Rewind to Columbine

Posted: Mar 06, 2004 12:00 AM

There?s a violent internal menace that has plagued our land since the close of the 20th century.  You know who I?m talking about ? that radical and now unpredictable enemy ? our kids!  America?s total concern about our nation-threatening external terrorist threat has shifted attention away from this grave and growing danger.  It?s time to righteously divide our interests ? and face both crises head-on.

Isn?t it wild how quickly we?ve forgotten about Paducah, Kentucky; Jonesboro, Arkansas; Pearl, Mississippi; Springfield, Oregon and the apocalyptic disaster of Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado?

It?s just five short years ago when Mayberry RFDs, middle Americas, Anytown, USA became killing fields.  And the culprits were not named Habib and Mohammed; they were kids with names like Hank and Mikey.

Towns, cities and schools that normally turned out hardworking, life-loving, good children ?all of a sudden? were spawning children of the damned.  Bizarre, demonic kids capable of the unthinkable, who instead of shooting BB guns at tin cans, were now unloading Uncle Bob?s Glock on their school lunch room just because ?Stacy mocked my acne? or because they got flamed in the 8 Mile chat room.

Kids are kind of skipping a couple of steps in working out their rage, and it is frightening.

Look-- I?m not Mr. Zippidy-Do-Dah.  It?s clear that the world in which we live is not and will never be free from evil and that we will never live in an idyllic, Cleaver Wonderland.  But what ought to be rattling our complacent cage is the boundary-breaking demographic from which evil has emerged. 

In the past, the malevolent guy was a demented adult drifters who misinterpreted Beatles? songs, or a gay mailman posing as a clown, or a marginalized freak listening to the commands of black Labradors to kill lovers in their cars and store their body parts in the fridge.  Forcibly, we adjusted our psyches to expect these sickos existence, but the tail end of the 20th century shifted that paradigm to include ?nice kids? from suburbia tanked up on Mountain Dew and Nietzsche.

I believe that in order to mitigate this youthful murderous mess we must start calling a spade a shovel and solidly toss the blame to the people and places that allow violence to spawn.  For what it?s worth, here?re the folks on my culpability flow chart, responsible for slide into violence of our nation?s youth.

Rogue Public School teachers & administrative staff.  Hey, inept teachers, counselors, assistant principals and principals: when someone says he?s going to ?stab? someone or ?pop a cap? in a student?s a**, you should believe him.  So, the next time you hear a student breathe out these threats, why don?t you get off your 40k a year glutes, call the cops and help remove this weed from the garden?  Sleepy teachers and scurrilous school administrators need to wake up and help society kick this behavior to the curb.  If they don?t, then they are liable for any crime one of their kids commits which they knew was brewing but did nothing stop. 

[Think I?m hallucinating?  The situation I described above happened just last month to my 14 year old daughter at Dr. Michael Krop High School in North Miami, Florida, and the student who threatened my girl?s life and who has charges pending against him was allowed back into the school, unsupervised, after 10 days? detention.  Needless to say, my daughter is no longer attending that school, and sadly, my family is officially finished with the public school system.]

The entertainment industry.  The media is clearly blameworthy for our national rise in violent crime.  From the gratuitous violence dripping from film and TV, to the glorified pimps and whores in music videos, to Vice City video games that do everything but super-soak you with gore once you ?kill a cop? during ?the game?.  Yep ? crime has become the shabby chic that the immoral media pawns off on today?s youth. 

Let?s face it: the entertainment industry has made being a demonic anti-hero cool.  Seductive evil has become okay.  The industry has taken artistic license and licentiously twisted it into a violent and perverted liberty to offend and promote criminal activity as ?entertainment?, thereby coarsening our culture.  If they can?t be pinned down and penalized for stoking violent youth?s anger fire, we should at the very least shun their shows and sponsors.

Parents.  Excuse me for sounding violent, but a lot of parents need their butts kicked up between their shoulders for their woeful neglect of their kids.  Parents: your obsessions  over money, your mistress, your tan, and hanging out with your time-consuming-soap-opera-addicted-Jerry Springer-devotee-friends has helped create a moral black hole in your offspring?s head ? a hole that has been filled by Grand Theft Auto, Snoop Dog, Eminem and Larry Flynt. 

Violent Youth.  Mr. Wannabe-big-pimping-young-trouble-maker, your actions are principally your choice and thus your fault.  In this postmodern land of Montel, blame is being passed around by the youth and their enabling counselors like a big doobie at a Molly Hatchet concert.  Listen up, teenage wasteland.  Whether mummy didn?t pay enough attention to you during your 1st grade gymnastics routine or if Simon Cowell just dusted you at the American Idol try-outs, nothing forces you to kill your friends at school during recess.

As much as teachers, entertainers and parents share a big part of the blame for your bizarre behavior, remember: it?s your behavior. 

My ClashPoint is this:  Hey, rebel youth!  You want to rebel?  You really want to tick people off?  You really want to go against the flow?  Stem the tide?  Why not rebel by getting a life, and then taking that life seriously?  How about raging against the machine by being abstinent, by taking the role of your mind seriously, by taking good care of your body, by taking responsibility, by rejecting passivity and by leading courageously?  That?ll hack people off.  That?ll make you stand out like Dennis Rodman in a Japanese girls school.  Yeah, that?s it.  Blow off all goofy parents and bogus authority figures.  Blow off bloated teachers.  Spit on the entertainment industry and rebel towards character, faith and virtue.  And you, my young James Dean, just might keep us from doing a national rewind to Columbine.  That?s right: you can do it!

Doug Giles? latest book, ?Ruling in Babylon?, is available via He pastors a church in Miami and hosts two award winning radio programs.  Visit the website.