I have been thinking about writing something on the Columbine tragedy. For an issue as sensitive as this I did not want to just throw up some half-thought out opinion the next day. I don't feel the need to mention the horror of this tragedy, which has been discussed and analyzed and explored ad infinitum. Instead I want to take the point of view of the two boys.

I can understand the mind of the outcast. I am a nerd, a geek who likes to keep to himself and play video games in the dark. I was not picked on in high school, but when I was in grade school I was mistreated by other boys, and I remember every incident still.

My parents were, and are, wonderful parents who did the best they could. My Mom didn't work till I was in junior high, and Nick in grade school. The most violent video game we had when I was young was Contra, a 16 color Nintendo game. I don't think that game could have inspired Marilyn Manson to murder Howard Stern. I remember later when I was high school age we would rent some rather gory and violent movies like Robocop, and Waxworks. I was disgusted and appalled and freaked out at the time. These days I am mildly appalled at similarly violent movies. Yes, I have been devoted to violent video games like Doom and Quake. No, I do not denounce them as responsible for this. They are games.

I can understand why these boys thought violence was cool. Has anyone seen Face/Off? That was a cool movie. Shooting people looks like it would be a very stylish thing to do. Not innocent people, of course, just the bad guys. I have never seen Pulp Fiction, or the Replacement Killers, but from what I know of these movies, shooting people would seem to be cool. But this is not reality. You and I live in reality. In reality, people kill, people die, others suffer, people go to prison. There are consequences. Everyone watches it on the news for a month or more, depending on the severity.

I have been angry at my peers. I have experienced hatred towards others. Why haven't I killed anyone? Because weapons were hard to obtain? If I desired to, I could use anything as a weapon. Because I wasn't exposed to violence since birth? I'm sure that kind of exposure would have darkened my perception of the world, but I doubt I would have massacred any school. Because there was no internet? Again, if I desired to, I could find devastating ways to kill others without the aid of the internet.

I don't kill people because I don't want to. It is wrong. I learned the difference from right and wrong from my parents. If I want to be happy with myself, and I want others to be happy with me, I choose the right way. If I disregard this happiness for a few seconds or minutes of superficial pleasure, I choose the wrong. Sometimes the wrong does not affect any but myself. And besides that, I like to be happy with myself. I doubt these boys were very happy with themselves.

I don't kill people because I like people. People, for the most part, are fun to be around. When they aren't fun to be around, I expect that to change soon. I wait and wait. Though it has never happened, if they continued to be miserable to be around, I would leave. I would not kill them. I value the lives of others. There is a legal, controlled way to kill people who would otherwise make my life inconvenient. I think this has added a lot to the devaluation of human life.

I am glad I don't kill people.


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