Magazine article The Christian Century

Burying a Killer

Magazine article The Christian Century

Burying a Killer

Article excerpt

TOM AND SUE Klebold "have got to be the loneliest people on the planet," remarked Don Marxhausen, the minister in Littleton, Colorado, who officiated at their youngest son's funeral April 27. "They thought they had been good parents," Marxhausen added. "Tom Klebold told me he thought he had a good finished product." Their son, Dylan Klebold, 17, would have graduated from Columbine High School this spring and was planning to attend the University of Arizona in the fall.

Instead, on April 20, he and friend Eric Harris, 18, killed 12 students and one teacher and injured almost two dozen classmates in the worst school shooting in U.S. history. Harris and Klebold then killed themselves. The Klebolds "are like people who have been run over by a truck, and then the truck backed up over them," Marxhausen said. "They lost their son, but their son was also a killer." Marxhausen, pastor of Littleton's St. Philip Lutheran Church, was pastor to the family for about eight months five or six years ago, he said. After the shootings, Marxhausen made it known "through the grapevine" that he would aid the family if they wished. Word came back that they were interested, and he officiated at the private service.

Fifteen people attended, including Tom and Sue Klebold; their older son, Byron; some relatives and friends; and Judy Marxhausen, Don's wife. Marxhausen also asked another Lutheran minister and his wife and a police officer to come. With so few people in attendance and such "awkwardness and tension" hanging in the air, Marxhausen suggested that everyone "use some time just to talk about Dylan." "There was an outpouring of love from one of the couples who said their son used to play with Dylan when the boys were little," the minister said.

While friends of Dylan Klebold and Harris said the two wore swastikas, shouted "Heil Hitler!" during bowling class and chose the anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birthday for their rampage, Tom Klebold "said he didn't know where the Nazi stuff or the violence came from," according to Marxhausen. The family kept only a BB gun in the house and used it just to scare away woodpeckers, Marxhausen said.

Though Sue Klebold was raised as a Jew, the family observed religious rituals of both Judaism and Christianity. "They did Christmas and they did Passover seders," said Marxhausen. In his eulogy for Dylan, the pastor used scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments. From the Old Testament he recalled the story of King David, whose son, Absalom, was killed trying to take over his father's kingdom. …

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