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The Columbine Massacre for Total Idiots

By Devora

"Every time someone slammed them against a locker or threw a bottle at them, they would go back to Eric and Dylan's house and plan a little more."

--Littleton, Colo., teenager

http://members.tripod.com/tragic_heroes

Ever since the tragedy at Columbine, I have been reading everything I could get my hands on about it. In a saturated media market, that means I have read a HELL of a lot of newspaper and magazine articles, and watched countless dozen hours of televised crocodile tears and agonized hand wringing on the part of hired ninnies.

I have heard every stupid-ass explanation you can think of, and quite a few you would never imagine. All the usual suspects were trotted out, horsewhipped, and put back in their stables for the next tragedy.

One perpetual favorite target was Marilyn Manson. Granted, when you wear fake plastic breasts and work as hard as he has to be scandalous, you cannot claim complete innocence when scandal follows you. It takes work to be as outrageous as he is. I hate to break it to the (obviously extremely naïve) members of the press, but Marilyn Manson is a joke. Let me let you in on the big secret.(stage whisper) HE'S F**KING WITH YOUR HEAD.

Marilyn Manson is your baby, boys. You created him. Correction- he created himself intentionally to fit into your niche of "Parent's Worst Nightmare." Hey, we haven't had a good scandalous satanic shock-rocker for a while (Ozzy Osborne?) We had to settle for Judas Priest being dragged into court and accused of inciting teen suicide, and as much as I like their music, they just ain't scary. Gangsta Rap was terrifying, but not in the same way. Gangsta Rap was scaring parents into locking their doors when they drove through bad neighborhoods, but for the most part, their children were not morphing into inner-city, drug-selling African American teenagers. They just dress like them.

MM was different. MM was created for the sole purpose of bugging your parents. The band is a [expletive deleted] Chinese menu of offensive and disturbing images (Take Satanism from column A, Cross-dressing from column B, and naming yourself after a serial killer from column C.) Voila - Lunch. Or, in this case, rock-n-roll. In a way, I feel sorry for Marilyn Manson. Forty years ago, all you had to do to be shocking to middle-class America was gyrate your hips on national television. Now you have to have ribs removed so you can fellate yourself on stage. From pelvic wiggle to pelvic surgery - this is what's wrong with the America of today!

But the media never got the joke. Then again, the columbine incident (remember that? The subject of this page?) points out the alarming fact that members of the media apparently believe everything that certain people tell them. (Certain People = Anyone they happen to be talking to at the time.) I wish I had known about this salient fact earlier in my life. It would have opened up vast new vistas of employment opportunities. I could have been a talking head! I can sound like I know what I am talking about with the best of them, and I can expound extemporaneously on any topic for hours at a time. What else do I need to have my own news discussion show on cable?

But, I digress.

Another favorite suspect in this latest atrocity was the Internet. Over and over again I heard that one of the boys had a web site (the sure sign of a deranged mind). This web site supposedly had a drawing of a devil like figure and a man shooting an Uzi at a crowd of people. This web site was thoroughly dissected by child psychologists hired by the networks - another possible career path overlooked in my naïve youth. ("Tonight on the 6 P.M. News - Dr. Joe Headshrink will talk about the 5 warning signs every parent should watch for to predict if Johnny or Janie will walk into the scout meeting and mow down the whole troop with a tek-9."

The Internet is even being directly linked to the choice of weapons used by the protagonists in this fairy tale. Next thing you know, the WWW will be indited as an accessory before the fact. According to some completely unverified accounts, Dylan and Eric used the Internet to get information on how to build the bombs. Some people have even speculated that they accessed that den of pure evil, the Anarchist Cookbook. EEEEEEE. Wrong answer. Thanks for playing. The only thing that they, or anyone else, could have gotten out of recipes from that infamous culinary lexicon is flash burns and serious structural damage to their house. I have it on good authority from chemist friends of mine that none of the recipes for explosives will produce a usable product. The best possible result is a big smelly mess that you have to explain to Mom and Dad. The worst possible result is a compound so unstable that a slight change in temperature will cause it to explode, blowing up not only your arm, but the basement as well. Just imagine how many years you would be grounded for THAT. What no one has been mentioning is that the killers also used low-tech weapons such as cooking fuel and nails. But there is no national outcry for parents to carefully monitor their children's exposure to hardware stores.

And then there is the old favorite, taken out of its cage, given a bath, paraded around, and then dropped back in the mud. I am talking about the perennial crowd pleaser, "The moral decay of America." [Insert religious rant here]. Honestly, I have trouble giving precise details about the rant, because I subconsciously tune them out as soon as they start. It's a Zen thing.

I must be incredibly stupid (my 150+ I.Q. apparently doesn't mean much). I can't figure out how posting a piece of paper with the 10 Commandments on it next to the Principal's Office would have prevented this tragedy (unless, of course, the piece of paper was bulletproof). I don't see how prayers at the football games would have stopped Dylan and Eric from going on a shooting spree. They didn't seem to be the type who went to school-sponsored extracurricular events, anyway. Though if others in their school had read and taken to heart Jesus' instructions to let he who is without sin cast the first stone, perhaps Dylan and Eric would not have been harassed and persecuted to the breaking point. But somehow I don't think that is what the religious nuts that talk about the Moral Decay had in mind. And I am obviously a tool of the Devil.

And these are the most rational of the reasons people have floated as motivating factors of our two young natural born killers. There were other reasons cited that were just plain goofy. The absolutely ludicrous thing is that someone believed that these factors actually played a role. They ran these stupid things up a flagpole like a pair of boxer shorts, and someone actually saluted!

Stupid-ass reason #1 - The Goths (a nationwide cult) recruited these boys through the Internet into the Trenchcoat Mafia (recruited them into a clique IN THEIR OWN SCHOOL) and brainwashed them into doing the dastardly deed.

Render unto me an f**king break, already. Goths and Marilyn Manson wannabe's may be guilty of some serious fashion crimes (I can see CourtTV gearing up for that trial - Marilyn Manson Vs. The State. Prosecuting Attorney - Isaac Mizrahi) they are about as dangerous as.as..as any other teenager. I was laughing my ass off though as I watched and listened to "Serious Journalists" (said so tongue in cheek I nearly bit my tongue in half) reading the lyrics to Marilyn Manson songs and trying to have a serious discussion about them. Their attempt to stay objective was waging trench warfare against their inclination to recoil in horror at the sight of Marilyn Manson in a garter belt. The last time these men were up on modern rock culture was in the Pleistocene era, when rock was rock, and rolling stone wasn't a magazine, it was an avalanche.

Goth is a subculture that likes to be misunderstood, so it is no surprise that many people on the outside do exactly that. (Funny how people tend to do what you set them up to do.) Goths, for the uninitiated, are a group of people from 14 to 40+ who listen to depressing music, wear black, and have elevated angst to a religion. These kids don't buy the party line that these are the best years of their lives. Sorry, grownups. These people are also some of the most articulate and intelligent of their generation. Most Goths get into the culture because they feel like outsiders in their schools, their homes, and their lives. They think too much, they feel too much, and they don't fit in well in their high school where thinking will get you expelled and alcoholism and date rape are varsity sports.

Stupid-ass Reason #2 - the war in Kosovo. Yes, some notable individuals actually said that the bombing of Kosovo was the cause of these two students bringing automatic weapons and pipe bombs to school in Colorado. This particularly daffy leap of logic (it sounds more like logic was thrown off the building on this one) came from Gerry Spence, famous criminal defense attorney. Gerry Spence is also the man whose daily uniform includes a fringed tan suede jacket. Gerry - a word of fashion advice - if you don't hunt buffalo and live in a teepee, STOP WEARING THAT [expletive deleted] JACKET!! Mr. Spence's reasoning behind this claim? On Larry King live, he claimed, "Violence is the way we solve problems in this country." Can anyone in the studio audience please explain to me how that makes the carpet-bombing of a small European country the cause of a massacre in a Colorado high school? (Looks around assembled crowd, sees lots of blank stares.) It's nice to know I'm not the only one who is confused. Let's just move on to the next one, shall we?

Stupid-ass reason #3 - It was the 110th birthday of Adolf Hitler. Some reporter had to dig deep into the encyclopedia for that one. Is there any evidence to support it? No. Is there any evidence that the two protagonists of this tale knew that it was his birthday? No. Then again, who needs proof? In a world with no real explanations, the loopiest explanation is king.

There are real explanations why Dylan and Eric did this. They said it themselves in the letters they left behind. Let's be really honest with ourselves for a moment. Let's stop feeding ourselves lies for a little while and look at the truth. We, the American public, do not want to know the real reasons why. We want to assign blame to our favorite whipping boy, and move on. To actually pursue finding out why this tragedy happened would involve looking at things we don't want to look at, and learning things we want to ignore. Finding out the truth also involves a commitment to make the changes necessary to prevent this from happening again. That involves hard work. We, the American people, don't like hard work. We would rather find a convenient patsy, hold them accountable, pat ourselves on the back, and move on.

Here is the deep, dark truth. Here is the reason why fifteen people, fourteen of them teenagers, are dead.

WE MADE IT HAPPEN.

Dylan and Eric were not born that way.

They were made. By us.

We formed them in our schools, in our communities.

We created them.

We put the guns in their hands.

We wound them up and pointed them.

And then we had the nerve, the sheer gall, to act surprised when they went off.

 

WE are responsible for this tragedy.

Not Marilyn Manson.

Not Adolf Hitler.

Not the Internet.

US.

We, the American people, knew that our schools were a breeding ground of hatred, harassment and violence.

We made excuses for it.

We rationalized it.

We did nothing to stop it.

And then we act surprised when a student finally can't take any more and snaps.

We have no one to blame for this mass murder but ourselves.

We will be responsible for the next massacre too.

And there will be another one.

 

Devora lives in the midwest. Overeducated and unemployed, she now works as a glorified secretary at the state Deaf School while she decides which career path to send her life careening down next.


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