In an ugly irony, the story of Columbine is that the two attackers took their high school life way, way too seriously.
That's what I'm getting from reading reporter Jeff Kass' very detailed account of the Columbine shootings in his book "Columbine: A true crime story," published in 2009, a full decade after the awful event.
The boys who carried it out could not see beyond high school. I believe that might be the key to their deadly outburst.
They chafed under their over-emphasis on the student pecking order and went berserk over that. The saddest part of this is these boys were a month away from graduating and then understanding that high school ... really?
That's so insignificant compared with college life, adult life.
Where you sat during lunch, what the "jocks" thought -this stuff is immaterial in the grand scheme. No one cares.
Only these kids didn't know. I realize there's more to it. I read the book. But I'm telling you, this was my takeaway.
These boys made way too much of their high school predicament. They were adolescents, of course, and subject to such end of the world analysis. The evil brew that led to Columbine had to be perfectly mixed for such a disaster of misunderstanding that led to such outlandish violence.
Virginia Tech, Aurora and Newtown took it to a whole new level and should show clearly why efforts to limit access to the more efficient killing weapons make sense.
But what makes the most sense is focusing on mental health, though that, too, is far from the panacea. The boys lost all perspective, for whatever reason. I see they fooled all of the adults in their lives, even a psychiatrist treating one of them.
But it's hard, from my grown-up vantage, of course, to understand how someone, anyone, could not have passed along the simple insight that look, high school can suck, but it ends early in your life and the social orders then mean very little in the grand scheme.
Those jocks you worship and loathe, well, their social position can reverse in the real world, the popular kids become not so much, the smart kids not all that either.
High school pecking orders are inconsequential, utterly so.
Look, if you are a lonely, sensitive and smart boy struggling with this, hold off on the BS. Painful as this time is, it will pass. You don't need to hurt someone to get back at them.
Living well later, when it actually counts, is the best revenge.
Give that a shot.
Editor and Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-748-2920.