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Parents of Columbine’s Klebold voice sorrow, apology, prayer to Berna

LITTLETON, Colo. (BP)–The parents of Columbine students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold have been silent since the April 20 attack that claimed 15 lives, including their own. Within weeks of the tragedy, a victim’s parents filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against them.
But a new book, “She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall,” provides a glimpse into the feelings of Klebold’s parents. Cassie’s mother, Misty, included a letter from Sue and Tom Klebold in her book, released Sept. 10 by Plough Publishing.
Addressed to the family, it opens with an expression of profound sorrow. The parents noted how Cassie brought joy and love to the world, yet was taken in a moment of madness. They wished they had had the opportunity to know her and be uplifted by her spirit, the Klebolds wrote.
“We will never understand why this tragedy happened, or what we might have done to prevent it,” they wrote. “We apologize for the role our son had in your Cassie’s death. We never saw anger or hatred in Dylan until the last moments of his life when we watched in helpless horror with the rest of the world.
“The reality that our son shared in the responsibility for this tragedy is still incredibly difficult for us to comprehend. May God comfort you and your loved ones. May He bring peace and understanding to all of our wounded hearts.”
Though some may be tempted to dismiss the letter, they can’t, Misty Bernall writes, noting it must have taken great courage to write and send it.
“And even if we could never compare the weight of our separate griefs, we have at least one comfort: the knowledge that our daughter died nobly,” Bernall writes. “What balm do they have?”
Reflecting on Cassie’s death, her mother notes they learned from raising her that no adolescent, however rebellious, is doomed by fate. With warmth, self-sacrifice, honesty and the love that ultimately comes from God, every child can be guided and saved, she writes.
However, she also confesses to struggling with certain questions. She wonders why adults argue about gun control and television violence, or offer counselors and conflict resolution, when young people are crying out for relationships and friends. When everyone else wants to place blame or construct defense, teens are talking about a change of heart, she writes.
And, she is certain that parents must not forget the vital role of personal efforts to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
“To me, at least, it comes down to acting generously and spontaneously, even when caution holds me back,” Bernall writes. “It means choosing to extend a hand rather than recoiling judgmentally; and following an impulse, even when … it might draw me out of my ‘comfort zone’ and cost me something.
“Finally, it means daring to sacrifice all for Love’s sake — not as a hero or a martyr, necessarily — but consistently and with conviction, in the small, everyday things that make up a life.”
Priced at $17, the book is available at bookstores nationwide. A 25-minute video about Cassie’s life, which costs $20, is available by calling 1-800-521-8011.

    About the Author

  • Ken Walker