Saturday, May 2, 2009

IMM: Book I Bought

In My Mailbox: Book I Bought


Once again, I'm focusing on a book that I actually bought instead of things that I recieved from contests or reviews. I did receive a few other things, but I figure you'll hear about them soon enough and I want to spread the word about some other items, and show that I do try and buy books and support!

Columbine by Dave Cullen

Book Jacket Summary: On April 20, 1999, two boys left an indelible stamp on the American psyche. Their goal was simple: to blow up their school, Oklahoma City-style, and to leave "a lasting impression on the world." Their bombs failed, but the ensuing shooting defined a new era of school violence-irrevocably branding every subsequent shooting "another Columbine."


When we think of Columbine, we think of the Trench Coat Mafia; we think of Cassie Bernall, the girl we thought professed her faith before she was shot; and we think of the boy pulling himself out of a school window-the whole world was watching him. Now, in a riveting piece of journalism nearly ten years in the making, comes the story none of us knew. In this revelatory book, Dave Cullen has delivered a profile of teenage killers that goes to the heart of psychopathology. He lays bare the callous brutality of mastermind Eric Harris and the quavering, suicidal Dylan Klebold, who went to the prom three days earlier and obsessed about love in his journal.


The result is an astonishing account of two good students with lots of friends, who were secretly stockpiling a basement cache of weapons, recording their raging hatred, and manipulating every adult who got in their way. They left signs everywhere, described by Cullen with a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, thousands of pages of police files, FBI psychologists, and the boys' tapes and diaries, he gives the first complete account of the Columbine tragedy.


In the tradition of Helter Skelter and In Cold Blood, Columbine is destined to be a classic. A close-up portrait of violence, a community rendered helpless, and police blunders and cover-ups, it is a compelling and utterly human portrait of two killers-an unforgettable cautionary tale for our time.

Why I Bought It:

As soon as I heard about this book, I knew I had to buy it. I tried to get it at Barnes n Noble, but it sold fast and they didn't have any copies left in stores. My sister pointed it out the other day at Borders though so I had to get it. I'm very interested in school shootings, especially Columbine, and this book seems like a great and informative read on the subject.

What do you all think though? Are you interested in this topic as well? Would you read the book? I'll definitely review this as soon as I find time to read and simply finish it...it's a bit long and books I buy myself are always pushed back because I try and focus on books sent to me first, as I figure it's the least I can do...and the normally end up waiting sometimes anyway (though I do apologize). Anyway, back to Columbine. I was telling my sister after I got the book that it's so crazy that a simple title like "Columbine" and only the picture of the school on the cover can sell a book, but it did. No surprise.

19 comments:

NotNessie said...

I don't know if I could read this book. The topic is very interesting, but to be honest it's one that I'm most comfortable when I'm keeping it muffled in the back of my mind. I'm looking forward to your review.

Wrighty said...

I would read this book and I will be looking for it. I'm fascinated by these events too. They are so horribly tragic and senseless. As a parent I'm especially scared to death by it. Maybe with a book like this other tragedies can be averted. This should never happen again.

katie said...

When I first saw what this book was about I thought that it wouldn't be something I would be interested in but I think I might have to go buy it after reading a little more about it. It is definitely a hard subject and one that isn't talked about much but I think this might be really good.

Thao said...

This book is so extreme. The subject is something totally new to me, I mean, I don't think I'll find such a thin in a book. Will give this a try if I ever have a chance. Enjoy it ^^

Adele said...

I would be really intrigued to read this book. As a teacher I am very curious about the circumstances and motivations for certain actions surrounding Columbine. I am a firm believer in knowledge is power and I believe this book will be very illuminating, especially after Lauren's words.

John Byrnes said...

Research has determined that from the Moment of Commitment (the point when a student pulls their weapon) to the Moment of Completion (when the last round is fired) is only 5 seconds. If it is the intent of a school district to react to this violence, they will do so over the wounded and/or slain bodies of students, teachers and administrators.

Educational institutions clearly want safe and secure schools. Administrators are perennially queried by parents about the safety of their schools. The commonplace answers, intended to reassure anxious parents, focus on the school resource officers and emergency procedures. While useful, these less than adequate efforts do not begin to provide a definitive answer to preventing school violence, nor do they make a school safe and secure.

Traditionally school districts have relied upon the mental health community or local police to keep schools safe, yet one of the key shortcomings has been the lack of a system that involves teachers, administrators, parents and students in the identification and communication process. Recently, colleges, universities and community colleges are forming Behavioral Intervention Teams with representatives from all these constituencies. Higher Education has changed their safety/security policies, procedures, or surveillance systems, yet K-12 have yet to incorporate Behavioral Intervention Teams. K-12 schools continue spending excessive amounts of money to put in place many of the physical security options. Sadly, they are reactionary only and do little to prevent aggression because they are designed exclusively to react to existing conflict, threat and violence. These schools reflect a national blindspot, which prefers hardening targets through enhanced security versus preventing violence with efforts directed at aggressors. Security gets all the focus and money, but this only makes us feel safe, rather than to actually make us safer.

Some law enforcement agencies use profiling as a means to identify an aggressor. According to the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education’s report on Targeted Violence in Schools, there is a significant difference between “profiling” and identifying and measuring emerging aggression; “The use of profiles is not effective either for identifying students who may pose a risk for targeted violence at school or – once a student has been identified – for assessing the risk that a particular student may pose for school-based targeted violence.” It continues; “An inquiry should focus instead on a student’s behaviors and communications to determine if the student appears to be planning or preparing for an attack.” We can and must assess objective, culturally neutral, identifiable criteria of emerging aggression.

For a comprehensive look at the problem and its solution, http://www.aggressionmanagement.com/White_Paper_K-12/
Continue the dialogue: http://aggressionmanagement.blogspot.com/

Shooting Stars Mag said...

NotNessie: I'll try and review it as soon as I can then, and I do understand what you meant. I'm sure reading about certain topics is really hard for people.

Wrighty: I completely agree and I really hope they stop happening. If you read it, I'd love to know what you think. I can't imagine how scared I would be about the idea if I had my own children.

Katie: I agree. Hard topics should be talked about by people because they won't go away. I'm glad you're more interested in the book now.

Thao: Thank you and I hope you do give it a shot at some point!!

Adele: Thank you, and I'm so glad you like the sound of the book. I agree with you...knowledge IS power and this book seems to be one of the best sources on the topic of school shootings.

John Byrnes: Thank you for your thoughts on the subject. I do think that more should be done away from actual security, b/c that will only help during the event but what about preventing it, like you said? It's a difficult thing to figure out but I guess whatever is being done isn't enough yet.

-Lauren

Kate said...

This book would really interest me and I look forward to your review of it. I read quite a few books that I think some people would shy away from. It's not that I get any satisfaction from knowing gory details. It's just that I'm intrigued about what motivates someone to do something. And how they can justify it in their mind. I can't wait for your review.

prophecygirl said...

It definitely sounds like an interesting book. I really like the cover.

robin_titan said...

This definitely sounds interesting and based in real life. It must be sad though :(

BTW-yes I have read Chuck Palahniuk's work before. Only one book though, Fight Club. I LOVED it!!!

robin_titan said...

Oh and I also read part of Choke, didn't get to finish it though since it was a library book hehe :)

Callie said...

Looks interesting. Might be too depressing for me though.

John Byrnes said...

What I am saying, Lauren is that you can identify this shooter before they commit their violence. This is not accomplished through profiling, i.e. identifying a person’s predilection to violence or by identifying someone’s history or relevant circumstances. According to the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education’s report on Targeted Violence in Schools, there is a significant difference between “profiling” and identifying and measuring emerging aggression; “The use of profiles is not effective either for identifying students who may pose a risk for targeted violence at school or – once a student has been identified – for assessing the risk that a particular student may pose for school-based targeted violence.” It continues; “An inquiry should focus instead on a student’s behaviors and communications to determine if the student appears to be planning or preparing for an attack.” We can and must assess objective, culturally neutral, identifiable criteria of emerging aggression. We can and must significantly reduce these horrific events. Everything that I am reading is telling me there will be an increasing number of these events in our future. My free white paper offers great insight to the problem and its solution. I would be happy to answer any questions following your reading this document.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Kate: I absolutely agree. So many things bring up a lot of questions and it's good to read about it and try and learn as much as you can about it. Thanks, and I'll try to review it as soon as I can.

Jenny: I do as well, and agreed. :)

Robin Titan: Thanks for your thoughts. And that's cool. I've read Fight Club as well as some others, but not Choke.

Callie: It might be, but I'm sure it's very interesting as well.

John: Thanks for the continuing thoughts! I do think that you can't profile a person, and hopefully things will change in the future.

-Lauren

Rebecca said...

It sounds like an interesting read, I can't wait to see your review on it.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Rebecca: Thanks, I'll try and get to it soon then. :)

Paula Krapf said...

I just finished this book and I highly recommend it. Yes, it's a difficult topic but the issues raised are eye opening. Much of what we think we know about this event is incorrect - including the reason behind it. This book attempts to set the record straight as well as examine how these two students could commit such an act, and whether anyone, from their friends, parents, teachers, school administrators or law enforcement, knew enough in advance to prevent it. I look forward to your review!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Paula: Thank you for your thoughts. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and I can't wait to start reading. I'll try and review it as soon as I can. The only other book I've read about Columbine was No Easy Answers by Brooks Brown. Amazing, highly recommended.

-Lauren

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

This one sounds really good. I'll be looking forward to your review. I've lived in CO my entire life so this one hits closer to home for me even though I didn't know anybody at Columbine.