Monday, October 19, 2009

Hearing From a Columbine Mom

Early last week I saw a story on Good Morning America about Susan Klebold, the mom whose son Dylan was one of the Columbine killers. I'm sure you remember the horrible events of April 20, 1999 when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 of their fellow students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado. Susan Klebold wasn't personally interviewed for the story, but she wrote a column for O Magazine and Gayle King, in turn, shared the story on GMA.

Susan has spent the last 10 years questioning herself and how she could have known what her son was planning. She replays in her mind the morning of the shooting and the last conversation she shared with Dylan. She has been in therapy for all these years as she deals with the guilt and personal sadness that walks beside her like a constant shadow. She has written letters of apology to each and every parent who lost a child that horrible day, but her therapist has suggested she not mail the letters, as that would bring the hurt back to the surface for the victims.

For the Good Morning America spot, some of the parents of the students killed at Columbine were interviewed. One student's family said they were happy to hear from Susan and to "finally" hear an apology. Another family said it was too little too late.

Susan Klebold lost a child that horrible day in 1999, but she has NEVER been given the kind of support and love that the innocent victims' families have been given. This woman has been the subject of judgmental criticisms and unspeakable gossip. She is as much a victim as any of the other parents. It was a mental and emotional sickness that caused her son to take so many lives and then commit suicide. So much GOOD has come from the Columbine experience because teachers, counselors, students, and parents have learned to recognize the signs of violent despair in kids and teens. Young people change and reinvent themselves every few weeks and it is difficult to recognize what might be a danger sign of underlying violence, and what is simply a "phase". We've got to stop blaming mothers and we've got to reach out and support one another! Our kids are counting on us!

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