The letters that Sue and Tom Klebold wrote to the families of those who had been murdered have been mentioned and quoted in several sources.
The letter to the Bernalls (from Misty Bernall’s book She Said Yes, p. 148-149, and repeated in Dave Cullen’s Columbine, p. 254-255):
Dear Bernall family,
It is with great difficulty and humility that we write to express our profound sorrow over the loss of your beautiful daughter, Cassie. She brought joy and love to the world,and she was taken in a moment of madness. We wish we had had the opportunity to know her and be uplifted by her loving spirit.
We will never understand why this tragedy happened, or what we might have done to prevent it. We apologize for the role our son had in your Cassie’s death. We never saw anger or hatred in Dylan until the last moments of his life when we watched in helpless horror with the rest of the world. The reality that our son shared in the responsibility for this tragedy is still incredibly difficult for us to comprehend.
May God comfort you and your loved ones. May He bring peace and understanding to all of our wounded hearts.
Sue and Tom Klebold
From the letter to Brian Rohrbough (from Jeff Kass’s Columbine, p. 225):
“Our hearts are breaking for you over the loss you’ve experienced,” the Klebolds wrote to Brian Rohrbough, whose son Dan was killed. “Dan was so young, yet so full of selfless courage. He’ll never have the chance to do any of the things he wanted to do because he was taken from you in a moment of madness. We’ll never understand why this tragedy happened, or what we might have done to prevent it. We apologize for the role our son had in your son’s death. We did not see anger or hatred in Dylan until the last moments of his life when we watched in helpless horror with the rest of the world.”
From the letter to the Shoels family (also from Jeff Kass’s Columbine, p. 278):
But now all the Shoels had to depend on were small accounts, like the slightly personalized victim letter they received from the Klebolds. “We read that Isaiah brought so much joy to those who knew him,” according to the three paragraphs that appear handwritten by a female and signed by Tom and Sue. “He was a young man with self-respect, courage and love who was taken from you in a moment of madness.” But they said they still didn’t know why their son killed Isaiah.
The letter sent to the Mauser family (from Tom Mauser’s book, Walking in Daniel’s Shoes p. 305-306):
Within a few weeks of the massacre Linda and I, and apparently all the other Columbine parents, received a sympathy card from the parents of Dylan Klebold, who wrote, “It is with indescribable sorrow and humility that we write to wish you comfort.” The handwritten card asked that God comfort us and our loved ones. They were comforting words, yet we weren’t quite sure how to react to them. It was so soon after the massacre, too early for us to react rationally.
At the time the card seemed to offer little acceptance of responsibility for what had happened, saying Daniel was taken “in a moment of madness” and that they would “never understand why this tragedy happened, or what we might have done to prevent it.” We felt as if the words didn’t come from the heart, but rather were suggested by an attorney. We were dissatisfied with what we received and chose not to respond to it. The card was tossed onto a pile of Columbine-related papers and forgotten.
While uncovering some Columbine papers recently I discovered that card from the Klebolds. I hadn’t seen it for years. I must admit that now, after I’ve read it again, I’m not quite as cynical about it as I was in 1999. Back then I cringed at the statement, “we never saw anger or hatred in Dylan until the last moments of his life,” because I felt the Klebolds were in denial and refused to accept responsibility. But in reading it again, I realized they weren’t quite as unresponsive as I had originally thought. “We apologize for the role our son played in your son’s death.” Their words didn’t seem as hurtful, or contrived or unrepentant as they did in 1999.
In the documentary 13 Families, Lauren Townsend’s stepfather, Bruce Beck, says much the same thing about his opinion of the Klebolds’ letter (from 1:13:00 - 1:13:45).
You know, Klebold’s parents sent us a card that basically had been written by their lawyer—you know, no compassion in it—basically, you know, saying they’re quote-unquote “sorry,” but “sorry” really didn’t come through in the words. The Harrises—we sat across the table from them, and not once did they say “We’re sorry that you lost your daughter,” you know. They didn’t say it because they know they own some responsibility in this. They know they own some responsibility in it, and it’s one of those things that, you know, will drive me crazy for the rest of my life.
The letter to the Curnows (from the “Afterword” to the paperback edition of Dave Cullen’s Columbine, p. 365, which is not in the e-book, by the way):
Sue Klebold wrote letters to the Thirteen the first spring, but Bob did not receive his. It went to his ex-wife. He heard about the letter and asked for a copy. She provided one. Then he asked for the envelope. He received a copy of the backside. At first it ticked him off, but then he noticed something. Sue had written her home address on the flap. He smiled. He sent a letter back. He sent another through the Harris attorney. For years, he got no response. That wasn’t so important. He knew he had been heard. Meetings came, in time…[he meets with both families and keeps in touch with the Klebolds].
The Harris family also sent letters to families of the victims, but they (foolishly, as it turned out) trusted them to the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office where they basically sat on them instead of delivering them to their intended recipients!
One letter, to injured victim Mark Taylor, read, “Please accept our heartfelt wishes for a full and speedy recovery from your injuries. There are no words to express the tragic events of that day. We would have given our lives to prevent them.
“May you have the strength and the support to continue your healing process.”
It was signed, “Sincerely, Wayne, Kathy and Kevin Harris.”
Jeff Kass, Columbine, p. 244.