I never knew them, of course, but they are real to me. I can see their faces, Eric was good looking, a perfect shaped face. I was drawn as a teenager to boys with thin faces, when you could see the bones in their faces. Sort of like, um, Sam Shepherd, or Brad Pitt when he was skinny. I think Eric’s eyes were blue, intelligence shining out. He looks confident and happy, smiling.

Dylan, less so. He’s got that quintessential awkward adolescent look about him, the zits, the loopy smile, the big nose, messy hair.

They are monsters to most of the world, but not to me. I see them as fat toddlers, giggling belly laughs with their moms, learning to speak, probably saying “da-da” first. I see them shy eight year olds. Exquisitely vulnerable 12 year olds, being rejected and perhaps targeted for that special treatment some of us experience when the in crowd decides to alienate us.

How many kids did they kill at Columbine that day — I can’t remember, was it 16, 14? Whenever I hear the number of the dead, I always add two, because Dylan and Eric died that day, as well.

I’ve heard their parents vilified. I’ve criticized them myself. How could they not know, not have an inkling their sons were planning mass murder?

And yet, my heart aches for those boys. My heart aches for their parents. If I had to choose (a truly awful scenario, that choice) between being the parents of the murderers and the parents of the victims, I would choose to be the righteous parents of the victim. Because I’ve lost two children myself, I can imagine what the parents of the victims feel. But I can’t begin to imagine how the Klebolds and the Harrises feel. I wonder — I hope — they have some loyal friends.

God will work out the fine print in this agonizing situation. For me, I suspend judgement.

Now that guy, that adult, who molested those girls before he killed one of them, I hope there is a special place in hell for him.

There is a difference, in my mind, between the men who have invaded schools and the children who have killed children.

To that end, I recommend the book, We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver.

It’s chilling. It’s hard to read, but it’s a worthy book, a work of fiction written from the murderers’ mother’s point of view.