Dylan Klebold’s mother, Susan, has finally broken the silence the parents of the Columbine shooting killers have maintained for a decade. In an essay in November’s ‘O’, the Oprah magazine, Susan Klebold writes about her son, Dylan, and how she believes that his suicidal tendencies led to one of the greatest tragedies in recent American history. She writes that it took her years after the Columbine massacre to see that her son exhibited many of the symptoms of the suicidal and that she had had “no inkling” that her son was evenly remotely at risk.
It has been 10 years since Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris attacked Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, leaving 13 dead and 21 wounded before turning their weapons on themselves. Dylan Klebold, often seen as the second shooter in the Columbine massacre (Eric Harris is often looked at as the unofficial leader of the duo), had applied for and was talking of attending college. He had attended the Columbine High School prom just three days before the massacre.
Susan Klebold wrote that she is still trying to understand what her son may have been going through and admitted that she had no idea her son was suicidal, because she ultimately believes that what drove him to enter into the Columbine shooting with Eric Harris had little or nothing to do with revenge and everything to do with suicide, until she read his journals after the April 20, 1999 Columbine massacre.
“Dylan’s participation in the massacre was impossible for me to accept until I began to connect it to his own death. Once I saw his journals, it was clear to me that Dylan entered the school with the intention of dying there. And so in order to understand what he might have been thinking, I started to learn all I could about suicide.”
Yet, Susan Klebold believes she will always be haunted by her son’s actions. She writes that she cannot look at a child without thinking of her son and his classmates and how they spent the last moments of their lives.
“From the writings Dylan left behind, criminal psychologists have concluded that he was depressed and suicidal. When I first saw copied pages of these writings, they broke my heart. I’d had no inkling of the battle Dylan was waging in his mind.”
She said she could not accept Dylan Klebold’s participation in the Columbine shooting until after she read the journals. “Once I saw his journals, it was clear to me that Dylan entered the school with the intention of dying there.”
A representative of ‘O’ magazine told Huffington Post that the essay was unsolicited and Susan Klebold received no compensation for writing it. Although she and other parents have been asked to appear on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” over the years, they have declined, nor has Susan Klebold been scheduled for a future appearance. Susan Klebold says that there will be no further statements from her or the family on the Columbine shooting incident.
Ten years of silence. An essay not so much an apology as an appeal to others for understanding that Susan Klebold, her husband, family members and friends, as well as those associated with Eric Harris, are victims of the Columbine shooting. Many, if not all, were unknowing victims, not even tipped off by the actions and utterances of the two teenagers.
But Susan Klebold is attempting to heal the wounds, for herself and for the many others affected by the Columbine shootings. She is not making excuses. She is not denying that her son was involved. She is simply asking for a little understanding, something she is still struggling with herself.
And no doubt will struggle with for the rest of her life.