Troy N. Diggs

May 1999

April 22, 1999

On April 20 in Littleton, CO, 15 students at Columbine High were killed, with God-only-knows how many more hurt, both physically and emotionally. The students were assaulted by two other students, who not only opened fire on their classmates, but set as many as 30 booby-trapped bombs throughout the school building for good measure to make sure their point got across.

This has got to stop. No, scratch that. This never should have started in the first place.

I readily admit that back when I was in high school, I was what the media is calling "outcasts"; I was gay (but didn't know it myself), smart, and basically Steve Urkel with a better taste in fashion. Despite all that, though, I cannot conceive of anyone thinking that going into school and blasting away the people they don't like will solve anything; doing that will have two possible outcomes: either you get locked up and go to hell later, or you kill yourself and go to hell now.

What makes me even sadder is that, according to CBS News, one of the suspects gave helpful hints on his Web site about making quality pipe bombs guaranteed to inflict the most physical damage possible. Obviously, this guy wouldn't have made this Web site if he didn't think people would see it, so I guess this is a way of "spreading the word" even after death. While I'm sure hyper-religious folks could say the same about Oasis (or any other gay-friendly site), I think it's truly appalling that this fantastic wealth of information we have on the Internet is being used to promote what boils down to an incredibly stupid idea.

On top of all that, there's the inevitable question of the guns... how'd they get them, where'd they get them from, etc. etc. I said this after the shootings here in Jonesboro last year, and I'll say it again: a young person has no business even thinking about holding a gun. This goes back to adult control (not just parental control); after all, those kids didn't make those guns by hand. Some asshole adult out there made it possible for these kids to get these guns, directly or indirectly, doesn't matter. Apart from maybe a handgun for personal protection (and maybe not even that), there is no need for regular everyday folks to have firearms. None. Hunting serves no purpose besides giving rednecks an excuse to drink beer and dress in camouflage. Anything with more firepower than that doesn't serve any purpose except one: to kill people. These things need to be kept out of the hands of people who aren't mature enough or responsible enough to use them, and that includes minors. No buts about that.

Look, here's the bottom line... adolescence is tough. There's no getting around that; it's always been that way and always will be, because that's human nature. I can only offer my advice for you, the young folks reading this, which may sound like utter bullshit, but it does come from the heart.

1) Wake up and smell the coffee... if someone says they're going to come in and blow some people away, and if there is any chance whatsoever that they might, then don't hide it. 5 years ago, this would have been more sarcasm than fact; today, it's better to be a little paranoid than be looking back in hindsight.

2) Do not exclude. Include. Yes, that guy or gal over there may not look like you or be in the same economic class as you or whatever, but no matter what, they're people with feelings too. There may not be much common ground, but if you sincerely give a damn about someone, there's a good chance they'll return it.

3) This may sound harsh, and this may sound crazy, but there's logic to it.... I have never been one to advocate this kind of thing, but if your life is so convoluted, twisted, and just plain shot to hell that instead of talking to parents, teachers, counselors, friends, hell, even me if you want... or maybe releasing your aggression out on a keyboard and writing or with a pencil and drawing or playing a game of basketball or rugby... or whatever... instead of finding a positive outlet, you feel that the only option is to point a loaded weapon at your classmates and pull the trigger....

.... if THAT is the only option in your mind, you need to turn the gun around and kill yourself. If you are truly arrogant enough to believe that killing your classmates is more preferable than any other way to let out your anger, then you've missed the point. Thanks for playing the game; your consolation prizes are at that bright light at the end of the tunnel.

This makes the second column for Oasis I've written about this subject.... I hope there are no more.

Drop me a line... TDiggs@aztec.astate.edu, or on the Web @ http://www.geocities.com/~tdiggs/

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