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Columbine: Parents of a Killer
NY Times ^ | May 15, 2004 | DAVID BROOKS

Posted on 05/14/2004 9:49:55 PM PDT by neverdem

After I wrote a column a few weeks ago about the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School, I got e-mail from Tom Klebold, the father of Dylan Klebold, one of the shooters. Tom objected to the column, but the striking thing about his note was that while acknowledging the horrible crime his son had committed, Tom was still fiercely loyal toward him. Which prompts this question: If your child commits a crime like that, what do you do with the rest of your life?

Tom and Susan Klebold have not really spoken to the press about all this. But the lawsuits against them are being settled, and they trust The New York Times, which is the paper they read every day, so they were willing to have a long conversation with me this week.

They are a well-educated, reflective, highly intelligent couple (Dylan was named after Dylan Thomas). During our conversation they discussed matters between themselves, as well as answering my questions. Their son, by the way, is widely seen as the follower, who was led by Eric Harris into this nightmare.

The Klebolds describe the day of the shootings as a natural disaster, as a "hurricane" or a "rain of fire." They say they had no intimations of Dylan's mental state. Tom, who works from home and saw his son every day, had spent part of the previous week with Dylan scoping out dorm rooms for college the next year.

When they first heard about the shootings, it did not occur to them that Dylan could be to blame. When informed, Susan said, "we ran for our lives." They went into hiding, desperate for information. "We didn't know what had happened," she said. "We couldn't grieve for our child."

That first night, their lawyer said to them, "Dylan isn't here anymore for people to hate, so people are going to hate you." Even as we spoke this week, Tom had in front of him the poll results, news stories and documents showing that 83 percent of Americans had believed the parents were partly to blame. Their lives are now pinioned to this bottomless question: Who is responsible?

They feel certain of one thing. "Dylan did not do this because of the way he was raised," Susan said. "He did it in contradiction to the way he was raised."

After the shooting, they faced a simple choice: to move away and change their names, or to go back and resume their lives. Susan thinks about leaving every day. "I won't let them win," Tom said. "You can't run from something like this."

So they live in the same house and work at the same jobs. Susan works in the community college system. "It's amazing how long it took me to get up and say my name at a meeting, to say, `I'm Dylan Klebold's mother,' " Susan says. "Dylan could have killed any number of the kids of people that I work with."

In general, Tom said, "most people have been good-hearted." Their friends rallied around. Their neighbors call to warn them if an unfamiliar car lurks in the neighborhood. There is a moment of discomfort when they hand over a credit card at a store, but there have been few bad scenes. One clerk looked at the name and remarked to Susan, "Boy, you're a survivor, aren't you."

The most infuriating incident, Susan said, came when somebody said, "I forgive you for what you've done." Susan insists, "I haven't done anything for which I need forgiveness."

When they talk about the event, they discuss it as a suicide. They acknowledge but do not emphasize the murders their son committed. They also think about the signs they missed. "He was hopeless. We didn't realize it until after the end," Tom said. Susan added: "I think he suffered horribly before he died. For not seeing that, I will never forgive myself."

They believe that what they call the "toxic culture" of the school — the worship of jocks and the tolerance of bullying — is the primary force that set Dylan off. But they confess that in the main, they have no explanation.

"I'm a quantitative person," said Tom, a former geophysicist. "We're not qualified to sort this out." They long for some authoritative study that will provide an answer. "People need to understand," Tom said, "this could have happened to them."

My instinct is that Dylan Klebold was a self-initiating moral agent who made his choices and should be condemned for them. Neither his school nor his parents determined his behavior. Now his parents have been left with the terrible consequences. I'd say they are facing them bravely and honorably.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; US: Colorado
KEYWORDS: bang; columbine; davidbrooks; dylanklebold
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Praise the Lord, nothing about gun control.
1 posted on 05/14/2004 9:49:56 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

As a parent, I've got to believe that being a parent of a child that caused such grief for others must be much more excruciating than losing a child.


2 posted on 05/14/2004 9:57:42 PM PDT by marvlus
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To: neverdem

I think these folks have some serious denial. It may not have been their fault, but their son was their responsibility. They obviously failed on some level. And I resent the way they attempt to blame jocks and bullying.


3 posted on 05/14/2004 10:00:29 PM PDT by Zevonismymuse
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To: neverdem
they trust The New York Times, which is the paper they read every day, so they were willing to have a long conversation with me this week.
4 posted on 05/14/2004 10:04:12 PM PDT by Paleo Conservative (Do not remove this tag under penalty of law.)
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To: neverdem
and they trust The New York Times, which is the paper they read every day

Shows extreme lack of judgment.

5 posted on 05/14/2004 10:05:38 PM PDT by pbear8 (Save us from the liberal media O Lord!)
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To: neverdem

I thought it was all the guns' fault.


6 posted on 05/14/2004 10:08:40 PM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Your Friendly Freeper Patent Attorney)
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To: neverdem

I have always heard, even from fellow mental health professionals, that great parents can have a terrible son.

I have, in 57 years of watching families closely, NEVER observed it.

I have always been able to find--with enough questions, PLENTY of responsibility on the part of the parents parenting practices; lack of heart to heart caring and bonding etc.--especially the first 6-8 years of life.

Of course, parents are never very happy to realize they have been in any way responsible for a child turning out less well than the child might have turned out.

Blame seems to be a national constitutional right.

Certainly children are still responsible for their behavior. But there is a reason that 75%+ of prison populations come from horrid parenting.


7 posted on 05/14/2004 10:21:28 PM PDT by Quix (Choose this day whom U will serve: Shrillery & demonic goons or The King of Kings and Lord of Lords)
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To: marvlus

I would agree. But it still sounds like they are in some measure of mindless liberal denial.


8 posted on 05/14/2004 10:22:44 PM PDT by Quix (Choose this day whom U will serve: Shrillery & demonic goons or The King of Kings and Lord of Lords)
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To: neverdem
My instinct is that Dylan Klebold was a self-initiating moral agent who made his choices and should be condemned for them. Neither his school nor his parents determined his behavior. Now his parents have been left with the terrible consequences.

I agree with the author on Klebold being responsible for his own actions, but if I were to play the blame game I would look at Hollywood and the FBI/ATF.

The doomed duo clearly copied the lobby scene from 'The Matrix' where Neo and Trinity kill all the guards and reinforcements in gravity defying style, all set to a rock beat.

The first time I viewed this scene I was very impressed, but since buying the DVD and watching it several more times I can't get over how corny and stupid it actually is. However, two teenage boys would be awestruck.

Where else could a young man find such vivid images of total control, power and murderous mayhem? The nightly news,of course.

Watching the FBI's RV/Tank tear holes in the Waco home of the Branch Davidians, followed by the fire and extermination of nearly everyone inside must of been a rush to these kids. Something to imitate if you wanted to show your power over others.

The fact that they had planted an explosive(dud) to start a fire in the kitchen and that they had originally planned to attack the school on April 19, same as Waco, but were pushed back a day due to not having the bombs and weapons ready, is evidence to support the theory that they wanted to copy their government's actions.

9 posted on 05/14/2004 10:25:27 PM PDT by CW_Conservative
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To: Zevonismymuse

Particularly since those two were prone to bullying other kids themselves.

Someone posted an article a while back where a psychiatrist had analyzed the journals of Harris and Klebold and concluded that one of them (forget which) was an ordinary depressed kid who probably could have been salvaged if he had gotten away from his parther and gotten some psychiatric help. The other kid, though, was a budding psychopath who was bent on havoc, and nothing and no one could have stopped him. If he hadn't shot up Columbine he would have done something else eventually.


10 posted on 05/14/2004 10:30:30 PM PDT by kms61
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To: Quix
I have always been able to find--with enough questions, PLENTY of responsibility on the part of the parents parenting practices; lack of heart to heart caring and bonding etc.--especially the first 6-8 years of life.

After the fact, it is easy to see everything. Your questions are designed to elicit the answers you WANT to hear. Most WANT to believe the parents have to be rotten because it makes them feel safely immune. You must also remember that the child is influencing the parenting as much as the parenting is influencing the child.

It's easy to be a good parent to a great kid. It is MUCH harder to be a good parent to a kid with difficulties.

11 posted on 05/14/2004 10:35:29 PM PDT by Dianna
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To: kms61

Yeah, I remember that too. Klebold was the depressed one, and Harris was the psycho.


12 posted on 05/14/2004 10:50:15 PM PDT by oprahstheantichrist
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To: Zevonismymuse
I do believe that the "toxic Culture" prodes kids like Harris and Klebold to act....

Look at our world.....there is diminishing love , committment , caring, affection ........

I think we try to replace all that with material goods.....bet Dylan had anything he wanted....

sometimes , people that are profoundly sad or depressed once they develop a "plan" or and "out" can go about their business with levity....like looking at dorm rooms....

13 posted on 05/14/2004 10:50:39 PM PDT by cherry
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To: Dianna; All

I understand your point.

And I probably couldn't say there's 0.00000% of such going on.

However, many times, I have not questioned the parents at all directly. I've either observed from a distance or asked friends and relatives about whether this or that sort of phenomenon existed between dad or mom and the child. Invariably significant key markers that I've looked for have been missing.

Yes, some children are very difficult and take tons more time, energy, creativity, warmth, hugging, patience to connect with. Nevertheless, if a parent is going to be a parent, it seems to me, that at least the minimum tolerable commitment they are making is

TO CONNECT WITH THAT CHILD sufficiently for the child to develop into a healthy productive adult.

Tooooooooo many other things take priority--sometimes even providing the child THINGS to keep up with the Jones' kids. Then there's the parents' own egos, status, obsessions, addictions, workaholism etc. Those are all CHOICES PARENTS make.

CHILDREN SPELL LOVE . . . . T I M E.

Few modern parents insure sufficient quantities of it at all, much less in warm, receptive, listening modes.

Understandably, many kids grow up convinced that parents love their cars, their clubs, their jobs, their clothes, their images, their press clippings, their pride, their games, their TV shoes . . . MORE than they love the child.

Doesn't exactly give the children a leg-up on life.


14 posted on 05/14/2004 10:52:11 PM PDT by Quix (Choose this day whom U will serve: Shrillery & demonic goons or The King of Kings and Lord of Lords)
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To: kms61; All

The Times wants you to pay for older stuff, but a google can catch reprints. Here's the URL

http://www.charlotte.com/mld/observer/2004/04/28/news/opinion/8536647.htm?1c

Posted on Wed, Apr. 28, 2004

Columbine teens, suicide bombers: Why did they kill?

We tend to assume that perpetrators are victims, but is it true?

DAVID BROOKS

New York Times


Five years ago, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot up Columbine High School. Now it's clear that much of what we thought about that horror was wrong.

In the weeks following the killings, commentators and psychologists filled the air with theories about what on earth could have caused those teenagers to lash out as they did. The main one was that Harris and Klebold were the victims of brutal high school bullies. They were social outcasts, persecuted by the jocks and the popular kids. But there were other theories afloat: They'd fallen in with a sick Goth subculture; they were neglected by their families; they were influenced by violent video games; they were misfits who could find no place in a conformist town.

All these theories had one theme in common: that the perpetrators were actually victims. They had been so oppressed and distorted by society that they struck back in this venomous way. In retrospect, it's striking how avidly we clung to this perpetrator-as-victim narrative. It's striking how quickly we took the massacre as proof that there must be something rotten at Columbine High School.

As we've learned more about Harris and Klebold, most of these misconceptions have been exposed. The killers were not outcasts. They did not focus their fire on jocks, or Christians or minorities. They were not really members of a "Trenchcoat Mafia."

This week, in a superb piece in Slate magazine, Dave Cullen reveals the conclusions of the lead FBI investigator, Dwayne Fuselier, as well as the Michigan State psychiatrist Frank Ochberg and others who probed into the Columbine shootings.

Harris and Klebold "laughed at petty school shooters," Cullen reports. They sought murder on a grander scale. They planned first to set off bombs in the school cafeteria to kill perhaps 600. Then they would shoot the survivors as they fled. Then their cars, laden with still more bombs, would explode amid the crowd of rescue workers and parents rushing to the school. It all might have come off if they had not miswired the timers on the propane bombs in the cafeteria.

What motivated them? Here, Cullen says, it is necessary to distinguish Klebold from Harris. Klebold was a depressed and troubled kid who could have been saved. Harris was an icy killer. He once thought about hijacking a plane and flying it into Manhattan.

Harris wasn't bullied by jocks. He was disgusted by the inferior breed of humanity he saw around him. He didn't suffer from a lack of self-esteem. He had way too much self-esteem.

It's clear from excerpts of Harris' journals that he saw himself as a sort of Nietzschean Superman -- someone so far above the herd of ant-like mortals he did not even have to consider their feelings. He rises above good and evil, above the contemptible slave morality of normal people. He can realize his true, heroic self, and establish his eternal glory, only through some gigantic act of will.

"Harris was not a wayward boy who could have been rescued," Cullen writes. Harris, the FBI experts believe, "was irretrievable."

Now, in 2004, we have more experience with suicidal murderers. Yet it is striking how resilient this perpetrator-as-victim narrative remains. We still sometimes assume that the people who flew planes into buildings -- and those who blew up synagogues in Turkey, trains in Spain, discos in Tel Aviv and schoolchildren this week in Basra -- are driven by feelings of weakness, resentment and inferiority. We cling to the egotistical notion that it is our economic and political dominance that drives terrorists insane.

But it could be that whatever causes they support or ideologies they subscribe to, the one thing that the killers have in common is a feeling of immense superiority. It could be that they want to exterminate us because they regard us as spiritually deformed and unfit to live, at least in their world. After all, it is hard to pull up to a curb, look a group of people in the eye and know that in a few seconds you will shred them to pieces unless you regard other people's deaths as trivialities.

If today's suicide bombers are victims of oppression, then the solution is to lessen our dominance, and so assuage their resentments. But if they are vicious people driven by an insatiable urge to dominate, then our only option is to fight them to the death.

We had better figure out who these bombers really are.

After Columbine, we got it wrong.

David Brooks

David Brooks is a New York Times columnist. Write him at 1627 I St. NW, Washington, DC 20006 or at dabrooks@nytimes.com.


15 posted on 05/14/2004 10:55:44 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi min oi)
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To: kms61
I agree that Harris was probably the leader and Klebold might have become little more than a petty criminal had he not met up with Harris.

I don't think we will ever know what went wrong but kids are often depressed or bullied and don't end up killing people.

The parents certainly were not paying close enough attention to what these kids were up to.

16 posted on 05/14/2004 10:58:25 PM PDT by Zevonismymuse
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To: Dianna; All

You may not be aware of a study of all the studies of child rearing practices some 25-35 years ago.

They compared all the variables they could. Socio-economic status; discipline styles--authoritarian, authoritative, laissez faire (sp); consensus; democratic etc.; number of children; geographic areas; rural, city; education levels; IQ etc.

There was ONE variable which accounted for more than 80% of the varience.

The criteria of measure used over the longitudinal studies was:

As adults, did the children
1) stay off welfare
2) stay productively employed
3) stay married
4) stay out of trouble with the law

That was defined as success as an adult.

Can you guess what that one variable was?

Whether or not the child

FELT

loved.


NOT: WAS the child loved--but

DID THE CHILD *******FEEL******* LOVED.

That tends to be a huge difference in some situations.


17 posted on 05/14/2004 10:58:39 PM PDT by Quix (Choose this day whom U will serve: Shrillery & demonic goons or The King of Kings and Lord of Lords)
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To: kms61

That's right .. they may have been shunned by other kids at the school in general, but those kids were right to keep such hostile, arrogant, dangerous people out of their lives. Harris and Klebold were the unforgiving, judgemental bullies.


18 posted on 05/14/2004 10:59:31 PM PDT by ValerieUSA
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To: Zevonismymuse
They obviously failed on some level.

So have you.

19 posted on 05/14/2004 10:59:37 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Drug prohibition laws help fund terrorism.)
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To: Dianna

Hasn't always been after the fact, either.

I've often made predictions of 1-2 year olds and noted that when those children got to be teens in that home, that there would be hell to pay. I was rarely wrong.


20 posted on 05/14/2004 11:01:54 PM PDT by Quix (Choose this day whom U will serve: Shrillery & demonic goons or The King of Kings and Lord of Lords)
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To: Dianna

"It's easy to be a good parent to a great kid. It is MUCH harder to be a good parent to a kid with difficulties."

You nailed it. You can also have a very disturbed kid who can act pretty darn normal on the outside. The kids who act out at least vent their feelings. It's the quiet ones that often blow without any warning.


21 posted on 05/14/2004 11:06:28 PM PDT by bonfire
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To: Quix

If you don't mind, would you elaborate on what you saw in those toddlers that caused you to make those predictions?


22 posted on 05/14/2004 11:26:12 PM PDT by kms61
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To: Beelzebubba; neverdem

<< I thought it was all the guns' fault. >>

Nope.

Turns out it was them darned jocks, again.


23 posted on 05/14/2004 11:26:36 PM PDT by Brian Allen (Intact - Male - American - Republican - Pro-Bush - PRO-ISRAEL - Pro-War - Pro-Gun - Pro-Life! Next?)
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To: Quix
DID THE CHILD *******FEEL******* LOVED.

That tends to be a huge difference in some situations.

Yes, but making a child 'feel' loved isn't always easy, or even possible.

24 posted on 05/14/2004 11:32:33 PM PDT by supercat (Why is it that the more "gun safety" laws are passed, the less safe my guns seem?)
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To: bonfire
It's the quiet ones that often blow without any warning.

Not that this implies the quiet ones are more likely to blow than the troublesome ones. Rather, since warning signs would often cause kids not to be described as 'quiet ones', the statement would seem to boil down to "Kids who don't give warning signs are more likely to blow without warning than those that do give warning signs, since the latter by definition can't blow without warning."

25 posted on 05/14/2004 11:41:25 PM PDT by supercat (Why is it that the more "gun safety" laws are passed, the less safe my guns seem?)
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To: supercat

One thing parents can do when their children seem unreachable is PRAY for them.


26 posted on 05/14/2004 11:49:47 PM PDT by ValerieUSA
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To: neverdem
I'd say they are facing them bravely and honorably.

I disagree with this writer's statement. Yes, they loved their son, and grieve for him now. As a parent, there is nothing my children could do that would make me lose my love for them.

But loving their child, and not showing more compassion for the innocent victims, are two very different things. I would think instead of honoring their child's life and the heinous crimes he committed, they could use their time in a more positive way. Giving bleeding heart interviews to the New York Times is not the answer.

Possibly, they could reach out to other troubled teens, and use their experience to try to prevent such a horrific episode from happening again.

27 posted on 05/15/2004 12:02:22 AM PDT by LisaMalia (In Memory of Sgt. James W."Billy" Lunsford..KIA 11-29-69 Binh Dinh S. Vietnam)
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To: neverdem
They are a well-educated, reflective, highly intelligent couple (Dylan was named after Dylan Thomas)....My instinct is that Dylan Klebold was a self-initiating moral agent who made his choices and should be condemned for them. Neither his school nor his parents determined his behavior.

There go those inconvenient morals again. And how could this happen to people so much like the interviewer? BARF

28 posted on 05/15/2004 1:27:31 AM PDT by Havisham
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To: neverdem
Tom Klebold


29 posted on 05/15/2004 1:39:14 AM PDT by beaversmom (Michael Medved has the Greatest radio show on GOD's Green Earth)
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To: neverdem
Here's the "hypocrisy" - all within the same paragraph...

The most infuriating incident, Susan said, came when somebody said, "I forgive you for what you've done." Susan insists, "I haven't done anything for which I need forgiveness."

Then, 1 sentence later......

"I think he suffered horribly before he died. For not seeing that, I will never forgive myself."

Anybody else see the contradiction.....

30 posted on 05/15/2004 2:05:55 AM PDT by KeepUSfree (WOSD = fascism pure and simple.)
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To: Zevonismymuse
Decent people can never understand the evil that lurks in the minds of others.

Our minds cannot comprehend such thinking which also explains how we didn't see 9/11 coming.

And why we are so horrified at the glee exhibited by the subhumans that beheaded Nicholas Berg.

31 posted on 05/15/2004 2:50:54 AM PDT by OldFriend (LOSERS quit when they are tired/WINNERS quit when they have won)
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To: KeepUSfree

No contradiction.

The stranger who "forgave" Susan was seizing a moral high ground that she had done nothing to earn. She was playing the morally superior victim when she was not in the least the aggrieved party.

Susan is not responsible for her son's sins and she owed this person no apology.

A question, though. Where did all those guns come from ? Were they Klebold's or Harris's or both ? Now if they were Klebold's and she was sitting back doing nothing while her son was amassing enough firepower to outfit a squad, then she was grossly derelict of her duty.


32 posted on 05/15/2004 2:57:48 AM PDT by Sam the Sham
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To: Zevonismymuse

I agree, but bullying in schools has made generations of kids miserable. Adolescence is hard enough, but to be terrified to go to school because you know you'll be the butt of endless jokes and physical abuse is a living nightmare. If you're different, don't fit in, you get picked on, and it starts way back in kindergarten. The parents failed to deal with their son's predicament, but they had to know he wasn't happy. If he didn't want to talk to them, and most kids prefer not to confide stuff like this to their parents, they should have gone down to the school and had a talk with the guidance counselor. Usually, they know what's going on. And that's another thing. Why did the school allow a climate where the only remedy these kids could come up with was killing as many of their classmates as possible? I hope somebody sued the school.


33 posted on 05/15/2004 3:13:24 AM PDT by hershey
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To: neverdem

Today's suicide bombers are oppressed by their own backward, medieval, fanatical-minded, homicidal culture. Assuaging their resentments without addressing this cultural pig sty will simply whet their appetite for dominance through mass murder. As we know, this goes way back to Iran, the fall of the Shah, and Jimmy Peanut-brain Carter.


34 posted on 05/15/2004 3:29:42 AM PDT by hershey
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To: supercat; All

i AGREE

that given some temperaments, it is sometimes

NOT EASY.

I disagree that it's not POSSIBLE.

The problem is, parents are not willing to pay the price

AND do not start earnestly enough, selfLESSly enough to get the child STARTED in their first awarenesses on that track.

I have seen incredibly difficult kids who even late in the game could have been turned from a life of disaster

IF

the parents had been

WILLING

to pay the price.

If they had been willing the first months of life, the price would not have been near so steep, no matter how difficult. AND IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH EASIER; MUCH *MORE* POSSIBLE.


35 posted on 05/15/2004 5:18:06 AM PDT by Quix (Choose this day whom U will serve: Shrillery & demonic goons or The King of Kings and Lord of Lords)
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To: supercat; All

I will also assert:

PARENTS WILL PAY THE PRICE

sooner or later

. . . in earnest, creative, persistent, tireless, healthy, intense LOVING actions

OR

in GRIEF, LAWYER'S BILLS, HOURS LOST IN COURT, SLEEPLESS NIGHTS, LIABILITIES, INSURANCE RATES . . .

It's a delusion of satan that one can raise kids on the cheap and with cheap words of love and things instead of actions of love.


36 posted on 05/15/2004 5:20:29 AM PDT by Quix (Choose this day whom U will serve: Shrillery & demonic goons or The King of Kings and Lord of Lords)
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To: kms61; All

I usually do much better with a specific case in front of me to answer such a question--and less well in the abstract. But I'll try . . .

1) Bottom line super key--REBELLION AND DEFIANCE. Keep in mind the adage--DISCIPLINE WITHOUT SUFFICIENT RELATIONSHIP PRODUCES REBELLION. And rebellion and defiance can be observed in the first month of life. If it's still winning out over the parents' wills by the 3-6th month of life and certainly by the 12th month of life, then the child is definitely headed for trouble. If it's still true by the 4th year of life, then the teen years will be hell on all the family.

2) Withdrawn, angry, enclosed, encased demeanors, actions. Now Autism and related problems are another ball park. I'm talking here about more or less physically etc. normal kids.

3) Obsessive people pleasers, super insecure, super manipulative, devious demeanors and actions.

4) Chronic lying, stealing, stubbornness, stubborn pouting relentlessly.

5) A certain look in the eye, spirit about the child that spells TROUBLE.

6) I'll note here--though I'll likely lose a number of you--IT IS VERY, RARE--used to be anyway--for children to be born with a serious demonic problem--whether oppressed or possessed. But it does happen. That sort of problem usually requires serious prayer and fasting on the part of the parents and some members of the church group. Usually, the parents are as rife with demonic problems as the children. That then requires a larger group effort or some comparable spiritual umph to deal with--even to get the parents free enough or listening to God enough to WANT to be free. BTW, I've even seen pets possessed. And the home was not free until either the pet was delivered or removed from the home--calamities still abounded until then. Stopped immediately afterward.

7) Extreme chronic apathy, vacantness, absent--rarely to never PRESENT.




But often, it's been mostly a look in the eye and a feeling about the kid. But certainly the above are serious enough clues which would, for me, predict serious trouble in the teen years and the rest of their adult lives assuming it was never dealt with and worked through. Usually, some variation of reparenting is needed along with tons of emotional, relational and spiritual healing.


37 posted on 05/15/2004 5:33:45 AM PDT by Quix (Choose this day whom U will serve: Shrillery & demonic goons or The King of Kings and Lord of Lords)
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To: Dianna
It's easy to be a good parent to a great kid. It is MUCH harder to be a good parent to a kid with difficulties.

Apparently neither set of parents bothered to notice their kids even had difficulties. That's not good parenting. The Klebolds are in such denial -

"I'm a quantitative person," said Tom, a former geophysicist. "We're not qualified to sort this out." They long for some authoritative study that will provide an answer. "People need to understand," Tom said, "this could have happened to them."

The father admits his lack of parenting skills which goes back to the old saying about the need get a license to have kids. He needs a study to tell him he failed to see the signs? Hmm, lets see, how about taking a look in his son's room and getting to know his son's friends? Eric's parents were just as dense. How many homemade bombs does one have to move off the coffee table to buy a clue?

38 posted on 05/15/2004 5:43:30 AM PDT by mtbopfuyn
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To: Quix

I'm just curious, do you have children of your own?

And, can you describe that "look in the eye" a little better? I'm not sure what you mean, there.


39 posted on 05/15/2004 5:50:33 AM PDT by Judith Anne (HOW ARE WE EVER GOING TO CLEAN UP ALL THIS MESS?)
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To: OldFriend
Decent people can never understand the evil that lurks in the minds of others

Perhaps we can't understand what makes them evil but we can certainly understand that it exists and understand we must be aware of the signs.

40 posted on 05/15/2004 5:56:10 AM PDT by mtbopfuyn
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To: supercat
Kids who don't give warning ...

Reminds me of my own personal favorite: "only strangers talk to strangers".

41 posted on 05/15/2004 6:01:01 AM PDT by Snerfling
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To: hershey
Adolescence is hard enough, but to be terrified to go to school because you know you'll be the butt of endless jokes and physical abuse is a living nightmare. If you're different, don't fit in, you get picked on, and it starts way back in kindergarten. The parents failed to deal with their son's predicament, but they had to know he wasn't happy.

Are you forgetting the police had already gone out to talk to the parents because their little angels were bullying other kids?

42 posted on 05/15/2004 6:04:47 AM PDT by mtbopfuyn
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To: neverdem
They are a well-educated, reflective, highly intelligent couple.... "We're not qualified to sort this out."

Kind of odd for the reporter to call them intelligent and reflective.

43 posted on 05/15/2004 6:07:32 AM PDT by rabidralph (Vote, Republican; ask me how!)
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To: pbear8
"Shows extreme lack of judgment."

I knew someone would say it; that's why I didn't. That is what jumped right out of the article....that, and naming their son after Dylan Thomas. Classic behavior of leftists. So, I will buy that they were cluless.

Still, it's very sad. I still lived in Colorado at the time and watched the whole thing unfold live on TV. We went to the Memorial at Columbine. There was such love and such grief, but in spite of everything, some of the students would not allow Eric and Dylan to be completely left out of the equation. Many recognized that their parents suffered too, and had compassion on them. Some openly forgave the boys for what they did.

.


44 posted on 05/15/2004 6:27:34 AM PDT by sweetliberty ("Better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.")
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To: Judith Anne; All

Now you have 2 very challenging questions!

1)No. I almost all my life felt Chinese had enough children, I didn't need to help them. Besides that, I chose to help those already brought into the world have a better life rather than have my own. PART of the reason was my own crazy childhood. There was enough pain and craziness in my own extended family and nuclear family, I was NOT ABOUT TO visit that sort of stuff on a child. And, I was a bit reasonably concerned that IF I had children, I'd want to spend all my time with them and wouldn't make enough $$$ to feed them.

Now--considering the usual criticisms about that, I can only offer this:

1) My parents adopted a baby girl when I was 10. Mother was determined that no son of hers was going to dump all the child care on the wife. She insisted that I do the 02:30 in the morning feedings for a while in addition to changing and washing diapers.

2) I've lived with other families and shared child care duties and loving for up to 18 months at a time with various aged children.

3) I knew a 50 year missionary lady in Taiwan who had had 12 kids. She said she always cherished the input from the childless. That they often had the best advice that was practical and effective. She had a rare attitude about that.

4) I HAVE MOST DEFINITELY by God's Grace made much better or mostly solved the messes those with children have made of their children's lives in the lives of between 1,000 and 3,000 children--depending on the seriousness of the criteria one uses. CERTAINLY, IF IT DOESN'T WORK, TOSS IT--TRY SOMETHING ELSE--ALMOST ANYTHING ELSE REMOTELY HEALTHY AND LOVING!




THE LOOK IN THE EYE--DESCRIBE IT IN WORDS. That's a virtually impossible task.

I think meanness, rebellion and defiance--if one sees such things in the eyes of a child--it's very serious--especially if it's more than a rare occasion. If you watch children's eyes every where you go--or even just your own children's eyes--keeping in mind those issues--you'll learn the differences.

A more difficult look in the eye to catch is the chronic people pleaser and the super manipulator--which are often one and the same. They can be very gifted at looking sweet, helpless, even waif-like garnering all the sympathy and compliance to their wishes from the parents and siblings. When underneath, there's great contempt for everyone else. Typically, they've been hyper sensitive at an early age--and felt trashed, uncared for, unloved--perhaps even hated--rightly or wrongly on the part of their perceptions. And at some point early on decided [not necessarily conscioiusly decided] to blazes with it all, they'll just manipulate out of everyone in a very cynical way--whatever they can get.

Life becomes a strictly economic exchange and instead of love--they covet and go to great lengths to get things and other people's compliance as proof that they are worth breathing air and taking up space. Usually, they have internalized some very early parental message that they aren't worth bothering with genuinely. Sometimes the message wasn't THAT greatly there but given their hypersensitivity--they construed it that way and the parents didn't catch it or didn't know how [and weren't willing to search long enough to find someone who did] or decided they couldn't pay the price to overcome it.

One way you can get some clue about the look in the eye thing is to stand in front of a mirror. Consider the constructs, attitudes etc. I've mentioned above--such as defiance. Close your eyes--think of something you used to feel real defiant about. Start to feel it. Then imagine the person you most felt it toward--imagine that they are in front of you. Open your eyes and look in the mirror. You can do the same thing with each of those constructs, attitudes, feelings.

You can also ask God [as I did at a young age] to help you know what it's like to feel inside the other person's skin. If you are serious and faithful to ask, as well as to obey Him in what He tells you to do to grow in that way, He will answer that prayer.

And, when you see your child [or anyone else, for that matter] with a certain look that puzzles you--focus on the look enough that you can match it--mimic it as authentically as you can. You could do it then and there or privately in front of your mirror. When you feel you have the look down well, focus on how you feel holding that look. That can give you a good clue about what's going on in your child.

And, you can simply ask God--what's my child/that person feeling, thinking right now? Why?

And, with most people, asking WHY is counter productive because it feels like an accusation. USUALLY, IN MARRIAGES AND WITH TEENS, IT'S BETTER TO AVOID ASKING QUESTIONS AT ALL. a good exercise toward that is to commit to one's spouse to go a whole month without asking a single question. You learn to make statements.

--I'm unaware of your plans about the evening.
--I'm unaware of the best time for dinner.
--I'm pondering about the wisest time for dinner.
--I don't know the best way to be thoughtful toward you, today.
--I'm puzzled about the origin of your statement.
--I'm curious about the source of that look on your face.
--I'm interested in the thoughts that preceded that tone of voice.
--I don't know if you thought of any possible alternatives to that action or not. I don't know if you considered the different results the different alternative actions might have produced, or not.
--I'm puzzled about your expectations of me at the moment.
--I'm interested in knowing your hopes about our time together the next 4 hours.
--I'm interested in planning my day/week. But I want to maximize my matching and helpfulness to your plans. It would help if I knew them.

etc.

Mileage may vary.

Blessings,


45 posted on 05/15/2004 6:30:38 AM PDT by Quix (Choose this day whom U will serve: Shrillery & demonic goons or The King of Kings and Lord of Lords)
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To: neverdem

bump


46 posted on 05/15/2004 6:31:06 AM PDT by VOA
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To: neverdem
they trust The New York Times

So they can multitask their state of denial, apparently.

47 posted on 05/15/2004 7:06:48 AM PDT by atomicpossum (Hey, I wouldn't touch Camryn Manheim's uterus on a bet.)
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To: Quix

I have 5 children, and I think Quix has pretty well hit the nail on the head. There's no guarantee against a child 'going wrong', but you sure do lower the chances if a child KNOWS and FEELS that you love them.

As for me - that's the main reason why I have always stayed at home with my children, even through some very difficult financial times. We also homeschool. I want my children to know that I value them enough to sacrifice my own time for them. I'm intelligent enough to have a very highly paid career... but my children are more important. Period.

I don't think Klebold's parents taught him to hate, or to blow people up. But for some reason, he apparently didn't feel important to them. One thing that kept me on the straight and narrow as a child, teen and young adult, was knowing how badly it would hurt my parents if I screwed up.

Again, there are NO guarantees. But having a one-on-one relationship with your children really does lower the odds!

I've made some mistakes with my kids, and it's usually been because of my own selfishness, or laziness. Not wanting to bother to find out what was really making them tick. I regret every time I've done that!

They are still ultimately responsible for their own actions, but they were given parents for a reason. "Train up a child in the way he SHOULD go..."

Thanks, Quix, for your posts. It's made me renew my own commitment.


48 posted on 05/15/2004 7:13:02 AM PDT by Proud 2BeTexan
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To: Zevonismymuse
They obviously failed on some level.


I disagree...


In the generation I was born, couples usually had large families, say like 5 to 7 children.
The parents were usually religeous and worked hard to provide.


However is seemed that in almost every large family, one kid would go south on them. The majority of the kids would become productive members of society, but there would be that one...the rebel.


How do you explain that? Same parents...and one bad apple...
49 posted on 05/15/2004 7:22:27 AM PDT by dagoofyfoot
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To: Quix

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. We've been blessed with great kids, kids-in-law, and grandkids, all of them have filled our hearts with love, honor and pride...

But I have seen really great kids come from really stinking parents, and vice versa...


50 posted on 05/15/2004 7:23:05 AM PDT by Judith Anne (HOW ARE WE EVER GOING TO CLEAN UP ALL THIS MESS?)
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