February 22, 2018
It Should Have Ended with Columbine
The Word Columbine Still Strikes Fear in my Heart.
American Horror Story, Murder House. The episode where Tate Langdon is killed because he went on a shooting spree at his high school, in 1994 (the year I graduated). He took the lives of 15 students who can come back and confront him on Halloween. We later find out he’s as well as the students are spirits who can interact with living people on specific days, or in the murder house.
My immediate thought was Columbine. My thought is always Columbine, because it happened four years after I graduated high school, and only one year after my sister graduated. As an optimistic kid, I thought the adults would take care of it, but it happened again and again, and again: until finally it happened to five and six year olds.
This has to be the end, I told myself. I was still that optimistic truting kid. Then the mass shooting at Pulse, The Vegas Shooting, now Parkland. Within months. And it’s taking children to raise their voices, to really get people to listen, where previous generations (mine included) have failed.
Generation X – The generation best known for Friends, Will and Grace, and Boy Meets World. Friends. I’ve heard the show described as “mean”, but I can say that it mimics my friendships I cherish from childhood. I often describe my college days as a lot like the movie, Reality Bites. The days where a 32oz. Big Gulp of Diet Coke, a Marlboro Light and a Snickers Bar was considered lunch. I absolutely miss those days. I am eternally grateful those things were a part of my life.
As for Friends, one of my all time favorites. I’ve seen Ross described as a homophobe, but coming out was becoming more common, and so was more homophobia. Friends brilliantly had Ross married to a lesbian, and have a child together. He now needs to deal with being a divorced father of a boy with 2 moms. It was 1994. It made many people uncomfortable, but dealing with the issue through comedy, was a great way to send a message. Remember, Ross walked Carol (his ex-wife) down the aisle in her commitment ceremony to Susan, when Carol’s parents refused to show up. Ellen DeGeneres came out on TV. So did many beloved TV characters. Now we have out and proud leading actors, in Television, Film and Stage. The world is truly changing. My childhood was filled with fears of being near AIDS patients; we grew, we educated ourselves, we know that information is false.
Look at Gen-X as the generation that outwardly began to accept and tackle issues that 10 years earlier were completely taboo. We have definitely helped pave the way. Now is the time to work together. We want to help finish the fight. I know I do.
I’ve read, that there is going to be a student walk out, on April 20th, the anniversary of the Columbine Shooting. I hope this walk out is true, and I want every student to know that I am on your side, and so excited to see a new generation pick up where we left off. Look to us for guidance. You may have the social media skills, but we have the wisdom, because we’ve been dealing with this for more than 3 decades. Find your teachers. Arm yourself with knowledge, because knowledge is power.
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