One of the first reporters on the scene, Dave Cullen used the decade between the landmark school shooting and and the publication of Columbine to reassess April 20, 1999, explore the persistence of myths that grew out of the event, and delve deeply into the lives of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Through intensive research, extensive interviews, and an inerrant eye for truth, Cullen separates falsehoods from truth — the girl in the library was never asked if she was Christian; there was no “trench coat mafia”; neither of the shooters were bullied by jocks, nor were they members of a Goth subculture — unsung heroes are praised, cover-ups exposed and survivors’ tales chronicled. Cullen also takes great care not to name those who tried to exploit the tragedy, such as a carpenter who traveled the area erecting badly constructed crosses for the victims, including the shooters, as well as members of an infamous family church known for its homophobia and vitriolic protests at funerals of soldiers, rightfully depriving them of the attention they desperately craved. All this is implemented with one clear goal: to strengthen the broken places that were shattered on that fateful spring day.
Unfortunately, Cullen has now become the go-to media expert for school and mass shooting events. This led to his second book, Parkland: Birth of a Movement, which was published in 2019, just shy of the twentieth anniversary of the Columbine shooting and a decade after the publication of Columbine.