Monday, April 20, 2009

A Girl And A Gun

Ten years ago, I spent the afternoon interviewing a Chinese restaurant owner in Troy. His wife served us plates and plates of wonderful food, a definite perk of the job I had given that I was poor, poor, poor and lived on the eastside of Detroit in a beautiful loft. I loved that place and for years after I left, I had dreams where I was lost on the streets, struck with a horrible deep sadness that I would never be able to find that house again. But ten years ago, I was there. I remember it because I came home to find my then-boyfriend watching the Columbine school shooting on television. Hitler's birthday always inspires the nutjobs and this was no exception. I thought about my days in high school, the depressing nature of April, and how I'd been taught to shoot a gun as part of my high school curriculum in a class called Outdoor Education. Really. I am not making this shit up. And how that class was probably not going to happen anymore.

The restaurant owner had told me about his wife's multiple miscarriages, a detail I would have to leave out of the fluff piece for the local weekly circular that paid me fifty to a hundred dollars a story. He sent me home with lots of food which I ate while I watched the Columbine footage. I thought about how strange life is and was and how when I was in high school, I could never imagine doing what I was doing now. I thought about the man and his wife who wanted a baby and couldn't have one. I thought about the killers, their motives. Contrary to popular belief, they weren't bullied kids. In fact, they admitted in their journals that they did the bullying. The bigger psychopath, Eric Harris, wore a t-shirt that said Natural Selection on the back during the day of the shooting. How many sad stories and legends would spin from this day and a sick feeling that maybe this sort of thing would start happening a lot more often now that the killers would obtain a sort of strange cult-like status even if all the other ones who picked up a gun wouldn't draw the same kind of attention. The law of diminishing returns, something I was starting to understand in those difficult and yet lovely days.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self." Jean-Luc Godard

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: Grey Gardens

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!


Anonymous said...

It's a good day to visit your local alley and go bowling for Colombine.--M. Moore

the walking man said...

Odd how the determined perception of mass murder is different depending on where one spent their life.

I wonder though if murder has become so common place, or the news of it anyway, that we have come to think of it statistically, like traffic deaths.

19 people shot in Detroit over the week-end just past.

300 murders a year in Detroit, in a good year.

Funny though...Columbine was not the first school related mass murder, that was in 1927 in Bath Michigan.

The Bath School disaster is the name given to three bombings in Bath Township, Michigan, USA, on May 18, 1927, which killed 45 people and injured 58. Most of the victims were children in the second to sixth grades (7–12 years of age) attending the Bath Consolidated School. Their deaths constitute the deadliest act of mass murder in a school in U.S. history. The perpetrator was school board member Andrew Kehoe, who was upset by a property tax that had been levied to fund the construction of the school building. He blamed the additional tax for financial hardships which led to foreclosure proceedings against his farm. These events apparently provoked Kehoe to plan his attack.--Wikipedia

And odd how Columbine has become the poster child for this when Dunblane, 1996, was statistically worse:

The Dunblane massacre was a multiple murder-suicide which occurred at Dunblane Primary School in the Scottish town of Dunblane on 13 March 1996. Sixteen children and one adult were killed. In addition, the attacker, Thomas Watt Hamilton, committed suicide. It remains the deadliest single targeted mass murder of children in the history of the United Kingdom.--Wikipedia

What I find sad beyond measure is that this information came readily to mind and that I know there are many more days of destruction gone by that I have forgotten about.

Sidney said...

I can't believe it's been a decade. I guess it's not surprising how many false stories came out of the incident, I guess. People try to read meaning into a horrible incident and I guess that clouds perception.

Anonymous said...

The following is a true story: a friend of mine owns a home in Maui, Hawaii. She was hosting friends and took a group out for ocean kayaking. The guide related the story--- he had taken a group of several teenagers out in the ocean, when a school of dolphins surrounded their kayaks, swimming with them for miles, staying very close. The guide was amazed, had never seen anything like it before and asked the kids.... "where are you from?" The answer--"We're from Columbine Highschool."

Anonymous said...

OMG ha ha!!! I remember that class!! Outdoor Education!! Seems like you handled that shotgun pretty damn well.. I think that was about the same time i tried to burn down our high school with lightbulbs filled with gasoline. Who would have known the filaments simply spark out, when the switch was flipped?