It happened a-fucking-gain. Another school shooting in my hometown, and I just cannot deal with this.
I grew up around Columbine. I’m familiar with several of the names associated to their hit list, and I wrote my senior thesis about Columbine. And I never fail to get a bit of PTSD whenever one of these things happens again, regardless of where it happens. And now it happened right in our backyard. Again.
My thesis was titled “Not Everyone Shops At The GAP” and it was about how kids that felt disaffected by the modern culture…. fuck I just can’t write this. It was 80 pages of sociology wrapped around personal anecdotes, is what it was.
The point of it was, at some level I identified with Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris. I was never inclined to violence; rather, I was just sad. But on some level, I could look at their experience and see myself. And I felt guilty. And now every time I see another one of these senseless fucking mass shootings, I experience all of the same guilt, all over again. Like, how do you reconcile with being able to recognize yourself- even just a tiny portion- in the heart and mind of a mass murderer? At some level you must be a monster, right?
I wasn’t bullied in high school, but I never felt included. Once I got hit in the head with a rock, and I’m still not sure if the guy who threw it, who I thought was at least friendly towards me, meant it or was aiming towards the trashcan beyond me, like he said. But I spent every second of every day feeling like a lesser member of the school community. All I wanted was to feel included, and to a certain extent I probably was, but I never felt like it. I always felt like an isolated individual surrounded by a group who all seemed to know the same inside joke. But I didn’t get that joke. That narrative is almost certainly bullshit, but it really doesn’t matter, does it? Because that’s how I felt at the time. Hell, to this day I feel the most lonely when I’m in a group of people.
And this new shooting doesn’t doesn’t seem to be about that. It seems like one kid pissed off at one teacher. But it still all brings me back to Columbine. And it certainly doesn’t change the fact that this is the new normal. That a couple of guys who hate their classmates or one guy who hates a teacher or another guy who… well who knows why Adam Lanza did what he did- but they all choose to walk into a crowd and start shooting people.
I don’t understand guns, and I don’t want to understand guns. I’ve never had the desire to buy one or shoot one or carry one. I’ve never wanted to hunt, and I’ve never felt the need to possess a gun for protection. So I literally cannot comprehend the gun discussion that takes place every day. Do you hunt and want a rifle? Fine. Do you feel the need to own a gun for your family’s protection? Um, OK I guess. Beyond that, I can’t comprehend a need for a gun.
And yet every instance of mass gun violence seems to mean that more people need guns. A good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. Random guns lying around cause deaths to children every fucking day. But we won’t curb the guns. Nothing curbs the guns
And we won’t do anything to curb the kid in class that thinks the appropriate answer to his problems is to use a gun to kill someone. Every time this happens, I feel heartbroken watching students marching out, waiting to be frisked; and I feel guilty, because I remember Columbine; and I feel ashamed, because I’m an American in a country that refuses to address the problem that is so obviously staring us in the face.