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Gray Watson Personal Thoughts 1999.04.30
Waking Colorado

1436 @ Work

Another lovely day here in the burg. We've had five in a row and are heading for another five. It's in the 40s and 50s in the morning and then climbs into the 70s by midday. Started biking to and from work again.

Bombing The Powdered Milk Factory

The Colorado disaster is now a couple of weeks behind us. If you are reading this in the future, on the 20th two teenagers ran into their affluent suburban high school in trench coats touting pump-action shotguns, semiautomatics, and pipe bombs and proceed to kill 12 classmates, a teacher, and themselves. These kids were admitted gamers and actually played a game called DOOM which is an example of just the sort of information that the ignorant media and adults were looking for to rationalize this whole surreal situation.

Now in the wake of this mess, schools have sent kids in trenchcoats home, parents have restricted if not removed computer and gaming privileges of their kids, and although students have been encouraged to talk about the tragedy, showing compassion or understanding for the two fucked up perps is the wrong answer and buys you a walk to the door with a note for your parents. Although I somewhat sympathize with the kids out there who find their worlds sadly altered in the wake of the Colorado disaster, I find myself saying "poor baby" to most.

Somehow past generations were able to brave their high school ages without requiring such outlets as gaming and chat rooms for their frustration. Maybe these kids will have to actually get friends in their physical neighborhood. Gasp! Maybe even read a book. Sob! Maybe play some basketball outside. Oh no!

So much of our lives are not under our complete control. So much of our dealings with others require diligent compromising and negotiation. Work actually can include drudgery, corporate policies, and other codification. Learning early about how to deal with strangers and how to handle unpleasant situations is an important part of the survival training necessary for development of a social responsible human. One that recognizes and respects the sentience and reality of others and is able to function and thrive in the 21st century. I am sincerely worried about a kid who spends all day at school thinking about combat tactics instead of the other 99.999% of their planet. I'm similarly worried about the TV generation who spent more time infront of a television every week then they do at school.

I don't think it is a good idea for every child to find a group of people online who exactly match their persona. Does this reinforce the character-of-the-hour instead of allowing the kid to continue to develop, forcing them to weather the inevitable bumps and bruises that come from dealing with reality? Yes, growing up is painful -- especially high school. But guess what. Your stupid parents went through similar treatment, and so did their parents, etc.. Suck it in and deal with it.

When interviewed, many spoke out against the vilification of the different in the wake of Colorado -- about the attempts by the schools and communities to make sure everyone conforms. This is unfortunate and doubtlessly an overreaction to the calamity. However just remember that even with conformity, you can still be an individual and hack your culture. You do have the power to stetch your borders and accomplish many of your dreams, even in the face of rules, regulations, and Martha Stewart. Just remember that when you stop and smell the roses to pick up the litter as well.

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