Sue Klebold, the mother of Dylan, writes of a son she thought she knew, the parent she thought she was, a tragedy and its aftermath.  Her new book is, “A Mother’s Reckoning.”

Sue Klebold joins us now from Denver.

Sue Klebold, welcome to you.

You write early in this book:  “The ordinariness of our lives before Columbine will perhaps be the hardest thing for people to understand about my story.  For me, it is also the most important.”

Why is that the most important thing?

SUE KLEBOLD, Author, “A Mother’s Reckoning”:  Because I want people to understand that, if someone is struggling with thoughts of suicide or, in some cases, homicide, that these issues can be hidden.

And we should all try to be more mindful of what our loved ones are thinking, what might be hidden behind their expressions, and how their behaviors can lie if they’re very sophisticated at hiding what they’re thinking and feeling.

JEFFREY BROWN:  In fact, just days before the shooting, Dylan went to the prom.  You write of seeing him as he came home.  And you write of saying to yourself that night, “I have done a good job with this kid.”

You truly believed that at that moment?

SUE KLEBOLD:  I truly believed that at that moment.

I felt that he had — he had had a good year, a good evening.  I felt that he was contented and that he was healthy and that he was moving forward with his life.

JEFFREY BROWN:  The questions from everyone, of course, whether in sorrow or anger or just utter confusion, is, how could you not have known, right?  How could you not have known that your son was so troubled that he was capable of something like this?

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NEWSHOUR BOOKSHELF - "A Mother’s Reckoning"


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