EndofTrenchCoatMafia NYT Book Review 41909

EndofTrenchCoatMafia NYT Book Review 41909 - April 19, 2009...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
April 19, 2009 New York Times Book Review The End of the Trench Coat Mafia By JENNIFER SENIOR COLUMBINE By Dave Cullen 417 pp. $26.99 Had Dave Cullen capitulated to cliché while writing “Columbine,” he would have started his tale 48 hours before Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold ’s notorious killing spree, stopped the frame just before they fired their guns, and then spooled back to the very beginning, with the promise of trying to explain how the two boys got to this twisted pass. But he doesn’t. As Cullen eventually writes, “there had been no trigger” — at least none that would be satisfying to horrified outsiders, grieving parents or anyone in between. Eric Harris was a psychopath, simple as that. Dylan Klebold was a suicidally depressed kid who yoked his fate to a sadist. Instead, what intrigues the author are perceptions and misperceptions: how difficult a shooting spree is to untangle; how readily mass tragedies lend themselves to misinformation and mythologizing; how psychopaths can excel at the big con. The broad outlines of what happened at Columbine High School in Colorado one decade ago are well known. On April 20, 1999, just weeks from graduation, Harris and Klebold murdered one teacher and 12 of their peers, making this the most lethal high school massacre in the nation, and wounded two dozen. Then they holed up in the school library and turned their guns on themselves. Yet what’s amazing is how much of Cullen’s book still comes as a surprise. I expected a story about misfits exacting vengeance, because that was my memory of the media consensus — Columbine, right, wasn’t there something going on there between goths and jocks? In fact, Harris and Klebold were killing completely at random that day. Their victims weren’t the intended targets at all; the entire school was. Columbine, it turns out, was a failed attempt at domestic terrorism. Shortly after 11:14 a.m., the two boys hauled a propane bomb into the cafeteria, programmed to go off at 11:17. It never did. Had the massacre gone as planned, it would most likely have killed more than 500 people, yielding far less readily to rumors about
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 12/26/2009 for the course STEINHARDT E59.1750.0 taught by Professor Jamesdevitt during the Winter '09 term at NYU.

Page1 / 3

EndofTrenchCoatMafia NYT Book Review 41909 - April 19, 2009...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online