Pearl Jam, “Jeremy” and School Shootings

Pearl Jam fans know that this song is based on the true story of Jeremy Delle who did something awful in a Texas classroom on January 1991.

The New Yorker has this story that looks deeper into the “Jeremy” narrative and the blight of school shootings we’ve seen in the last couple of decades.

Sue Klebold’s memoir, “A Mother’s Reckoning,” begins with a public tragedy: “On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold armed themselves with guns and explosives and walked into Columbine High School.” It continues with a private one: “Dylan Klebold was my son.” Klebold’s project is to reconcile the private image of her son with the public one, to grasp how someone she so loved, someone by many accounts lovable, could have done something so horrifying. Seventeen years later, she still cannot generate an answer: there is Dyl, the boy she raised, and Time magazine’s “monster next door,” the boy she never knew.

The Dylan she never knew was, above all else, suicidal. Dwayne Fuselier, a clinical psychologist and the F.B.I. agent in charge of the Columbine investigation, told her that Harris, whom analysts posthumously judged a psychopath, “went to the school to kill people and didn’t care if he died, while Dylan wanted to die and didn’t care if others died as well.” Klebold notes that roughly half of the nearly two hundred rampage shooters active in America between 1966 and 2000 were suicidal, citing a 2013 paper by the criminal-justice specialist Adam Lankford. “Truly suicidal or not, rampage shooters have less than a one-percent chance of escaping the consequences of their actions,” she writes. “To plan an event with such a disastrously low chance of escape or survival implies what Lankford calls ‘life indifference.’ ” Sometimes, it appears, children enter the cell of their teen-age years and find this indifference stored inside, fully fledged. And in the United States, a gun is never far away.

This is fascinating stuff. It’s important that you read on.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.