created by:
MNL, Queens, NY

Listen up, Littleton! The Web Speaks...

Yahoo! News: a page of links about the Columbine killings, and aftermath.
The Village Voice (Greenwich Village, NY): NY's premiere weekly neighborhood paper's take on the tragedy; links to several articles.
MSNBC: Teaching the Alienated: on reaching those who feel left out. By Justin Mitchell.
Memorial to Rachel Joy Scott: a family tribute to one of the slain.
Columbine High School Student Expresses Faith and Dies: the Cassie Bernall martyrdom.
Columbine, Friend of Mine: a gallery of the victims--all 15 of them.
Tripod: Stop School Violence: a word from my sponsor.
Newsday (NY) Sunday 4/25/99: How Schools Teach Our Kids to Hate, by Donna Gaines.: A MUST-READ! Follow the links and search for this and related articles.
MSNBC: Child violence: the warning signs: spotting rage in your kids; coping with anger.
American Politics Journal: Thinking About Columbine High: about marginalizing our misfit children. By Mac MacArthur.
American Politics Journal: In Defense of Liberalism: written way back in January 1999, but I think it relates. By Mac MacArthur.
Cry of the Soul: how our emotions reveal our deepest questions about God: until I find the true website for Dan Allender and Wounded Heart Ministries, this will have to do. Search Amazon or Barnes & Noble for info about the book.
Messages of Hope: a tribute; contributions by writers welcome.
Heaven's Newest Angels: another tribute which welcomes reader submissions.
Trenchcoat Mafia Tribute Page: no, no, no, it's not what you think!
mnl, Queens, NY: my homepage.
MNL's Thought Waves: Essays, letters, and Bible studies on other topics and current issues. The study about Samson's first wife would be appropriate here.
I hope you and Jesus have it all worked out..: a Cassie Bernall tribute; links to essay, Reformation Through Prayer.
Dad's Diary: As if going to high school weren't hard enough...: by Brian Donlon, Lifetime TV.
Seeing Christ at Columbine: another tribute to Bernall and the others, with an essay about God and tragedy. By Nebraska Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
How YOU can make a difference!: Places to send your money, or to volunteer, in the wake of the Columbine shootings.
Columbine High School Healing Quilt: Building a memorial in cloth. Act soon. One of several sites: try searching for "Columbine quilt" at Altavista.
Rant-o-Rama: Is Banning Trenchcoats the Answer to School Violence?: a somewhat sardonic look. By J. Buckley
Rant-o-Rama: Blame it on Marilyn Manson: another rant about schoolyard shootings, written before the Columbine incident.
Rant-o-Rama: Fan Mail: Fans' responses to rants, including the Marilyn Manson one. Also, follow links to discussion message board for more reactions.
Salon Magazine: Awakening the Dude Within.: about manliness, sensitivity, and self-help books. By Dwight Gardner.
Salon Magazine: Dr Laura Will Hector You Now.: specifically dissecting Dr Laura Schlessinger's Ten Stupid Things Men Do To Mess Up Their Lives (which is quoted on my website). By Laura Miller.
Broken Toys: The Broken Toy Project, dedicated to stop school bullying. With links to poetry, testimonies, and more.
Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher: Website of the ABC-TV late night series; Maher is quoted here. (And I like him very much!)
Cassie Bernall: She Said Yes: official website by the Bernall family, with information on a new biographical book about Cassie's life. With links, "Yes" Pledge, and more.
Quilting projects for Columbine: listing places where you can send panels for quilts for Columbine students and Littleton families. Follow their guidelines, please. Click Columbine Quilt link for host page.

Listen up, Littleton!

This shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado 
back on April 20, 1999, really got to me.  I mean, 
I was a high school dweeb...

The bottom line is: can we learn not to punish and 
ostracize people because they're weird, ugly, unathletic,
or otherwise--GASP!--different???

Below I'm putting in my essay, letter, poem, plus
things I've found and heard.  Links to the side.

Oh, so I'll get the "hits", here goes: Trench Coat Mafia.
Eric Harris. Dylan Klebold.  Rachel Scott.  Isaiah Shoels.
Cassie Bernall: "Do you believe in God?"  "Yes."

"The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you!'
And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don't need you!'
...If one part (of the body) suffers, 
every part suffers with it.
If one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."
--I Corinthians 12:21, 26

This page was begun May 5, 1999.

Like the AIDS Quilt, a memorial in cloth.
I'll create a link or two on the side.


But I also know enough history to remember that
the pursuit of demons unleashes its own demons,
many of them worse than whatever's being pursued.
--Gene Seymour, Newsday (New York), 5/16/99

(note: think Spanish Inquisition, Salem witch trials,
the Joe McCarthy hearings--MNL.)

(There's) a groundswell to designate Bernall a martyr,
something that has not been done in the Protestant
faith since the 1500's.
--Newsday, 5/15/99

The so-called evil impulse is a powerful source 
of energy and, ironically, it is the source of
vitality which may result in competitiveness,
anger, lust, and greed, or energize you to struggle,
to create, rise up in righteous indignation against
tyranny, commit to marriage and family, and 
achieve in areas with benefit many.
--Dr. Laura Schlessinger,
Ten Stupid Things Men Do to Mess Up Their Lives



Where has all the laughter gone?
Perhaps it was shattered when the bomb hit,
Or the war.
Some say it went away when guns became
the replacement of teddy bears
Or toys,
And now
The cradle is no longer for innocent boys.
Where has all the laughter gone?
I say it fell to the floor
When we first saw the blood--
And liked it.
And wanted more.

--Gezkin, 18, Canada--March 5, 2000

Sign My Guestbook View My Guestbook

Visit MNL's Message Board: Message Board

From my dark side: words about the Columbine massacre

(poem, c. 4/27/99)

When I think of what you could've done, Eric
What you could've done
on a website
in a video

For I know what it's like to rage
To scream in your gut
For fairness
For favor
For revenge
For relief
I know what it's like 
to murder in the soul

You could've told it, Eric,
told it like Martin Luther King
like Gandhi
You could've told it like John Lennon
Like Malcolm X
Someone could've shot YOU
(...someone did...)

You told it like the Son of Sam.

You could've exploded in words
in hugs
in tears
in hungering for justice
and mercy

Oh, you told the story, Eric;
you told our story
But the script you played
was not God's
but the Devil's.


(essay, 4/24/99)

Bill Maher of "Politically Incorrect" put it beautifully.
"People are blaming the media, guns, the parents..." he said
days after the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton,
Colorado on April 20.  "The kids (the shooters) themselves
are saying who it is--it's the JOCKS!"

These days the old high school terrorism, the "in crowd"
versus the "outcasts", comes with a deadly twist.  Yet, 
from "Huckleberry Finn" and "The Catcher In the Rye", to
"Carrie" and "Blubber", to "Heathers" and "Welcome to the
Dollhouse", the angst of the adolescent outsider has been
part of our arts and literature.  In "A Separate Peace",
the self-hating straight-A student protagonist, in a moment
of blind fury, destroys the popular student-athlete that he
loves, admires, and envies.  I read the story as a college
senior, caught up in my own love/hate relationship with a
Big Man on Campus.  It remains the only novel I ever
sobbed over.

(Note: I've written to that man, now a TV executive, since
I've written this essay.  I sent him a copy.)

I've been an "outsider" since second grade.  You know the
script: the "cool kids" form a clique in which nerds, geeks,
and dweebs are not welcome.  The rejection runs from benign
neglect ("hello, goodbye"), to going out of one's way to
make the outcast's life miserable: teasing, name-calling,
punches, shoves, trips, throwing garbage at them, choosing
them last for recess or gym class games, never casting them
in the school play.  Sometimes the outsiders band together:
they can comfort each other, build each other up, or 
commiserate in self-pity, or nurse each other's anger.

The war between the Columbine "jocks" and the "Trenchcoat
Mafia", the alienated group who dressed in black, had 
apparently escalated for years, even to a near-rumble.
Then April 20--Hitler's birthday--two of the "trenchcoats"
made their war, well, warlike.  Bullets flew, bombs burst,
killing 12 students and a teacher, before the two killed

(note: one report speculated whether the two truly belonged
to the group.  They weren't in the yearbook photo of the 

What's an outsider to do?  What's an INSIDER to do?

Not that the gunners' actions were justified--or just.
The rejects who banded together learned to embrace--indulge--
anger, then hatred, then Nazism and racism.  Did the two
boys shoot any individuals who actually had hurt them?  
Or did they merely broaden their targets into generalities:
athletes, nonwhites, Christians?  The two boys murdered 
athletes, but also used a racial slur before they shot 
the one black casualty (also an athlete, and maybe also a
Christian).  One dead student had a Hispanic last name.
Quite a few of the slain were practicing Christians.
"Do you believe in God?" they gunmen asked one girl.
"Yes," she replied, and they shot her.

Were these Christians among the tormentors--or did the
Trenchcoat Mafia's seduction into the dark side cause
them to hate the children of the Light?  I hate to think
that the boy who built houses for the poor in Mexico, the
girl who wanted to be a missionary in Africa, also yelled
"Losers!" and "Creeps!" or did worse to the black-clad
outsiders.  I know the two shooters spared the lives of
some students they liked, telling them to run.

How do you treat the outsiders of your life?

When you pass an unkempt front yard full of garbage,
do you throw your garbage in there, too?  When you 
see a troubled, ostracized person at school, work, or
church, do you think that it's fun if you, too, help
make their lives miserable?  Teachers, parents, do you
let your kids get away with picking on the kid everyone
hates?  Do you accept such cruelty as normal, as a 
brood of chickens pecking the weak chicken to death?

Outsiders, when someone throws garbage in your yard, 
do you let it lie there?  Do you pelt it back at them,
and throw a rock at them to boot?  Do you clean up
their garbage--and yours?  Do you tell the litterer,
"Hey, stop messing up my yard"?

Let's face it, it's easier to throw your trash in 
someone's yard than to carry your mess in your pocket,
or your hand, all the way to the trash can.  It's way
too easy for the insiders, the cool ones, to throw
their emotional trash onto the outcasts.  Rich people
will meet in poor neighborhoods to buy and sell drugs!
Rather than deal with our own evils, our own issues, 
we choose to villify someone else.  At Columbine, 
apparently, the jocks demonized the Trenchcoat Mafia
with name-calling and cruel treatment.  Two of their
victims did it back with bullets.

Also, I suspect, in a white, wealthy, suburban, 
conservative community like Littleton, Colorado,
it's easy for the churchgoing kids to think, "We're
cool, we're okay; it's those weird kids in black who
listen to Marilyn Manson who have everything wrong
with them."  It's a Pharasaical mistake.  The lull 
of success plus a form of godliness can make one 
think, "Don't touch me, because I'm holier than you."

In my senior year in an all-girls Catholic high school,
one day I argued with a "jockette" in the cafeteria.
Minutes later, they called to me.  The entire table of
girls waved their hands at their ears at me.  I wanted
to fill a large pail with water in the kitchen, and 
dump the water on the whole lot of them.  I didn't.

(note: Think of "Carrie".  Maybe in most revenge fantasies,
boys shoot, girls douse.  Boys penetrate; girls surround.
I'm getting Freudian here.)

Oh, I found my way to verbally and emotionally torture
members of the "in crowd" in high school, college, and 
beyond.  I still catch myself doing it.  And that's 
something I have to deal with.  But I rarely throw a punch,
and I don't own a gun.

One reason I became a born-again Christian at age 22 was
to justify all the suffering I'd been through.  I still
believe in that--bringing beauty out of ashes--but there's
so much more.  I'm more than my reaction to someone else's
opinion of me.

You can't always befriend the "weirdos" in your life, but
do you at least treat them fairly?  And what if you're the
weirdo whom nobody loves?  What do you do with your dark

Well, God loves you, warts and all.  If you've been in
church awhile, you know that.  But is it real to you?

I have a strange answer to what to do with your dark side:
Embrace it.

Billy Joel sang in his song, The Stranger:
  "You may never understand
   How the Stranger is inspired,
   But he is not always evil,
   And he is not always wrong.
   Though you drown in good intentions,
   You will never quench the fire.
   You'll give in to your desire
   When the Stranger comes along."

"The Stranger" is your dark, mysterious side.  God made
it part of you.  Embrace it like you would a wayward 
child.  Embrace it--but don't indulge it.  Love yourself
healthily and turn it over to God.  He'll prune it, or
he'll incorporate it into your whole, integrated self, 
for your good and his glory.

As God prunes you, he may even take away parts you
thought honorable, good, respectable.  God may even give
special honor to the parts of yourself you thought ugly
and strange. (Read 1 Corinithians 12:21-26.)  Maybe God,
as he conforms you to Christ's image, will make you, in
particular, seem weirder in the eyes of men!

Remember the "Star Trek" episode where a malfunctioning
transporter split Jim Kirk in two, one "good", one "evil"?
The evil Kirk had the force, but no self-control.  The 
good one was kind but couldn't make decisions.  Spock and
McCoy told the "good" Kirk: "Most of your strength of
command lies in HIM. ...You have the goodness...the 
compassion...and maybe that's where man's essential courage
comes from.  For, you see, he was afraid, and you weren't."

The id wants pleasure; the ego, respect; the superego,
loving justice.  Maybe the dark side fuels the drive of
our life's purpose.  It's the "why" behind our "what".
Maybe our dark side sees what's wrong, wants revenge, but
our light side seeks justice, even mercy.  Maybe the 
integrated self, covered by the blood of Jesus and guided
by the love of God, makes our dark and light sides work
together to right the wrongs, in God's way and in God's time.
Remember, outside of Christ, even our goodness is as filthy
rags.  Remember the Pharisees.

Jesus said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who 
persecute you."  He never said, "Don't make any enemies,"
nor "Go out of your way to make enemies, and persecute 
and exclude those who are different from you."

The Bible says there is no darkness in God, yet he can
work in darkness, that darkness and light are alike to
him.  Jesus did things that looked dark: insulting the
respectable Pharisees, throwing over tables in the temple,
partying with sinners and outcasts.  Jesus, though tempted,
never sinned.  Once I wrote a list of everything Jesus did
that could look like sin.  I filled three pages.

Wearing black trenchcoats and black-and-white makeup isn't
sinful in itself; it's just strange in our culture.  John
the Baptist was weird, but Jesus called him the greatest
man ever.  It's the motives behind our weirdness, or our
conformity, that are sinful.

Someone recently said to me, "You have a romantic notion
about being a gadfly."  Twenty years ago the BMOC I
loved/hated told me, "You're on a unique kick."  They're
both right.  But as "iron sharpens iron", God can use 
the "weirdos" of this world to challenge the conforming
and the comfortable, to keep us from being the "Stepford
children", the robots of respectability.  As the full story
of the Colorado tragedy will probably illustrate, Satan can
use conformity and peer pressure as his tools as easily as 
he can use rebellion and strangeness.

Jesus said of himself, "Whoever isn't for me is against
me," but he said to his followers, "Whoever isn't against
you is for you."  We have a personal responsibility to
each choose God or reject him.  We also have freedom to
be honestly who we are, to let others be who they are.

God is infinitely diverse--he is Three Persons--and his
infinite love keeps himself integrated, together, in
harmony with himself.  We humans are vastly diverse,
without the full presence of God (in the natural); we
clash, collide, hurt each other.  We rub each other the
wrong way.  Add Satan to the mix, and conflict turns to
hate, hurt turns to harm, destruction, murder.  

Shepherds oil their sheep's heads; when the rams butt heads,
they slip off each other.  The oil of God makes the difference
between bruised heads and crushed skulls.

Through our conflicts, with love, we can challenge and
sharpen each other, even break down each other's
complacency, false pride, and whatever else needs to be
broken down.  With the right tools, we can blast the dirt
off the school wall without blasting the school itself.
Oh, what one of those gun-toting boys could have been--
writer, video maker, webmaster--had he, with God's love,
embraced his dark side and not indulged it.


Two quick anecdotes:

Eleven years ago [circa April 1988], in discussion, my sister
commented how difficult is was for my siblings to take me
to a party, that even someone at a post-Christmas party we'd
attended said to her disparagingly about me, "Oh, that's 
your sister?"

"But I had a great time at that party!" I said.  I'd sung
with a group at the piano and had a ball.  I hadn't
misbehaved nor acted antisocial or sullen.

My sister replied that was it, that I so obviously enjoyed
myself singing and hadn't acted "cool".

"You mean people are still trying to act cool at your age?
I should say, our age?"  We were long past adolescence
[in our thirties].

"Yeah," she replied.

"Don't people ever grow up?"

"No."  She laughed, and so did I.

I'd shocked myself.  I didn't know till then that I had
my own definition of what it meant to be a grown-up--and
that it included not looking down your nose at others.

Then about nine years ago [circa 1990], at work, I said
to God in my mind, "I don't remember what it's like being
without you.  I don't remember how it feels."  And I 
wanted to remember.  So God withdrew a little and I felt
the pain, anguish, loneliness, worthlessness I'd felt in
my younger years.  "Okay, thanks, God, now I remember.
(You can come back now.)"


This poem was sent to me by "alienflower", a high-school girl 
who, like me, was moved by the Columbine incident.  This is 
NOT to advocate violence, but to explain where it can come from.
For further explanation, see my guestbook.

"gunmetal girl"

how interchangeable are my tears and your blood
i kill your body for you killed my soul
(a murder they'll never try you for)
this day of ashes and light
i blast the faces of society's teenage "angels"
my gnarled and glistening heart no longer
clasped like an evil locket in their
cool cruel passionless perfect hands
my brain a vengeful living inferno
this day of ashes and light
i am truly tangible truly alive
full of breathy gusts of air and screams
im a shrinking violet now shrinking VIOLENT
and im weak without this gun
weak sheathed in old long tended rage
but so are you all weak inside magazine uniforms
and shinnying swaggering top dollar costumes of "cool"
gelled hair of one mold
shutting me out
in all my disheveled flawed glory
this day of ashes and light
and when soldiers of american virtue
(or my own failure self destruct detonation)
come as they will to take me down
take heed and think
this once hear me out!

--submitted November 19, 1999
entered January 4, 2000


ROL [Previous] [Random] [List] [Next]
[ Join The Columbine High School Webring]

Search for the Album or Artist of Your Choice!
Album Title
Song Title

powered by lycos Search: Tripod The Web  
Download Free Chank Rockstar Fonts on Tripod!

Check Out Tyler's Mad Crib for Teens on Tripod Ask Evel Knievel on Tripod Ask the Doctor on Tripod Get Gif Girl's Web Design Tips on Tripod