In the Columbine interview, Sue Klebold talks about what she went through as a parent and her grieving process during and after her son’s involvement in the Columbine shooting. In accompaniment to talking about her experience, she wants people to know that what her son did was a horrible thing and she has to accept that reality; she does not want another parent to miss the signs that her son went through during his depression.
As a way to show our understanding with this interview, in particular with Sue Klebold’s involvement, our group has integrated the following key concepts from “Life-Span Human Development”: Nature vs. Nurture, Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model, and the Id, Ego and the Superego. In this essay we explore these concepts and how they effectively apply to this situation and all those involved in it. With the event that transpired the day of April 20, 1999, mother Sue Klebold’s life would be turned upside down.
She tried to retract her steps as a parent in what could she have done to prevent the actions of her son. Dylan a Suicidal and Depressed teen that was heavily influenced by his friend Eric Harris, who was profiled in the film y FBI agent, Mary Ellen O’Toole as a psychopath, with these two combination of personas lead to a toxic friendship that not only harmed themselves in the end, but others, In her interview she goes on to tell her audience that her son grew in a healthy household with loving, caring, and lenient parents, whom did not invade his privacy.
Sue speaks on behalf of her experiences and pleads parents to not be close minded to the idea that it can happen to anybody, looking for signs is important in their children to prevent harm and get them help if necessary before any acts are committed. Explaining that Dylan kept secret journals depicting his suicidal thoughts which eventually evolved into the plotting of what happened April 20th. Sue started to become more concerned he committed his first felony that is when his mother took the appropriate action to separate her son from his friend.
However there were many events like the paper where he depicts a person like himself committing the crime. So essentially there were many events that could have been connected together. Sue is still going through the stages of grief, and currently in denial because she is still baffled due to he fact that she is being held accountable for someone else’s actions. After the atrocities that happened in Columbine High School in Colorado, FBI agents started to investigate on the case and the backgrounds of the shooters.
The video presented in class gives us insight to the story of Sue Klebold, the mother of Dylan Klebold, before, during, and after the shooting. She was widely criticized and was considered guilty for what her son Dylan did that day. The topic of Nature vs. Nurture came into question regarding these events. They blamed Sue for not educating him right, and questioned how she could not have oticed her son planning to commit such crimes. In the interview, she refers to Dylan when he was a kid as “sunshine boy” because he was very happy and loving.
She states, “He was shy, likable, with hands-on parents who put him to bed with stories, prayers, and hugs. ” Demonstrating that he was loved and cared for; not abused or neglected. When he was a child, Dylan was involved in sports and was outgoing. He was very affectionate and happy as a kid. In adolescence all that would change, Dylan would grow to be distant, quiet, and isolated. He then got involved with the justice system, as he committed inor felonies and socialized with teens who had a similar mentality as himself.
Sue interpreted this as a “stage” in adolescence, but little did she know what was going through her son’s mind. Dylan was severely depressed and kept a journal in which he wrote on with his suicidal thoughts. This contributes to the nature aspect in psychology. In the interview, retired FBI agent, Mary Ellen O’Toole, points out that not only was Dylan severely depressed, but also may have had other mental disorders. Investigators did not know when Dylan went from suicidal to homicidal, but they were certain that he knew to ifferentiate from right and wrong and still decided to plan and commit the murders.
Research shows that many adolescent boys feel rejected by girls and as a result they question their masculinity during puberty. With their masculinity at play, this was believed to have caused both Dylan and Eric to feel powerful by displaying violence and handling firearms. O’Toole mentions that Dylan’s friendship with Eric was a destructive relationship and that it affected Dylan over time. The impact their friendship had affected the victim’s family and theirs as well.
Our group came to the conclusion that the Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model, proposed by Urie Bronfenbrenner and Stephen J. Ceci, could be used as a tool to explain Sue and Dylan Klebold’s story. The Bronfenbrenner model is a theoretical model of gene-environment interactions. This model explores the human and how it reacts with others and its environment which is broken into four sections: Microsystem, Mesosystem, Exosystem, and Macrosystem. First is the Microsystem, which is the contact that people have with their immediate surroundings (Sigelman and Rider 51). Sue Klebold speaks on the topic of how her son became more istant in the home environment, often staying in his room most of the day.
At school, Dylan had friendships, but seemed to lack the self-esteem in his interpersonal friendships. Mrs. Klebold and school officials did not think much of his behavior, taking into consideration that many teens will adjust to the social norm – rules or behaviors that are acceptable when growing up will often become a little withdrawn from their loved ones (Sigelman and Rider 508-509). The next ecological system is the Mesosystem, this is when two separate factors in a person’s life affects each other (Sigelman and Rider 51).
This coincides with the relationship of Dylan and Eric, where both dealt with mental issues. Eric had a more sadistic personality and was able to manipulate Dylan. Dylan on the other hand seemed to have more self hatred and low self esteem, which insinuated suicidal tendencies than thoughts of mass murder. Unfortunately we can only speculate, but together their friendship became explosive at some point ending in the events that transpired. This left Sue distraught not knowing the source of her son’s killing ways or a solution to fix it.
Next would be the Exosystem, which consists of issues that o not directly affect an individual, but can still have an affect on that person (Sigelman and Rider 51). In Mrs. Klebold’s interview, she does not have extensive knowledge and does not want to talk about Eric’s illness, which she makes clear is out of respect for his parents. Despite this, Eric’s illness was not Dylan’s, but his actions still influenced the way Dylan went about living his life during high school as an isolated, depressed young person with a psychopath as a best friend.
The fact that Dylan did not display or write about murderous thoughts beforehand portrays that he till had a semblance of mind, but was still being influenced by the sadistic thoughts of Eric. Sue Klebold was not a shooter in the Columbine killings, but her son’s involvement caused her to lose him in the end, face the criticisms of the parents and students from Columbine, and eventually end her marriage with her husband. All of this contributing to her almost two decade grieving process.
The fourth bioecological model is the Macrosystem where social and cultural ideologies and beliefs can have an effect on an individual’s environment (Sigelman and Rider 52). Dylan Klebold’s behavior prior to the shootings had dramatically changed, the adults – parents, school officials and authorities – had failed to see the signs and wrote off such actions as stealing a van, writing a cryptic story, and becoming isolated as a teenage phase. Mrs. Klebold stated in her interview that if she had to do it all over again, she would have searched his room, and questioned him more intently.
Mrs. Klebold realizes she can not go back now, only wishes maybe she could have prevented this tragedy by acting and not just responding to the right of passage for his age. There are some real indications that there is some cognitive dissonance involved with the state of mind and decision making process for the plans of Columbine; at the very least Dylan Klebold more readily gave that impression in hindsight through the types of correspondences he kept in his letters he kept for himself and his friend Eric Harris.
From this route we are able to evaluate and speculate on certain aspects of their personalities particularly where it pertains with their individual alignment in their personal Id, Ego, & Super Ego’s. According to Sigelman and Rider, “At birth, there is only the id-the impulsive, irrational, and selfish part of the personality whose mission is to satisfy the instincts. The id seeks immediate gratification, even when biological needs cannot be realistically or appropriately met” (Sigelman and Rider 36).
Dylan portrays more of his Id component when he contemplates about suicide and satiates this feeling by engaging in a friendship like relationship with Eric Harris. They then go on to get into trouble with the law by stealing a car and some property and ultimately they get their hands on guns. Though the planning is immense and intense, hat Dylan does not fully realize despite his pre-apology to his mother, is the actual severity of his actions and the consequences, immediate or latently. their Ego’s is also very interesting.
They were troubled youths, one most likely a sociopath – Eric Harris – and the other, just depressed enough to fall in line with a delusional line of thinking. The “ego begins to emerge during infancy and takes the form of cognitive processes such as perception, learning, and problem solving. [… ] As the ego matures further, children become more capable of postponing pleasures until a more ppropriate time and of devising logical and realistic strategies for meeting their needs” (Sigelman and Rider 36).
When Dylan arrived home after his thefts and then proceeded as if nothing was wrong was a way to specifically protect his ego in its How they deal with vulnerable state. He also participated in a number of stunts and activities that helped boost his ego and lowered his self esteem. Doing these actions made Dylan feel in control of some part of his life, while his looks and his social and love life were in a definite tailspin due to his insecurities. The superego, the individual’s internalized moral standards.
It develops from the ego as 3 to 6 year-old children internalize the moral standards and values of their parents. Once the superego emerges, children have a parental voice in their heads that keeps them from violating society’s rules and makes them feel guilty or ashamed if they do” (Sigelman and Rider 36). It’s apparent that the teen’s environment was the perfect storm and had all the perfect ingredients in order for their id’s to supersede their super egos. They did not have an outlet necessary or the attention needed in order for their id’s primal motivations were able to take hold instead.
Sue Klebold ultimately went about this tragedy the right way for her and she did it in the right time frame that fit for her; however, all of us agreed that she took too long in letting the media know on what she went through during and after Dylan’s involvement in the Columbine shooting. For a mother whose son became a murderer, Sue was able to slowly move on by writing a book on what happened and how this event could happen to anyone. She also donated her earnings to mental health problems, which shows that she was a good mother and does not want anybody else to suffer like she did.
We all agreed that she went about helping those around her the correct way because most of the people would not have been as strongwilled as her and most likely would have wallowed away in guilt or shame. She was brave and went the right way in solving her problems. However, we all agreed that Sue could have done more to help Dylan during his depression and be more assertive towards his criminal acts with Eric. She could have disciplined him more to where he would learn his lesson and understand his mistakes and she could have pushed herself more to talk to Dylan when he acted differently around her.