Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder
I cried this morning
Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.
I couldn't help it. I always felt a bit of contempt for the people who claimed some personal grief at the death of Princess Diana. But I lay in bed and I cried after I heard the NPR story about the school shooting in Santee, near San Diego, California, USA. God, why?
It's been more than a year since the Columbine massacre. More than a year since Voices From the Hellmouth. And it could happen again. It has happened again.
Where will it happen next time? It kills a bit of my soul to know that it will happen again. Where? It will probably be another white boy in some suburban public school, who feels alone and constantly mocked. He sees that he can get guns, and he reads about Littleton and Paducah and Santee and thinks, I could do that.
Oh god, I remember the yearbook photos from Columbine, the girl who was going to college in the fall. I remember the scene in "Heathers" where Christian Slater defends the bomb he's planted under the school and says -- I'm getting the exact quote from IMDB -- "People will look at the ashes of Westerburg [High School], and say, 'Now there was a school that self-destructed, not because society didn't care, but because the school was society!' "
What can I do?
I have Russian to do. And I have a meeting today about which I'm nervous, and I haven't eaten yet, and I re-watched "The Blair Witch Project" yesterday -- just the end! -- and it scared the bejeezus out of me.
Anyway, I know that I will, with much self-loathing, glean through the shrapnel of the latest rage-writ-large, trying to use my writerly sense to find meaning in the small things. Salon.com writers have made many good points, e.g., this never happens at private schools, this happens every day on a smaller scale in inner cities to poor nonwhites.
I read the kukluxklan.org FAQ via Google cache yesterday. They sound so reasonable, if you replace "racial mixing" with, say, "corporate control" or "police brutality." (It does crack me up that a nonwhite can be an "Official Supporter" of the Klan, and that the Klan feels irritated that other nouveau wannabe Klans use their name and logo.)
And all the while I feel as though someone is watching over my shoulder, not as an angel, but as a demon.