Gun violence

After 17 years, mother of Columbine shooter breaks her silence

(screen grab via youtube)

On April 20, 1999, Sue Klebold noticed a “sneer” in the way her 17-year-old son said “bye” to his parents on his way out the door to go to school. In her new memoir, A Mother’s Reckoning, she writes that it was “almost, as if he’d been caught in the middle of a fight with someone,” according to The New York Times. Later that day at Columbine High School, Dylan Klebold joined Eric Harris in shooting 12 classmates and one teacher, wounding 24 others before killing themselves — a mass shooting that was intended to be a much larger massacre, but fell short when homemade bombs failed to explode. Columbine set a precedent of terror in America, raising questions about what drove Klebold and Harris to kill and to what degree their parents were responsible for the deadliest school shooting in United States history.

Klebold and her husband had done everything to keep their son happy while growing up in Colorado, and their home was a happy one. In an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer last week — her first in the 17 years following the shooting — Klebold said that if she would have recognized her son’s suicidal and murderous tendencies, she would have “gotten help.” “I don’t ever, for a moment, mean to imply that I’m not conscious of the fact that he was a killer, because I am.” Holding back tears, Klebold spoke of the guilt she’s felt since 1999, saying that she shared her story in the hopes of helping other parents see warning signs of mental illness. In her book, Klebold writes, “We simply — drastically and lethally — underestimated the depth and severity of his pain and everything he was capable of doing to make it stop.” She told Sawyer, “I just feel the world is ready to hear a story like this now.”

Some 141 people have been killed in a mass murder or attempted mass murder at a school or college since the shooting at Columbine, according to ABC News.

Watch the interview at ABC News.

Related:

When her daughter was killed in a mass shooting, Sandy Phillips’s passion for gun reform was born

Mother of Aurora shooting victim on gun violence: “Get involved before you lose someone you love.”

The “boyfriend loophole” in U.S. gun laws is costing women’s lives

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