Diane Sawyer will speak with Susan Klebold, mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine killers. The interview will air on a special edition of ABC’s 20/20, on February 12, at 10 p.m. EST, 9 p.m. CST. The mother has written a book, A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, on coming to terms with the consequences of her son’s actions. All profits will be donated to organizations that help the mentally ill.
The tragedy, where 12 students and one teacher were killed, occurred on April 20, 1999, near Denver, Colorado. Twenty-four others were also wounded when Dylan and another shooter, Eric Harris, opened fire at Columbine High School. They then took their own lives. Since then, many have wanted to hear the parents’ story, but for the most part, there has been silence.
“A Mother’s Reckoning” by Sue Klebold, mother of Columbine teen shooter Dylan Klebold is on sale Monday 2-15!… https://t.co/WMRk1xrOlv
— Willow Books (@WillowBooks) February 12, 2016
There are some who fault the parents, and Susan talks about living with shame and guilt. The Diane Sawyer interview is the first time one of the mothers will answer questions. She said there is not one day when she doesn’t think about the victims and their families, per ABC News.
“I just remember sitting there and reading about them, all these kids and the teacher. And I keep thinking — constantly thought how I would feel if it were the other way around and one of their children had shot mine. I would feel exactly the way they did. I know I would.”
It’s interesting to note that the word “harmed” in reference to the son’s actions rather than killed. Susan stated, “There is never a day that goes by where I don’t think of the people that Dylan harmed.” When Diane Sawyer inquired about the use of the word “harmed,” the response indicates someone who is, apparently, still processing what happened nearly 20 years ago, added ABC News.
“I think it’s easier for me to say harmed than killed, and it’s still hard for me after all this time. “It is very hard to live with the fact that someone you loved and raised has brutally killed people in such a horrific way.”
Prior to the tragic incident, the woman said she was a parent who had always believed if something was wrong with her son, she would know. She said the tragedy changed this. In previous years, Susan and her husband Tom both said they had no idea their son was journaling about suicide and planning to take part in a mass murder. They did know that he was shy, depressed, and socially awkward.
“I think we like to believe that our love and our understanding is protective, and that ‘if anything were wrong with my kids, I would know,’ but I didn’t know… And — it’s very hard to live with that.”
Sue Klebold talking about her son, Dylan: pic.twitter.com/OYNMTE4WcC
— Serial Killers (@DailyKillerFact) February 9, 2016
His partner, Eric, was portrayed as a psychopath, but both boys were taking anti-depressants, and the side effects of these medications when taken by teens are increased suicidal and homicidal thoughts. Both teens left journal notations and videos indicating they were being bullied.
Some question why the interview is taking place now, and if it’s too late. The mother wants good to come from what happened and to also help parents recognize warning signs, which could prevent another school shooting, per Diane Sawyer, who appeared on The View.
Anne Marie Hochhalter, who was left paralyzed by the attack, has spoken out in support of Klebold. The young woman is pleased that proceeds from the book will aid mental health foundations. She said her mother, who suffered from depression, took her own life after Columbine, which didn’t solely cause her problems but impacted her state of mind.
Hochhalter also said she has forgiven the parents of the shooter. She mentioned that she received a letter from Susan and Tom not long after the incident and said their words were “genuine and personal,” noted ABC 7 Denver. In turn, she wrote a letter to Susan on February 11.
“I have no ill-will towards you. Just as I wouldn’t want to be judged by the sins of my family members, I hold you in that same regard. It’s been a rough road for me, with many medical issues because of my spinal cord injury and intense nerve pain, but I choose not to be bitter towards you.”
Diane Sawyer reached out to the families and survivors prior to the interview, and reactions ranged from anger to forgiveness. Hochhalter said she doesn’t know if she’ll ever read the book, although she appreciates the effort. The book’s release date is February 15.
[Photo via Video Screenshot]