I've Got Issues...And Peace


Boulder, Colorado,
October 22
Family, marital, and individual psychotherapist. Mother to four who no longer need my services but still enjoy my love as I do theirs. I specialize in stepfamily dynamics and difficult transitions. I try to write from the heart with a sense of vulnerability, humor and a frank look at myself. Art shown: "Four Pots" by Lindsey Leavell


APRIL 12, 2009 10:50AM

Dave Cullen's Book Signing in Boulder

Rate: 35 Flag

Dave at Borders

(Dave Cullen at the Borders Bookstore, Boulder, Colorado 4/10/09)


“He told them he loved them.”

With that, the handsome, affable and beloved member of Open Salon, Dave Cullen closed his book, Columbine, and looked at us all and said that that was the extent of his book reading.

There was nervous laughter in the crowded space with standing room only.  Dave proceeded, despite the difficulty of his subject matter, to make everyone feel at ease.

He explained that these were the words of the Columbine principal spoken to the 2000 students of Columbine High School.  Ironically, these words were not uttered after the unspeakable mass shooting that killed 12 students and a teacher, wounding 23 others and causing untold grief for hundreds.  The words were spoken the Friday before the infamous massacre, the Friday before April 20, 1999, the Friday when then were 36 hours left before the annual junior-senior prom. 

The principal’s concerns were not ones of unimaginable violence and mayhem perpetrated by 2 teenage boys gone bad.  They came from the heart of a man who knew the dangers of drinking and driving and he told them, not from a place of judgment, but from the place of a loving and generous heart, that he wanted to see every single one of them alive on Monday morning. 

He did...but then Tuesday happened.

As Dave recounted the past 10 years and the exhaustive research he did on the book, he brought not only his writing and a book that has received accolades from Time Magazine, Vanity Fair and the New York Times, just to name a few.  He brought himself and the arduous process he submitted himself to in order to give to his readers, to us, the most accurate and fair description of what happened that terrible day.

Dave Cullen showing journals

(Dave showing the journals of the killers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.)

Dave brought the objectivity of a seasoned journalist along with the heart of a man who had suffered a heavy price to himself and his psyche.  He shared about the 2 bouts of secondary PTSD he endured after spending 10 years conducting countless interviews, tireless research and meeting for hours on end with the parents and friends of students who had died or been injured. 

The hour felt like a minute and Dave’s presentation made us all wanting for more, despite the nature of his book.  Standing in line to have Dave sign my book, the room felt like a church.  People spoke in hushed tones and whispers waiting to meet the man who had the courage and care to write a book about an event we would all like to pretend never happened.

Dave Cullen and I

(Dave Cullen and me) 

Dave is on a whirlwind book tour.  Check out to see if he is coming to your city. 

The students and families of Columbine deserve the work that Dave did.

As a writer, Dave deserves the literary praise he is receiving. 

As a person, Dave deserves a hug.



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Great reporting, Mary. A bunch of us are looking forward to seeing Dave at Books and Books in Coral Gables on April 16.
I saw that you had posted this on FB and RAN over here! This is wonderfully written Mary and I am so pleased that you could give us such a personal report! I'm hoping to see him this Thursday in Miami. Happy Easter to you! Rated.
Mary, thanks for posting this look at the Boulder event! It was a week ago that I purchased my copy in CT and I can say I would have enjoyed seeing an appearance by Dave there. I imagine a very large crowd will be present in Manhattan for the upper west side book signing of Dave's.
Unfortunately, I'm six hours from the closest book signing. But, I am really glad you got to see him!

Nicely written Mare! thanks for the glimpse into Dave's tour!
I am halfway through the book and am so impressed by Dave's writing and research. He deserves every accolade he gets and more.
Mary, Thanks so much for posting this. From the bit I've gotten to "know" Dave on OS and FB, none of what you report surprises me. You confirmed my impression that he is a person of high integrity and great emotion. I am so glad that he is getting recognition for his work. I'm sorry I won't be able to be at one of his readings, but he's not coming to Texas. J.
Big squisy hugs for Dave and for you, Mary!

Thanks for bringing this to us here and congratulations to Dave for his exhaustive research and a monumental piece of writing. Dave has given all the families and students at Columbine a heart felt book to honor those that died and leave a lasting account to those who surrvived.
Thank you for posting this, as alas, Dave isn't stopping by Cleveland on his tour.
I'm reading it and can barely tear myself away from it. I'll look at his book tour and see if he is coming anywhere near here.

Great post, Mary! Sounds like a great read, too. I'll go see how close Dave is coming to my neighborhood. Thanks!
Thanks for everyone's comments on this Sunday spring/Easter/Passover weekend, etc. morning.

jane: Given that mass shootings and more specifically school shootings have been on the rise in the last decade, it is critical from a sociological point of view to understand why this is happening. Why are high school kids, and in some cases, middle school kids, killing themselves and their fellow classmates? As a society, we don't have the luxury to not extensively investigate this. Dave deserves big kudos for tackling this most unpleasant of subjects. And tackling it in such an impressive and thorough way. I understand your apprehension, but please read the book and come back and let us know if reading it has changed your mind in any way.
Great report, Mary!

I hope Dave's hanging in there...he looks a bit tired in that photo.
Hey, does anybody know where Dave's book tour schedule can be found? Both his website and his publishers say schedule is "coming soon" (that's a major miss - why didn't someone at the publishers get that put up??) I asked him about a few posts ago on his blog but he didn't respond and I'm not going to bug him while he's touring!

I'm not on Facebook, so if it's there, I can't see it. I'm wondering what the SF Bay Area dates and locations are. thanks if anyone knows...
I've written Dave asking him about this. Hopefully, he'll let us know.
Thanks, Mary! I can't believe his publisher still doesn't have it up on their website. That's really unprofessional of them. Not to mention bad business!
Thanks for this. I've been following his publishing /book journey and really appreciate this personal review.
Nice reporting. This is the closest I'm going to get to a book signing, so thank you!

His book tour schedule can be found here:

You're purdy.

Dave's heart shines through in this book with so many layers. There is such a ripple effect by two boys' actions. Mary, this book cannot be put down once picked up. I think it will and should be a NY Times Bestseller if the promotion goes well. It's the best thing I've read on the killings. Objective and thorough.

Great photo.
Denese, I clicked on that link and it gave the cities but not the actual dates. Am I missing something?

Greg: Ah, you're sweet. Although I had a sty in one of my eyes so of course being a person highly critical of myself, that's all I see. I started reading the book this morning. Damn...Dave is an excellent excellent writer. He just pulls the reader right in, right from the start. Your comment about Dave on spot on. The Borders person who introduced Dave said that they fully expect him to be on the NY Times bestsellers list.
Thanks for the report, Mary. I couldn't make it, and Dave couldn't have signed my Kindle anyway ;-)

I'm about two-thirds of the way through the book and find it mesmerizing. Like so many others, especially us "locals," I thought I already knew everything there was to know about Columbine. How wrong I was. Today's Denver Post has a positive review of Dave's book together with the other one just out by Jeff Kass, the RMN reporter who had, like Dave, followed the case from the beginning.
Always great to hear about the successes of fellow OS family members. Thanks for posting this.

P. S. You both need to eat more!
Excellent personal reporting, Mare. You brought us right there with you. (I only wish I had been). You've done Dave, his book, the community and those lost to that horrible tragedy a warm and gentle service by describing this personal OS connection with your own loving care.
Thanks for posting this! It reminded me to check whether Columbine had been published in Kindle format yet - and it is! Off to download and read.
u r so sweet.

i mostly looked at the pix, for now. lol.

i'm SO tired. only got two hours sleep last night. had to work, pack, slept 3-5 am, got dressed.

i thought i was tired yesterday.

just got to nyc, very nice room at the Roger Smith Hotel on Lex Ave. they have books in the room. nice touch.

about to take a nap, and will return.

i can feel you all sending out love. thanks.
BBE, you know have me wondering if I am mistaken. And I was wondering the same thing. Wouldn't the FBI have them? Dave walked around holding them up. They looked old and worn. I'll look into it. I think I would make a poor investigative reporter! Thanks for pointing this out.
Sorry Mary, I thought the cities were linked to information/dates. I'm on facebook but can't find Dave there. If I do I'll let you all know.

As a public service to my OS peeps, when I search "Columbine Book Tour" on facebook, I come up with the following:

Host: Barnes & Noble
Type: Music/Arts - Performance
Network: Global
Date: Monday, April 13, 2009
Time: 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: BARNES & NOBLE, Upper West Side
Street: 2289 Broadway @ 82nd Street
City/Town: New York, NY

Host: Borders, Colorado Springs (Southgate store)
Type: Music/Arts - Performance
Network: Global
Date: Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Time: 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: Borders, Colorado Springs (Southgate store)
Street: 2120 Southgate Rd.
City/Town: Colorado Springs, CO

Type: Music/Arts - Performance
Network: Global
Date: Friday, April 17, 2009
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Location: BOOKS & BOOKS
Street: 265 Aragon Ave.
City/Town: Coral Gables, FL

Host: LA Times / UCLA
Type: Music/Arts - Performance
Network: Global
Date: Saturday, April 25, 2009
Time: 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Location: LA Times Festival of Books, UCLA campus
City/Town: Los Angeles, CA

Host: Dave Cullen
Type: Music/Arts - Performance
Network: Global
Date: Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Time: 7:30pm - 8:30pm
Location: Books Inc. (Mountain View Store)
Street: 301 Castro Street
City/Town: Mountain View, CA

Host: University Bookstore, Seattle
Type: Music/Arts - Performance
Network: Global
Date: Monday, April 27, 2009
Time: 7:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: University Bookstore, Seattle
Street: 4326 University Way NE
City/Town: Seattle, WA

Now I'm going to go and read "Columbine."

I have to remember about Kindle...thanks montana for letting us know it's available.

And the sleep deprived Dave...we got him in here for a quick peek. Thanks to the great investigative reporting of Denese, she's provided the dates and times. Thanks Denese!

Dave: Tell us about the journals when you get a chance.

BBE: You get the other award for the day for investigative reporting. The site you listed is quite fascinating. Thank you. I did edit the post and took the word "actual" out as it was previously describing the journal Dave was holding.
I have to tell you I have a real resistance to graphic murder reanacted as art form; it was with reluctance that I finally got around to reading "In Cold Blood" for example. I prefer much lighter fare. But if events like this do in fact become "unspeakable" then don't we just enter into some sort of collective denial about it which ends up being even more unfair to the victims? Does the book glorify the killers? I don't think so. Their lives were a waste beyond measure, and I believe it comes through. And many people do want to know what the hell happened. Oh sure, there will always be the prurient types, although I rather suspect most of them wouldn't bother to take the time to read a tome like this.
Thank you, Mary! Nice preview for our visit to UCLA on April 25 to see Dave there. And I like your take on what a brave and exhausting (both physically and emotionally) process this project must have been for him. Can’t imagine. And as for my 2 cents, I think his book deserves every accolade it’s getting. It’s stunning.
Looks like Denver and Boulder are the only stops that aren't within 5 miles of an ocean....but neat post Mary about a great guy and his work (and you're hot in the pic!)
I can't even bring myself to watch movies like Schindler's List more than once. I can't imagine researching something like Columbine for 10 years. Come to think of it, I can't even believe it's been 10 years. It was one of those events that froze time somehow, and none of us were the same. Twice a year now I have to go through a lock down drill with my students, have them lock the door, shut off the lights, and wait against a wall (perhaps to be shot). Crazy world.
I'm envious that you got to see the Star up close. I'm hoping he'll come to Chicago
Someone's listening! The tour dates were TBD on Dave's website just this AM and now they're there.

that's the good news. The bad news is that the "San Francisco" signing is in Mountain View (which is well south of SF and me) so that's a no go. I can't believe there's no signing right in SF - can't Joan do something about this?? ;)
Damn, girl, you look good. I know, I know, not the point, but still. Yeah, I can't wait for Dave to come to Cleveland. Not sure when yet.
Mary, Dave - kudos to you both. Dave for your hard work and deserved acclaim, Mary for a gret piece of OS original reporting.

Silkstone - Sandra and I are going to Dave's Mountain View signing from here in the City; want a ride with us?
The book was great, and very cool pictures of you both.
Oh, and in response to jane ... you know, I get what you're saying, but the book isn't some voyeuristic, gossipy look at the tragedy. Instead, it's an important historical work, documenting not just what happened but what happened with the media, what happened with the reactions of America to the tragic events. It's a work on a culture as much as it is about the events.
More great comments in support of Dave and his important book.

reinvented: I thank you especially for making such a thoughtful comment. This speaks volumes from one who knows firsthand the grief and horrible of this terrible incident. And again, my total respect for you that you are one of the rare people that is able to take their grief and use it for good.

Please check out reinvented's blog at:

oderoulette: You bring up an excellent point about another aspect of Dave's book and it's the media. He told us that because of the media, 4 myths about Columbine emerged within 4 hours of the shootings.
Hi, Mary! Great reporting. BTW you two are stylin'. Love your casual/sexy/colorful look! I can't believe I just missed Dave's reading at my neighborhood B&N in NYC (I knew my freelancing gig was kind of eating into my brain but that's just lame). I will be picking up the book today, though (at said B&N). Ten years is an unimaginable slog, but I can't overemphasize how important I believe this kind of in-depth, researched, mulled, lived-in writing is in the days of bytes, tweets, snark and emoticons. Kudos to Dave and I hope he is rewarded with huge readership and discourse.
Google Columbine Family Request
Marco, so good to see you again and thanks for your kind comment. As an aside, thanks for your comment on my outfit that day...who knew I was combining sexy and casual! I feel so chic. Too bad you missed that book signing. I'm reading the book...Dave is a fantastic writer and while the book reads like a novel, the attention to details is obvious.

Dave is going to be on Oprah this Monday, April 20th.

Columbine Family: Thanks for the link. It'd be nice to hear more from you other than a link referral.