Another perspective on Littleton
jhminshall at mindspring.com
Thu Apr 29 11:07:27 JEST 1999
Hi Peggy, Thank you for your comments on Michael Shell's Littleton
posting. I too think that we must pray for our whole society, and, more
than that, that we must begin to work more aggressively to change it.
I know that change starts with the individual, but I think we've reached a
point where we have to become more proactive and reach out to others as
well. Just as wars in the past have moved Friends to intensify their
actions, this war at home should move us to do more and do it better than
we have before.
When I saw President Clinton's comments on the TV news the day of the
Littleton massacre calling on us all to be positive models of nonviolence
for our children, I had to wonder if he was completely unaware that he
himself was acting as a negative model in leading NATO's bombing of Kosovo
Best Regards, Janet Minshall.
>In response to this from Michael Shell ~
>I am greatly disturbed that our culture is now up in arms over the
>"outsiders," instead of over the brutally hierarchical, social
>clique-dominated school subculture in which we raise our children. It is
>the classic human response: blame the ones who are different, not the
>culture which is sick.
>Michael ~ A few days ago our little Clarksville TN newpaper, the
>Leaf-Chronicle, posted a small picture and story of one of the Columbine
>High victims, an African American who would have been the first graduate of
>his race at the school. It happens that a relative, I believe a great-aunt,
>lives in our community, and he had visited here several years ago. She had
>already made plans to attend this special graduation ceremony in Littleton,
>but now goes to Colorado for his funeral instead.
>It was mentioned that this particular student, the only black victim, had
>been killed "execution style." I do not know what all stories abound, nor
>which are true, but the implication was that his was a racial murder and
>carried out differently from the others on that day.
>The point I'm trying to make is in reference to my first impression upon
>reading about this student (I'm sorry I did not keep his name). Reading he
>would have been the first African American graduate of Columbine High, I
>thought "well, no wonder!"
>Of course that is an initial, simplistic, unfair knee-jerk reaction. I know
>I must be incredibly naive to have been surprised that such a school /
>situation might still exist.
>My reaction stemmed from an idea that if Columbine had not previously had
>African American students graduating, it must be a school / environment
>presenting a very false, unwholesome picture / cross section of our national
>culture of diversity. Not only were these students traditionally not
>exposed to persons different from themselves, but they apparently emerge
>from an overall culture where such is the status quo. In other words, many
>of these students must come from families where cultural biases rule,
>differences are poorly tolerated. I speak of the student body and the
>community at large here, not just of the misguided students who took up
>While two of these students have taken tragically extreme measures to show
>their rage and frustration over perceived intolerance and bigotry against
>themselves, they chose to die by expressing similar intolerance and bigotry.
>They learned a hard, unjust and ultimately dangerous lesson apparently being
>taught by their whole community. Surely there are others in Littleton who
>must share the guilt.
>Soberly, and in prayer for our communities, our families, our youth,
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