LITTLETON, Colo. — In a new book about atypical children, the parents of Dylan Klebold spoke at length for the first time about the day her son and Eric Harris opened fire on students and teachers at Columbine High School.
When she heard about the shooting on the morning of April 20, 1999, Sue Klebold said she “had a sudden vision of what Dylan might be doing.” That’s when she began to hope that her son would take his own life instead of trying to make it out alive.
“While every other mother in Littleton was praying that her child was safe, I had to pray that mine would die before he hurt anyone else,” Klebold said said.
The thought-provoking confession comes from the book “Far From the Tree,” which was released by Andrew Solomon this week after he spent 11 years studying children with potentially-isolating characteristics.
Solomon studied families coping with deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disabilities. He also studied with children who were prodigies, who were conceived in rape and who became criminals.
Klebold’s comments were pulled from the chapter on children who become criminals, something Colorado has gotten all-too-familiar with in the wake of Columbine, especially in the past year.
James Holmes, 24, was arrested for the Aurora theater tragedy in July and 17-year-old Austin Sigg was arrested for the brutal murder of Jessica Ridgeway in October.
In researching Klebold’s parents, Solomon journeyed to Colorado and stayed at the home the family has lived in since that fateful day in 1999. He even slept in Dylan’s old bedroom.
Solomon asked Sue to elaborate about the wish that her son would end his own life on April 20.
“I gave the hardest prayer I ever made, that he would kill himself,” she said. “Because then at least I would know he wanted to die and wouldn’t be left with all the questions I’d have if he got caught by a police bullet. Maybe I was right, but I’ve spent so many hours regretting that prayer: I wished for my son to kill himself and he did.”
Solomon also asked Sue and her husband Tom what they would say to their son if they could talk to him tomorrow. Tom’s answer was blunt, and not unlike the question most would likely ask Dylan.
“I’d ask him what the hell he was thinking and what the hell he thought he was doing,” Tom said.
Sue’s response to the question appeared to fall at the opposite end of the spectrum.
“I would ask him to forgive me,” Sue said. “For being his mother and never knowing what was going on inside his head, for not being able to help him, for not being the person he could confide in.”