Jason Lindquist (jlindquist) wrote,
Jason Lindquist

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Five years later...

As I sat up last night testing and debugging postprocessing scripts for Phlink, midnight passed. I noticed the date showing up in my log messages became "April 20". Five years since the Columbine shootings.

Every student that was there that day is long gone, transferred out or graduated. Some of the faculty has left, and all of the administration except for the principal, Frank DeAngelis, who credits staying as what's kept him sane.

"People ask me all the time when will that magical day occur in which Columbine will return to normal?" he said on ABC. "I don't think we'll ever return to normal."

Really, "normal" has a new meaning for them, and has for five years. "Normal" now includes any lingering effects and memories of that day. Usually, when people ask about a "return to normal", they really mean a return to the way things were before some event. Once people die, or perhaps are even gravely injured, you can't go back to that. These are things that cannot be undone.

Nationally, I think things have settled down. There have been unrevoked changes to school administrations--everyone else has a new "normal" too. Judging from what I see in the papers and what little I see locally, it's mostly better, but a significant piece of the change is for the worse. The witch-hunts against goths, geeks, and other outcast groups have mostly died down. The schools seem to care a bit more, they seem more likely to pull a "troubled" or "at risk" kid aside for questioning and counseling, but only up until the point they break a rule.

Expulsion-required zero-intelligence policies are the standard. Even if you're defending yourself, even if you forgot to take something out of your backpack after the weekend's Boy Scout camping trip, you are reduced to filth and you are cast out permanently. Schools are proud and utterly remorseless of their actions. The illusion of safety and security is paramount to school boards and administrators, and the lives that they ruin are worthless.

Four years later, we're better than we were. But looking back the full five years, I'm happy I left childhood long before.

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