Columbine

Columbine

by

Dave Cullen

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Columbine: Chapter 33 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Dylan believed that God had blessed him with some good things, but had also condemned him to the existence of a seeker “in search of answers [but] never finding them.” Dylan described “moving down [a] hall” toward answers, and death as “passing through the doors,” perhaps at the end of the hallway. Dylan referred to humans as “zombies” in his journal entries, and described himself as “god[-like]” compared to the idiots around him.
Dylan experienced the same disdain for humanity and sense of superiority as Eric did, though his sense of “superiority” often meant that he felt superior in the depth of his feelings, perceptions, and dramatic importance. He did not yet have violent aims, but rather wanted to get to know himself better and find the answers that would guide him through his life. 
Themes
Failure Theme Icon
Religion: Escapism, Evangelism, Opportunism Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Eric was learning to “cover his tracks” when it came to his continuing missions, and experimenting with theft and setting off explosives. By the summer of 1997, Eric and Dylan had finished building their first pipe bomb—it was Eric’s “baby.” That summer, Eric—who had not yet begun his diary—posted a list of “fifty-odd” entries about things he hated. Fuselier found that the “underlying theme” of his hatred was that of “stupid, witless inferiors.” The thing Eric professed to love most was “natural selection.”
As Eric continues to fantasize about the death of things—and people—he hates, he begins assembling the physical means to cause harm and even death. Eric desires “natural selection” at this point, an evolutionary process which would theoretically not involve him, but which he finds fascinating and satisfying, as he wants to bear witness to the end of humanity. 
Themes
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
Eric’s loves and ideas all began to come together during this time. He “hated inferiors, loved explosions, and hoped for human extinction.” With all this cohering, he began to build his very first bombs, starting small and describing his experiments in specific detail on his website. At the end of the summer, a “concerned citizen” called the sheriff’s department to report the contents of Eric’s website. On August 7th, 1999, both of the killers’ names “permanently entered” the Jeffco system. A deputy sent detective John Hicks to investigate the “missions” described on the website, but made no mention to him of the pipe bombs.
Eric begins to synthesize his dreams and his reality. As those around him start to recognize what is going on, the law enforcement officials in Jefferson County build an official record for him—but maintain a crucial blind spot.
Themes
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Failure Theme Icon
Eric, Zack, and Dylan got jobs at Blackjack. Zack met a girl, and drifted from their close-knit threesome. Dylan was distraught over Zack’s having found love, and wrote about his despair in his journal. Dylan identified Zack as his best friend, not Eric, and claimed that only Zack had ever even come close to understanding him. Dylan also began writing obsessively about a girl in his school, describing his love for her despite never having talked to her. In later entries, Dylan described his anger towards this girl, the object of his affections, realizing that “in reality [she] doesn’t give a fuck about me.” He described wanting a gun, and feeling “infinite sadness.” Hate is the most overt theme of Eric’s website at this point, while “love” is the most commonly used word in Dylan’s journal.
Dylan and Eric were brought closer together by the slight of their friend Zack’s abandonment. Dylan and Eric are both angry, but are torn in different directions by their anger. Dylan is obsessed within gaining love and affection, whereas Eric is still obsessed with violence and domination.
Themes
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Failure Theme Icon
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Fuselier, reading Dylan’s journals in 1999, believes Dylan to be a “classic depressive.” He sees no evidence of psychosis—disorientation or delusion—in Dylan’s journal entries, but considers the possibility of psychopathy. Psychopaths act “charming and likable,” but are in reality “coldhearted manipulators” who, when “amuse[d]” by murders, will often “kill again and again.” He doesn’t believe that Dylan is a psychopath, but is confused because Dylan’s depression seemed to tilt toward the “languorous,” not the murderous—Dylan Klebold, Fuselier, was “not a man of action, [but] was conscripted by a boy who was.”
Fuselier’s realization that he is dealing with a psychopath changes the nature of the case. Eric’s motive was pure and detached hatred—and he used his manipulative charm in order to get the tortured, angst-ridden Dylan on board with his dreams of fame and annihilation.
Themes
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon