so you think eric really didnt care about the marine corps at all? besides him applying to get his parents off his back, what makes you say that?
What I initially said in this post was:
I also think that he applied to the Marines primarily to get his parents off his back about his future, but never treated it as an option for himself. (Or, I think he didn’t want to entertain it as an option because then he might have second thoughts about NBK.)
I never really said that I believe he didn’t care about the Marine Corps at all, but rather that I believe that he didn’t allow himself to care about it. I think that a happy-healthy-sane Eric would’ve cared a whole lot about it and that he would’ve put in every kind of effort to ensure that he was recruited for it. I think that it was one of the careers that stood out to him as a potential for his own future and I see no reason to doubt his interest in it based on everything we know about him.
However, I also think that he was not in a position to really allow himself to consider it an option. His “hey, goddamnit, I would’ve been a fucking great Marine”-mention in his journal is something that I believe stemmed straight from an argument he’d had with his dad if the surrounding entry is anything to go by. In the entry prior to that one, in which he talks about the gun acquisitions but also mentions the lead-up to the argument from the following entry, he voices something that’s really rather interesting:
now you all will be on my ass even more than before about being on track. I’ll get around it though, If have to cheat and lie to everyone then thats fine. THIS is what I am motivated for, THIS is my goal. THIS is what I want to do with my life!
This implicates two things:
1. People had been on his ass about being on-track prior to November 1998. He knows that the event he’s talking about here (him possessing a flask of alcohol) is likely to increase that pressure on him even more. Eric’s solution is essentially to lie his way around it and save his own ass enough by pretending to the outside world that he’s right on schedule and doing things in accordance with the expectations placed on him. Applying to the Marines would’ve been a quick and easy way to do just that.
2. He mentions the rampage in this same entry, which would explain the “this is my goal!”-section of this passage rather well. Eric was so preoccupied with pulling shit together to get the massacre to happen that he didn’t spend a whole lot of time pursuing another career option. He had already created goals of his own, goals that he couldn’t share with anyone but Dylan, and was working really hard to achieve those. The gun acquisition, the bomb prep, and all of that jazz was on Eric’s shoulders a whole lot more than it seems to have been on Dylan’s. Eric focused in on NBK so much that he didn’t leave himself any space for any other option. Understandably so: not giving himself another option meant that he wouldn’t get sidetracked in a way that could make him lose his momentum for NBK.
I think Eric was terrified of there actually being another option for him other than killing and dying. This is further supported by mentions such as the one from Sue Klebold’s book, in which Eric’s mom admits in February 1999 that they really don’t know for sure what Eric’s plans post-high school are. He was barely 3 months shy of his high school graduation and you’re telling me you’re still not sure what your son’s plans for his future are? From what I understand about US education, which is markedly different from the Dutch, it’s that college applications are a long and arduous process that take months prior to graduation to work on. That would implicate that Eric was definitely not pursuing that option, though I believe a fair few people were operating under the impression he’d be attending community college instead (which seems to have a slightly easier application process). The Marines, again, would’ve been a perfect solution.
It’s all a whole lot of conjecture that relies on pulling a lot of evidence together and attempting to tie a neat little bow around it, but I firmly believe that Eric had no future plans outside of NBK because he didn’t allow himself to have them and that the Marine Corps application was something that fit his character while having the added bonus of it lifting some of the hoop-jumping pressure off his back. I think that Eric would’ve still applied to the Marines in any event, even if he hadn’t planned out NBK, because it’s a career choice that he was interested in and might’ve excelled at. There’s no doubt in my head that his interest in it was genuine, but I am also sidenoting at the same time that it was the most convenient and easy way to convince people like his parents that he was pursuing a future beyond high school.