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Notes From The Flip Side: 03.18.2001

It's only March and it's already getting hot. It's easy to tell right now that this summer is going to be brutal.

It was only a month ago when I was sitting on your patio at 1 a.m., naked and smoking, sharing drags with you and feeling your thighs damp with sweat against my legs. Not long before that, I was running around on rooftops, drinking beer with friends and watching cars drive by. Before that, I was in Europe, talking to people I hadn't met before and will probably never see again.

I don't have much to say right now. I feel rather reflective and it may be due to an essay I'm writing. The Santana shootings reminded me of growing up in Santee and how hard it was, how much abuse I took on a daily basis because I didn't fit in. I left as soon as I could and I don't go back often, but when I do, I still get shit from people who have never met me and don't even know my name.

So I'm tired of hearing mealymouthed politicians asking how it could happen and calling children cowards (and if George W. Bush - a draft dodging failure in business - doesn't define hypocrisy with that comment, I don't know what does); I'm tired of hearing parents call for jailing kids for 500 years. I don't agree with what happened, but I fail to see how keening howls of vengeful masses screaming for retribution will make it any better.

We construct straw dogs of denial to ignore our own failures in these matters. It's much easier to blame violence in the media and easy access to firearms than to examine how schools tolerate and encourage bullying. It's much easier than looking inward and wondering why we fail to protect our kids from abuse by their alleged peers and why we all minimize or dismiss the real trauma that results from such blatant hostility.

In other words, when things like this happen, it's our own damn fault. In the words of St. Paddy, "Then kids shoot kids and community defies its role." These days, denies seems like a better choice to fill in the blank.

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Last modified on Wednesday, March 26, 2008