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A Killer in the Family


by Sarah LeTrent

…More than a decade after the gruesome school shooting that left 12 students and one teacher dead, the parents of Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold remain largely silent.

Susan Klebold, the mother of Dylan, finally opened up in a 2009 issue of Oprah Magazine with a personal essay titled “I Will Never Know Why.”

She wrote: “Through all of this, I felt extreme humiliation. For months I refused to use my last name in public. I avoided eye contact when I walked. Dylan was a product of my life’s work, but his final actions implied that he had never been taught the fundamentals of right and wrong. There was no way to atone for my son’s behavior.”

She also revealed that in one newspaper survey, 83 percent of respondents said that “the parents’ failure to teach Dylan and Eric proper values played a major part in the Columbine killings.”

After the essay was published, she and her husband, Tom, resumed their silence, until Klebold attended a lecture by author Andrew Solomon.

Solomon was working on a book, Far From the Tree, that explored children who were vastly different from their parents, whether through autism, dwarfism, homosexuality or crime, and in the Klebolds’ case, murder.

Solomon said the decision to write the 976-page book came out of his experience as a gay man, “out of my own sense of having been somewhat incomprehensible to my own parents,” he explained.
Klebold agreed to talk about the aftermath of her son’s killing spree.
“I think they spoke to me because they wanted to ensure that Dylan was known with his nuances, as someone who was capable of kindness, himself, even though he ultimately engaged in a terrible act,” Solomon said.
“I expected to find an explanation for why Dylan had grown up capable of doing something so horrific. What I found instead was that the better I knew Tom and Sue, the more bewildering it all became.”

(To read the full article, please visit the CNN website.)