One White Nike, Size 12

Ten years ago today,

I came home from work, and turned on CNN.  Which was going batshit crazy, trying to keep up with “Breaking News”, and “Important Updates”. 


Two kids in Colorado had walked into a school, and started shooting.


By the time I caught up with the story, the reporters had been able to dig a little.  They knew the shooters were two loners, maybe goth kids, possibly Marilyn Manson fans.  The butt of the cool kids’ jokes.  Picked-on nerds.  Losers.


And if I’d had a mirror in front of me, I’m pretty sure I would have seen arched eyebrows.  A smirk.  An “I told you so” written across my face.


What did those jocks expect?  You can only bully so much.  Push a geek so far, before they snap.  All those popular people who made fun of me for being smart.  Poor.  Weird.  Maybe I’d never thought of killing them, but I’d sure as hell wished them…hurt, or something. 


What did those jocks expect?


And then I saw the footage of the kids trying to flee the school.  Desperate.  Terrified.


This one boy chose a second story window for his escape.   He dove out, head-first.  His foot got caught up in the window-sill, just for a second.  So that instead of making a smooth exit, he kind of slides down the side of the school, leaving a smear of blood behind.


I’m focused on his gangly leg.  With a huge, white sneaker at the end of it.  A man’s foot on a boy’s body. 


One boy in a school full of kids, trying to figure out how to be adults.  Trying out personas.  Making mistakes.


Kids, with the feet of men.


Even now, ten years later, when I think of that white sneaker, that smear of blood, I bawl.




(Image from here.)

26 responses to “One White Nike, Size 12

  1. Fantastic break to your block.

  2. It is surprising how little scenes like that stick out in times of tremendous tragedy.

    It’s hard to believe that was 10 years ago.

  3. Did you read the follow-up about the kid with the sneaker?
    (I think I found it on yahoo).
    Not that we didn’t know how terrible it was in there, but his account, it was Terrible.

  4. Columbine heavily affected how things were when I was in high school, because I was in high school around the same time. I remember a lot of people suddenly being really nice to those that they previously pestered.

  5. That’s my reaction when I think about the teacher who died to save his students. They say he asked them to hold up a picture of his children from his wallet so it would be the last thing he saw. Makes me cry every time, even now.

  6. I was long out of high school when this happened. I was sitting in a hospital waiting room as the news spread, waiting to start yet another program for weight loss.

    I got picked on a lot in HS. But for some reason, I never had it in me to internalize all the pain. I talked shit through with people who cared about me. Friends I knew would listen and not judge. I’m sure I had it easy compared to some kids. I’m grateful for parents who instilled in me the ideas of responsibility. Never gave me whatever I wanted, or failed to listen when I expressed how I felt.

    Great post, Ginny. Much better than most of the tripe I’ve heard today . . .

  7. Odd you focus on a shoe. A child’s shoe is the focus of one of the worst memories I have also.

    Well captured.

  8. I remember that boy, sliding awkwardly out the window. I remember that day. Shudder. It’s terrible the things that people do to one another. I’m sorry those people hurt you, Ginny.

  9. Today is a hard day here in Colorado. It’s bizarre to think that something like that happened to us. Twice. They had some nice tributes and moments of silence. And right now all the college students are out on campus getting high for 4:20. What a contrast.

    This was beautifully written.

  10. Nicely written Ginny. I remember my parents talking about the Kennedy assasination and all of the other things that happened before I was born and before I was cognizant of the world. Now there are all of these events that have come to define my own generation. It makes me feel old and sad to think of so many of the bad ones. Still, I think of the good things that have happened and it does balance out but on days like today it doesn’t feel like it.

  11. I remember walking into my dorm room to find my suitemate glued to the tv. I watched the CNN footage, dropping to her bed, thinking what was wrong with these kids, why didn’t an adult see and stop this, stop the bullying, stop the hurting, stop the pain. Where were these parents? To this day I blame the parents of the bullies and the parents of the shooters.

  12. That was a terrible day, I remember hearing it at school. I resented the immediate proclaimed correlation to video games, media sources, and etc., instead of the clear and immediate point: there are problems here, people! How did it get like this?

    Sadly, Columbine was the first incident in my memory to really grip public attention, but there were similar if not nearly identical incidents all over the US in the years prior to it. Just nothing in such a relatively well-to-do place. You know, that same old song and dance. What doesn’t make the news is just as scary as what does.

  13. I remember being pissed off, and swore that would never devote any brain cells to those idiot kids who cared so much about high school that thought it had to die.

    High school is stupid and ignorable. Giving it meaning is like admitting defeat.

    I can’t help thinking they only wanted recognition, and then I get filled with this intense fury at the self-centeredness of those kids that they thought their behavior was justifiable in some way.

    And then I go through the thought process of what I would do, and I know…I just KNOW I would have gotten my ass shot if I’d crossed their path. Because I knew those guys. They weren’t my Friends. But they were my friends. And I would have tried to stop them. Because I always stick my shit into everyone’s business and problems.

    And I’m done, now.

  14. i find fault with the parents. the parents of the shooters who turned their backs on their kids. kids don’t do things like this “out of the blue.” there were signs…that were assuredly ignored.

    it’s sad…it’s unfortunate…it’s tragic.

    i agree with emerald…i hate that they tried to blame games, tv, movies. that’s a copout. that’s an excuse.

    we have bred a generation of children who are self-centered and over indulged. a generation that places self-esteem above accountability.

    i have to stop…

  15. Betsey: Thank you.

    Southern (in)Sanity: Maybe because its just too, too much to try and take it all in, so a little piece has to suffice.

    Stephanie: I did see it. It was so weird to have a name to go with the image I’ve been carrying around.

    Maria: But how long did it last? (PS: Thanks for the shout out, today.)

    institutrice: So many horrific little pieces make up that story.

    tysdaddy: You deserve a ton of credit for dealing with teen shit so well.

    Xbox: I will wait patiently for you to tell the story. Or not. Whatever you decide.

    Gwen: Thanks. At the time, I was 24, only out of high school for 7 years. Now, 10 years later? Not much of it matters, or is still with me.

    mtnlover: Was it a bit of a jittery day, there?

    formerlyfun: To me, that was the start of feeling like the world was right the fuck out of control. Because 2 years later, we all watched 9/11. And then, it seemed like there was something horrific every other day.

    faemom: I hesitate to point fingers. Because I truly believe that a parent can do everything, everything right, and still have a mentally ill child who does horrible things.

    Em: I remember being absolutely gobsmacked that Marilyn Manson was catching flack for it. Really? Because I liked him too, but I didn’t shoot up the office I worked in.

    Rassles: I wish that these kids had had a Rassles, to smack some fucking sense into them. To lay it out like you just did.

    Nikki: It feels like a pendulum thing: We’ve swung right over into indulgence, and I need to believe it will swing back. For now, all I can do is try to swing it back for my own family.

  16. and yet a couple of weeks ago 3 cops were killed here in Pittsburgh by a kid with an AK-47and some hand canons,i posted about it, in ten years we haven’t learned shit, yet certain sections of our society insist it is their right to carry guns and own semi-automatic weapons, for what purpose? to kill people, that’s what they’re used for, the kid’s hand problems but it would’ve been much harder if they didn’t have access to the weapons which can be easily obtained legally or otherwise.

  17. Wow. What a post, Ginny. It seems like longer than ten years ago for some reason. It seems like the one that started the trend – though it wasn’t. It seems like something that couldn’t possibly happen in real life – though it did.

    And you know what, nothings changed to keep it from happening again and they just keep happening and it’s not the fault of guns, it’s the fault of (insert bullshit here).

  18. That was well written. I remember Columbine. Every tv in school was tuned to CNN that day.

  19. Ginny, I see your point there. And for a while I didn’t blame anyone, but then the parents of the victims sued the school, the school district and the police for not protecting their children better, and then the parents of the shooters sued the school, the school district, and the police for not protecting their children. My thought is that you teach your kid to respect peoples’ differences and not make them feel bad about being different. And you DO NOT buy your kids as many guns and as much amo as they want.

  20. People are too much in the following mode than thinking for themselves. When I was younger I was just me and that is why I guess I never fit into a group I just got along with everyone. People just talk shit because someone else is and then it just blows up. just like in this case.

    It’s so sad that this had to be the lesson.

    I remember his shoe too.

    It’s such a sad event all around.

  21. You just really moved me. I forgot that image. In the past 10 years we really have seen our fair share of awful events on live TV. That’s why I watch Nick@nite.

  22. I was here in Spain when this all went down and was just shocked and sad. I didn’t know who i identified with more, that’s what was really freaky.

  23. Now I feel like bawling. Damn. It.

  24. kono: I read your post about the police officers, and it was in my thoughts for several days after.

    A Free Man: It is hard to believe it was 10 years ago. I remember thinking that I would never have kids – why would I bring them into this shit? (guess I refined my position on that).

    Captain Steve: I remember thinking, selfishly, that I was so very glad I was out of school by then.

    faemom: Agreed – the line has to be drawn somewhere.

    Loni: Good ‘ol mob mentality.

    Will: Dude, I hear you. “All In The Family” reruns are where I’m at, right now.

    bluestreak: I still don’t know, either.

    nurse: It is. Still.

    Max: Sorry. But you’re not alone.

    mkh: Exactly. Like I said, just trying on personas. Just in this case, it had horrible results.

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