READ EXCERPT: 'Columbine'

"Look to your left," he told them. "Look to your right." He instructed them to study the smiling faces and then close their eyes and imagine one of them gone. He told them to repeat after him: "I am a valued member of Columbine High School. And I'm not in this alone." That's when he told them he loved them, as he always did.

"Open your eyes," he said. "I want to see each and every one of your bright, smiling faces again Monday morning."

He paused. "When you're thinking about doing something that could get you in trouble, remember, I care about you," he said. "I love you, but remember, I want us all together. We are one large family, we are—"

He left the phrase dangling. That was the students' signal. They leapt to their feet and yelled: "COL--um-BINE!"

Ivory Moore, a dynamo of a teacher and a crowd rouser, ran out and yelled, "We are ..." "COL--um-BINE!"

It was louder now, and their fists were pumping in the air.

"We are ..."

"COL--um-BINE!"

"We are..."

"COL--um-BINE!"

Louder, faster, harder, faster -- he whipped them into a frenzy. Then he let them go. They spilled into the hallways to wrap up one last day of classes. Just a few hours until the big weekend.

All two thousand students would return safely on Monday morning, after the prom. But the following afternoon, Tuesday, April 20, 1999, twenty-four of Mr. D's kids and faculty members would be loaded into ambulances and rushed to hospitals. Thirteen bodies would remain in the building and two more on the grounds. It would be the worst school shooting in American history -- a characterization that would have appalled the boys just then finalizing their plans.

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