I don’t know if I can finish Lamb’s book, The First Hour I Believed. I know this book isn’t about the Columbine shootings; I know Columbine is just a backdrop Lamb is using to move his characters along and show how one can’t run away from problems. There are no quick fixes to problems. There is no “do-over” button we can just push and then we are catapulted passed the unpleasant point. No matter how much we run from a problem; the problem will always be with us.

This is such a great moral; yet, I am having trouble moving along in this book. I am fixated on the school shootings.

When the shooting happened in 1999, I was one semester away from student teaching. I never had much teacher/student interaction, so for me Columbine was a distant tragedy I didn’t connect with. Now, ten years later and multiple classrooms, I connect greatly with it.

As a former teacher, I wonder what I would have done if I were in Columbine in 1999. I know no matter what I did I still would have blamed myself in the end. I would have rehashed it over and over again (just like Maureen does in Lamb’s novel) and wondered how I could have stopped it from happening.  I never would have blamed the boys. They were sick and so disassociated from life I can’t see how they can be blamed for their actions. The brain is a terrible and glorious muscle. It can make us think we are some type of Superman, or it can make us think the whole world wants us dead. For years, I am sure those boys thought the world was telling them they weren’t good enough. That wasn’t the case; but it was their perception of themselves.

  It doesn’t excuse their actions; however, I think it can explain them a bit. Do you get really mad at your Grand mom (who suffers from Alzheimer’s) when you come to her house and she has no idea who you are and she is asking for her brother who died in WWII? Of course you don’t get mad. You do get hurt because you start thinking she must not love you because she can’t remember you, but then you reason with yourself it is just the illness. I see the same theory applying to the boys.

After reading Susan Klebold’s article in O Magazine (http://www.oprah.com/article/omagazine/200911-omag-susan-klebold-columbine), I won’t lie…I cried for a good twenty minutes. But then I wish I could have talked with Susan. I am sure years of therapy had helped her see many things such as: it wasn’t her fault and her son was just too sick to tell her about it. When your mind goes rogue on you, it takes years to retrain the brain to understand things correctly again. Learning that concept is hard for an adult to understand; I can imagine how difficult it would be for a child to understand. I am sure Dylan just thought his thoughts and ideas were normal. No one wants to believe their own mind would lie to them.

 Her son was no monster. While his actions were horrible, I don’t know how much control he really had over them. The deaths’ of his classmates and his was a terrific loss we still feel ten years later, but as I said yesterday, there are things now in place that should have been there all along. All of those deaths have created a world that tries to ensure this won’t happen again.

Susan Klebold’s pain is unfathomable to me. She deals with the death of her own son but also the deaths of the other students. She will never know why her son did this and I know she looks over her life trying to find the place where she could have stepped in. But, the truth is, teens don’t know how to show us things. They think they are giving you loud and clear signs, but the signs aren’t clear at all. I want to thank Susan Klebold for giving us her words and being willing to discuss what it was like for her.