Columbine

Columbine

by

Dave Cullen

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Columbine: Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Shortly after the SWAT team reaches Science Room 3, Dave Sanders dies before he is able to be evacuated. His family is not notified. Linda recalls arriving at the hospital after receiving word, eventually, that her husband is “injured.” She waits at the hospital for her husband to arrive, but he never does. After growing frustrated, Linda returns to Leawood, and then finally home. At last, she and Angie, Dave’s daughter, call Dave’s teacher friends and are “informed” of what happened to him. Linda, with her house full of family and guests, worries about not having “time to vacuum.”
Cullen outlines the ways in which Dave Sanders’ extraction from the crime scene was greatly mishandled. The grief and trauma that his family feels in the wake of learning of his death manifests as the numbness characteristic of the early stages of PTSD—the same numbness Frank DeAngelis experienced.
Themes
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
Failure Theme Icon
Brad and Misty Bernall arrive home at about 10 p.m. They can see Columbine from their house, and Brad watches from atop the garden shed with binoculars while explosives experts and SWAT teams search the school for unexploded devices or hiding conspirators. At 10:30 p.m., there is an explosion. Misty, fearing that Cassie is still alive inside the school, worries that she has been injured by the blast.  
Just as Linda, Dave Sanders’ wife, was in denial after learning of his death, Brad and Misty Bernall fail to accept the fact of their daughter’s demise, holding out hope that she is still somehow alive somewhere in the wreckage of Columbine High School.
Themes
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
Failure Theme Icon
Religion: Escapism, Evangelism, Opportunism Theme Icon