I admire for coming forth at all. I did not see any interviews from any of the other parents. She must have known she would receive a lot of hate mail for raising a "monster." People use the anonymity of the world wide web to be frankly cruel in their statements at times. With a distinctive name like Klebold, she must get asked all the time about the tragedy. She explained, albeit in a defensive manner, how she had not seen the school projects until after the shooting that outlined the plan. That may be true, I didn't read every assignment my son wrote in high school either. And it may be false, because once again, I sincerely doubt she would admit publically she knew how bad things were when she failed to prevent the massacre.
The story doesn't answer any questions. For another parent, like my friend whose child was expelled from school, one might like to know âis there help available? Are the programs that didn't work? What choices does someone have once their child is dangerous and angry?
When researching information for the article I just wrote on shooting, I came across the remarkable interview with Susan Klebold published by O magazine, last November. O, is the magazine of the famous Oprah Winfrey, who wrote in the introduction she had hoped to interview Susan for many years. She warns readers that the interview is chilling. Susan Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the shooters in the Columbine school killings which occurred over a decade ago. The other shooter was named Eric Harris. Both were teenagers attending the school.
Soon after the shooting the media put blame on the victims. Much was made of the fact that the shooters had been teased and bullied. For a short time, immediately afterwards, many schools adopted clubs and rallies encouraging kids to be more accepting of each other. Other schools went the other direction and heavily censors student videos and short stories and plays that had death, depression or suicide as themes. At the school my son attended one boy was expelled for his "hit list." His mother was upset, and mentioned to me how unfairly she felt her son was being treated. My friend, this boy's mother, is a kind person, a church going Christian, a hard working woman. She was married to the boy's father. The father was equally responsible, Christian, and hard working. Yet it was clear to me their boy was troubled. Teachers saw it, other kids saw it. He was a large boy for his age, and he was a bully.
In my opinion the school was correct to err on the side of being more cautious in light of the recent shootings. The boy I knew had access to his father's hunting rifles as well as the knowledge how to use them. In our small community the ending was "happy" of sorts, no shooting occurred. My friend wasn't happy though, she felt her child was denied his right to a public school education. That experience gave me a bit of insight to Susan Klebold's piece.
My main criticism of it is that it doesn't answer any of the questions we have. The most obvious being, "How could you not notice? Your kid is stockpiling guns, writing about death, keeping up a hateful website blog, bullying etc. etcâ¦." And of course I could have expected as much. We have to ask ourselves what could Susan Klebold possibly say anyway that would assuage our curiosity? Do we imagine she can say, "Sure I knew, and I did nothing." Of course not! Even if it were true, and she kicks herself every day for being emotionally lazy, or scared, or incapable of finding resources, she can hardly admit such facts in a public interview. Many of us are emotionally lazy, few of us have had to pay for such laziness with such dire consequences.
I am not suggesting this makes Susan Klebold a "good" parent, although by many accounts in the media she is described as such. I think the American public is guilty sometimes of equating "good" with upper middle class, educated, employed, non drug-addicted, married to the father, and other comforting images that have little to do with one's parenting ability. One can be a "good" person without being a "good" parent. My ex-husband's parents are a fine example of this. Howard's mother was injured seriously in a traffic accident the year he was two. She was in a body cast and suddenly unable to hold him, kiss him or even feed him. The family employed a series of nannies who came and went regardless of how bonded he was to them. He was also at times, when the father lacked money for a nanny, sometimes sent to live with relatives. There is no doubt this effected his ability to bond, which in turn had an effect on his lifelong addiction problems. One might say his parents did a poor job parenting him, without blaming them for what they did. The traffic accident was hardly his mother's fault, she was a passenger at the time.Susan Klebold makes an attempt to explain what she has done since the massacre. She delved into the subject of suicide, and spends a great deal of the article promoting suicide prevention. This is useful information, and probably one of the reasons she finally came forth with an interview. It feels hollow though, when you consider the people still living, who were terrified or maimed by her son's actions. One wonders if preventing her son's suicide is even a "good" idea, may be someone that dangerous and violent might have been better off killing himself before he killed so many other people.
There is a sense of vacancy which is chilling. One wonders if Susan Klebold had seen her son's project if it would have registered on her. No one wants to think their child is capable of such devastation, Susan included. It is easier to focus on suicide prevention than homicide prevention.