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We Are All Columbine Now

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 12/10/2015 Stephen Hren
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The killers march across our news feed like swirls of colorful balloons -- it's the Macy's Day parade, except these are the gunmen who storm into our schools, our movie theatres, our restaurants, and blow away our loved ones in cold blood. Then it's time for the football game.
It's said that high school is just a distilled microcosm of the adult world. I went to a big enough high school where we had two clicks of freaks -- one that didn't give a damn about all that sports-frenzied nonsense, and a second that pretended so hard they didn't want to be a part of it you could read the word LOSER on their forehead in beads of sweat. The jocks could read this latter group like open books. They gave them hell every second of their waking lives.
It's the violators and those who aspire to violence to be accepted by the violators. The sheer brutality of the football game, a game that consumes its participants in its violence, if not immediately, then in the medium run where their joints frissure, hips dislocate, brains decay. It was the culmination of the week - Friday night, the end of the school week. Everything built up all week and climaxed at its apex. If you wanted, so wanted, to be a part of this violence but that avenue was blocked, there was a very convenient, if utterly horrific, way to participate. It came out of the long barrel of a gun, which fit oh so conveniently behind that black trenchcoat.
It's really, really hard when you've lost four wars in a row...especially after the fantastic glory of the first two really big ones. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afganistan. If you can't be humble, you will be humiliated. Football and war - mostly you just sit around, waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Commercial. Then five seconds of frenzy. Talk it over. More waiting. Someone wins the big kahuna! Then there's the parade where we celebrate the heros, the uber violent, the ones who crushed their opponents, the ones who beat down the weak, the ones who enslaved, the ones who annihilated so that this beautiful land could become available for us to colonize. We celebrate you!
So then it becomes us. So, so badly we want to win that war. It's in the marrow of our bones, this quest for victory, for the destruction of the weak who stand in our way. Make America Great Again. You lose four in a row, over 70 plus years, you start to think you're not gonna win again anymore. And now you start to know how that freak feels, the one who wants to participate so badly, but the only entry point we've shown him is violence.
To kill is to control. Killing is power. Raise an animal, and then take its life and eats its flesh - you are master. If the violence of victory has been denied you, seize the day! Carpe diem, my poor lost soul. Grab that gun and show them who is in charge! Iran, Russia, China? Your community college teacher, the hot chick in Econ 101 who won't acknowledge your existence, the wanna-be jock who just got a better grade on his exam than you? To watch blood flow is to know power. This power is available at all times to one and all. It will not cost you a lot of money.
Heroin is very addictive. It supplies some semblance of meaning. It's said it's one of the most addictive substances on earth. But we know otherwise. We know it in the vampire TV shows and the zombie movies that we hang on the edge of our sofas to watch. We know that there is a most prized substance that will fulfill our basest desires. It is blood. Shedding blood gives us power. It gives us resources. It gives us comfort. It gives us space. Other people's blood is the ultimate drug. Shedding other people's blood gives us meaning. It's why we do it. Try to take a needle away from a heroin addict? Like taking candy from a baby, compared with prying a gun loose from the fingers of an American.
Stephen Hren is the author of Max's Hungry Ghost, a ribald sci-fi fairy-tale available through his website,

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