When Sue Klebold began researching a book about her struggle to comprehend her son’s rampage at Columbine High School, she turned to a researcher who has been grappling with the shooting for nearly as long as she has, reports the Washington Post.
Peter Langman of Allentown, Pa., a 56-year-old psychologist in private practice, has studied school shootings for more than a decade, becoming one of the premier experts on the phenomenon. He has spent so much time reading the journals of Dylan Klebold and his rampage partner Eric Harris — they killed 13 people and wounded dozens more on April 20, 1999 — that he sometimes dreams about them.
Langman had heard Klebold was writing a book. Still, it astonished him when she reached out to him. “The mother who raised her son from birth and saw him every day was seeking insight from someone who had never met him before,” he said. The clues to Columbine and many other school shootings are in his office closet. In thick binders stacked one atop another, Langman stores police reports, court transcripts and the twisted writings of hundreds of school shooters. Langman has posted more than 57,000 pages of documents on his website, analyzing the material in two books, scholarly papers and many case histories. Langman believes educators, parents and even students should be taught to look for early warning signs, such as oblique hints in school assignments, during hallway chatter and on social media. Too often, parents find themselves putting the puzzle together after the bloodshed.