The release of a new book that includes observations from the parents of one of the Columbine High School killers has cracked the door just a bit wider on one of the biggest unanswered questions of all: Why?
Although more than 13 years have passed since the massacre, there remains much to be explored about how Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris came to the point of carrying out the attacks that left 13 victims dead.
The aim is prevention — to give parents, teachers and others knowledge that might enable them to detect warning signs and intervene.
As we have seen in the years since the mass shooting, the actions of Klebold and Harris have been repeatedly imitated.
The more society can understand the personalities and conditions that preceded their rampage, the better.
To that end, the comments of Susan Klebold, mother of Dylan, paint a picture of a grieving mother who could not understand why her son would do such a thing.
She told Andrew Solomon, author of “Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity,” that she prayed during the unfolding tragedy that her son would kill himself — and then regretted that prayer.
After seeing the so-called “basement tapes,” in which Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold raged on video, she saw a different person than the one she had raised.
“I saw the end product of my life’s work: I had created a monster,” Susan Klebold told Solomon.
Those comments are not out of line with the introspection and shock she expressed in alengthy piece published in 2009 in O, The Oprah Magazine.
Susan Klebold concludes the piece with this: “I only hope my story can help those who can still be helped. I hope that, by reading of my experience, someone will see what I missed.”
And that’s exactly our point.
Perhaps professionals with emotional detachment and expertise could see what the parents could not and maybe still cannot readily perceive.
Did the mix of the problems of Harris and Klebold lead to action greater than either of them would have undertaken alone?
That is why we were so dismayed in 2007 when a federal judge ordered that depositions from the parents of the killers to be sealed for 20 years. Those depositions took place in 2003 in connection with a lawsuit filed by families of some of the victims.
It’s possible the documents could shed substantial light on how Harris and Klebold came to become the Columbine killers.
Beyond Susan Klebold, the parents — those who could assuredly offer the most insight into the killers’ thinking — have spoken little publicly, if at all.
It’s a shame, since there is still much to be learned.