Columbine

Columbine

by

Dave Cullen

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Don Marxhausen Character Analysis

The leader of a large Lutheran congregation near Columbine, Don Maxhausen took a controversial stance on Eric and Dylan in the wake of the attacks. Rather than describing the boys as tools or manifestations of Satan, Marxhausen saw the boys as having “hate in their hearts and weapons in their hands.” When Tom and Sue Klebold approached him and begged him to discreetly perform a funeral for Dylan, Marxhausen agreed, and used the opportunity to humanize the Klebods to the press and give them some much-needed closure and redemption during the service for their son. However, he paid for his compassion, Cullen says; a year after the massacre, Marxhausen, once one of the most “revered” ministers in Jeffco, was forced out of his congregation and unable to find a job.
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Don Marxhausen Character Timeline in Columbine

The timeline below shows where the character Don Marxhausen appears in Columbine. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 22: Rush to Closure
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
Religion: Escapism, Evangelism, Opportunism Theme Icon
Reverend Don Marxhausen disagrees with the Evangelicals—he recognizes that Eric and Dylan are the symptom of a larger... (full context)
Chapter 24: Hour of Need
Violence and Spectacle Theme Icon
Failure Theme Icon
Religion: Escapism, Evangelism, Opportunism Theme Icon
The night of the shootings, Reverend Don Marxhausen held a vigil at his Lutheran church. As he led his congregation in prayer, one... (full context)
Religion: Escapism, Evangelism, Opportunism Theme Icon
After checking his parish rolls that evening, Marxhausen realizes that Tom and Sue Klebold and their children, Dylan and Byron, had been members... (full context)
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
Failure Theme Icon
Religion: Escapism, Evangelism, Opportunism Theme Icon
The service is conducted the Saturday after the shooting. Just fifteen people attend. Tom tells Marxhausen that “what you see in the papers was not my son.” Those attending the funeral... (full context)
Media: Misinformation and Sensationalism Theme Icon
Religion: Escapism, Evangelism, Opportunism Theme Icon
...they bury Dylan, his grave will be defaced, so they elect to have him cremated. Marxhausen asks the Klebolds’ attorney how he should respond when the press inevitably is made aware... (full context)
Chapter 49: Ready To Be Done
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
Failure Theme Icon
Religion: Escapism, Evangelism, Opportunism Theme Icon
...to daily life—even shopping is difficult for her, as her name is instantly recognizable. Don Marxhausen, who remained close with the Klebolds, is forced out of his job and unable to... (full context)
Epilogue: Apocalyptic Dreams
Memory, Bearing Witness, Trauma, and Testimony Theme Icon
Media: Misinformation and Sensationalism Theme Icon
Cullen describes an interview with Don Marxhausen which turned into a “free therapy session.” Don’s “simple compassion” for Cullen, who was also... (full context)