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.)