This book is so comprehensive it is nearly a tactical work in its own right. The author, Dave Cullen, was a reporter who covered the Columbine school massacre and then stayed with the story for the next decade interviewing people, visiting the crime scenes, trying to understand what happened, how and why. It is clear from the onset that the author is completely familiar with the circumstances and the response. He provides much information from other school shootings and a number of lesser known figures that will definitely affect tactical planning and decision making. Drawing on extensive interviews, police reports and his own reporting, Cullen meticulously pieces together what happened when 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold killed 13 people before turning their guns on themselves. The media spin was that specific students, namely jocks, were targeted and that Dylan and Eric were members of the Trench Coat Mafia. According to Cullen, they lived apparently normal lives, but under the surface lay an angry, erratic depressive (Klebold) and a sadistic psychopath (Harris), together forming a combustible pair. They planned the massacre for a year, outlining their intentions for massive carnage in extensive journals and video diaries. Cullen expertly balances the psychological analysis—enhanced by several of the nation’s leading experts on psychopathology—with an examination of the shooting’s effects on survivors, victims’ families and the Columbine community. This book is also available on audio cassette but the volume of detailed information, to include timelines, statistics, and so forth, make a hard copy version an extremely valuable edition to any tactician’s library.
Dave Cullen, Columbine, Twelve, Hachette Book Group, New York, New York, 2009 (358 pages, excluding appendices)
Recommended by Sid Heal in Episodes 1 & 2