Columbine by Dave Cullen Summary

Dave Cullen, author of Columbine, begins by giving insight on each of the killers before the shooting occured. Eric Harris, main executor of the shooting, is a charming, well-liked, highschool teen. He has a large social life and is known by everyone. At the beginning of the story, Eric is searching for a date to the prom and is jealous of his friend, Dylan Klebold, who has already found a date. Dylan is very shy and insecure and is pretty much the opposite of Eric.

To an observer, Eric is a model student who is responsible and well-liked. However, he often uses his charm in order to manipulate others, such as Dylan.

Dylan, a heavy drinker who holds many insecurities and only sees the worst in himself, is the most receptive to Erics manipulations. As Dylan and Eric plan their shooting and the day gets closer and closer, Eric and Dylan start to show signs of change. They both begin skipping class, missing school work, and falling asleep in school.

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Their friends begin to notice these signs. Despite their approaching date of the shooting, the boys continue on as if everything is the same. The plan for college and discuss the future with their friends. Dylan especially seems eager about his future in college.

"Earlier in the year, he'd rescued Rachel Scott, the junior class sweetheart, when her tape jammed during the talent show. In a few days, Eric would kill her" (19).

To the world, and in particular his classmates, Eric presents himself as a kind, charming and well liked young man throughout the beginning of the book.

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He was always attending parties and had very good luck finding dates. His extensive social life and good grades makes it hard for one to believe he holds an underlying hatred of mankind within. When one thinks about a murderer they usually view someone who clearly has mental issues. Eric, however, was seen as the opposite. As one of the top social teens in his grade it was extremely unexpected to all that he was planning a mass killing.

As the planned date of attack gets closer, the boys begin referring to it as "judgement day". Eric has been working on developing homemade bombs and plans out the day as if he it is an action movie by using terms such as "scripted" and "act" when referring to the different stages he has planned. The boys state that they expect to be dead by act 3 of their plan. They are excited at the idea of having their actions investigated after their deaths and plan to leave journals and tapes for the public to find. On the morning of the shooting, the boys begin to plan out their attack. Before leaving home, they leave their tapes and letters on the table for the public to find. The decoy bombs that the boys planted fail to go off and they decide that they must move on to act 2.

Updated: Dec 29, 2020
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Columbine by Dave Cullen Summary. (2019, Nov 30). Retrieved from

Columbine by Dave Cullen Summary essay
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