How can you possibly look at that class photo of Eric taken on March 4, 1999, look into those eyes of his, that stare he is giving to the camera and say he is NOT a psychopath. He was clearly, by all accounts, a clinical textbook psychopath. Even his own parents have come to that conclusion. You are in utter denial. It's best NOT to over-analyze him or his motives. He doesn't deserve that. His victims are the ones who deserve attention not him.
Do you really mean to tell me that this one picture, frozen in time, is enough to convince some people that Eric was a big mean old psychopath? Wow. That just goes to show that if you put a little effort into looking the evil part, the rest of the world’s going to do your work for you and call you that for the rest of your days. Of course that picture is Eric at his most Reb-like, purposefully vicious and completely hellbent on making that picture a “fuck you, this is me being a neon warning sign you won’t see until it’s too late”-moment. Dylan, right next to him, is giving a pretty similar look into the camera. Funny how Dylan’s excluded from the psychopath narrative, despite them both looking like they could eat us alive. I guess that the whole “look into his eyes and tell me he’s not a psychopath”-thing only really counts when it comes to Eric, huh. Double standard much?
I also want to say that ‘clinical textbook psychopath’ is a more problematic descriptor than the standard account on Eric has any right to be. Psychopathy is still not an officially accepted clinical diagnosis, after all, and both the ICD-10 and the DSM-V do not recognise it as a standalone disorder. Psychopathy is recognised in the latter as a symptom of Antisocial Personality Disorder, but that inclusion took almost fifty years of research and debate about its validity. ASPD and DPD (dissocial personality disorder) are currently the clinically accepted measures that come closest to what we call 'psychopath’ in layman’s terms. I would strongly advise you to read up on the many criticisms on psychopathy, so that you will come to understand why this is still subject to debate and not yet recognised as an official disorder by the standard works in the psychiatric world today. Arguments countering psychopathy as a disorder include doubts about the neurological concepts of psychopathy, arguments that it could have a sociological stigmatisation effect, concern about its potential incompatibility with evolutionary models of empathy, and so on and so forth. It’s well worth your time to take a look at these critiques, because nothing about this potential diagnosis is currently 'textbook’ due to its still-evolving state.
While it is true that his parents gave off the impression of accepting the conclusion of psychopathy, it is also important to note that we only really know of two moments in which they spoke of Eric after the massacre. One of them is the talk with the Mauser family, in which they did seem to accept the standard view of their son, and another is an account in which Wayne Harris stated that he had two sons and that one of them died at Columbine. To me, that’s not enough to go on to definitively say that Eric’s parents have come to that conclusion you say they arrived at. It’s possible that they did accept it, of course, and it’s even more possible that they decided to not challenge the official narrative even if they personally have their doubts about it. When all the world tells you that your child was a certain way and leaves no room for doubt about that, it can really screw with your perceptions of who your child was and mess with the memories you have of time spent with your child. The Harris family has lived with people telling them their youngest son was a psychopath for close to eighteen years now. That’s as long as Eric was alive. That’s a long time in which to hold on to another view of him that may not fit the psychopath-narrative. It’s entirely possible that, in the privacy of their own home or even in the quiet space of their own mind, they might yet feel differently about their son than we currently think they do.
It’s not just about what Eric deserves. It’s not that simple. It never is. I would argue that we don’t analyse Eric’s personality or his motives for Eric’s benefit to begin with, as Eric is dead and gone and nothing we uncover right now has the power to help him. The reason why we want to get to know his motives is because there are other people out there with similar motives. The reason why we should take a very close look at his personality is because there are other people out there who recognise themselves in him and feel a kinship with him. We owe it to these people to uncover the truth about Eric and analyse what was going on with him, because that is the only way in which we will be able to provide these people with the help and support that they need. These people deserve our open minds and hearts. The last thing that they need is for us to conclude that Eric was a psychopath who couldn’t be saved by anybody. What kind of message do you think that sends? What do you think it tells those kids who feel the way Eric felt, who see themselves in him, who want to follow in Eric’s footsteps someday? What do you think happens to our hopes of helping these people when you say that Eric was less than human or not even human, as Dave Cullen did?
I personally chose to come to different conclusions about Eric over the past five years. And, let me tell you: that was not very hard to do. It’s not difficult to create a narrative for Eric that has a strong background in psychology and child development without straying into the psychopath-territory in the process. It’s possible to speak about Eric in the most basic, human terms you can conceive of and still have that make perfect logical sense without detracting in any way from the horrible things he did. The Eric I saw when I began my research was very angry, very hateful, and very aggressive. The Eric I see today is still all of those things. Were I to be in actual denial, I would not recognise the validity and presence of these things in him as much as I do. The only thing that has changed is how I choose to look at them. Are they all that Eric was, as the official narrative goes, or are they the symptoms of something far more complicated?
In my opinion, following the official narrative is what Eric would want us to do. He’d love it. He’d push for us to believe it every step of the way. Hell, I could even argue that he already played it up as much as he could while he was still alive. Do you really want to give Eric Harris the satisfaction of having his story be told exactly the way he wanted it to be? I personally feel he doesn’t deserve that courtesy. I think he deserves to have his narrative blown wide open, so we all get to see the insecurities, the self-loathing, the doubts, the loss, the fear, the anxiety, the rage, the isolation, the loneliness, the child behind those staring hateful eyes. He’d hate that. He never wanted us to see that and worked so very hard to avoid that we would be able to contemplate it as the truth about who he was.
It’s not overanalysing when it brings you closer to what’s true and helps other people feel heard in the process.