April 20th 1999

The Littleton High School Shooting (Revenge of the Nerds)

Today two young monsters in human form went on a shooting and bombing rampage in their high school. They sent 20 people the hospital and 13 to the morgue. They mercilessly killed fellow students and faculty with according to some accounts they laughed as they killed innocent people. It has been an ongoing story that first broke just before lunch time and has occupied the news tonight.

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold are primarily responsible because they plotted and executed this horrible crime upon their classmates. There will be lots of finger pointing in the next few days but there are some points I wish to make. Some will parrot that these "outcasts" or "loners" were not very popular so this small group congregated together and were called the "Trenchcoat Mafia" (by their detractors?). These apparently normal teen-agers spoke of taking revenge against those who picked on them, against minorities and against authority. I think this is fairly normal for unpopular kids or kids who were picked on. The difference is when I was a kid, I might have expressed how I'd like to hurt people who had hurt me, but it would have never occurred to me to actually bring a gun to school and shoot somebody.

Until recently, there was a line that decent, normal people did not cross. My day was the 1980's and the LA Punk Rock Scene which was notoriously violent for its day. There were scattered rare occurrences of shootings, but guns were not a standard issue of our "non" uniforms. I've owned guns since I was 16. I have only carried my gun on rare occasions and was not comfortable being out in public where I could get caught (and lose my future firearms privilege).


I have had some time to reflect on what was going on with all of us at that time. I was able speak to an old buddy who ran around with me back them. What disturbed me was his rather cold, " What a way to go! Taking out your enemies with you, those jocks really regret picking on them". Since he did not know these people, it wasn't too big of a deal to him. This the sentiment that worries me about the generation right behind us. It appears that there are plenty of teenagers walking around without a conscience. I don't believe my friend really believes what he expresssed about it not a big deal what happened yesterday. That's for another time, so I'll let that slide for now.

At Gigs, there was plenty of fights between skinheads or Punk Rockers, slam dancing, stage dives where people got hurt hitting the floor or others, the loudest music I could imagine, plenty of drugs and beer, hardcore "megawatts" of 1980's aggression and most of all, that we were the center of the universe as the world would end in 1984. "We are the future and we are the last" said one of my favorite bands, The Anti Nowhere League from England. Another League song I listen to and chuckle to is "I hate People". This same motto was mentioned among these outcast kids at the high school.

I've watched lots of coverage and listened to plenty of radio since yesterday. There were reporters and talk show hosts trying to figure out who these "Gothic" kids or "Goths" were. They wordered if they were gangs and if they were organized. The 2 killers may have belonged to this "organization" or this gang of anti-socials. I heard some teenage callers trying to explain this new Gothic Scene. It was really funny stuff. The baby-boomer generation asking the questions din't get any clear answer or descriptions. I was really irritated by this inability to describe these kids. I was climbing the walls by what people were saying about what's Goth is about.


I thought to myself and them bellowed to my friends who were in front of the TV, "They were called Death Rockers back then. They were like Punk Rockers without friends. We thought they were goofy and on the fringe of our powerful, bombastic movement. These guys were gloomy and depressing and their music was too slow for us".

"There's nothing new about these kids! It may be repackaged with new terms, but it's essentially the same old thing. The "Death" in Death Rockers was just a gimmic. On occasion the depression could lead one of them to kill themselves, but most of it was just shock value as it was to the mainstream punk rock scene." Maybe a group of these "Gothics" might dare to break into a mausoleum or go to college and become a mortician. Anti social behavior was the norm and we touted much of the same negative nonsense I heard yesterday. It sounds like these 2 killers were good old "wannabe" types and were not real Goths. It looks like Marilyn Manson and MTV was the extent their exposure to the Gothic World.

here's an example of lyrics I can still recite 15 years later:
Discharge "Visions of War" 
My head is filled with the fear of war
Fear and threat of war
Horrific disturbing visions of war fill my head
Among the maimed and slaughtered, by body lies.

I recall songs I liked from TSOL "code blue" about necrophilia, GBH "time bomb" as name describes , GBH "passenger on the menu" about cannibalism after a plane crash in the snow, GBH "I am hunted" about a man who kills his wife and regrets it while he runs, 4 Skins "chaos" as name subscribes, Angelic Upstarts "shotgun solution" about killing a rotten human being, Buzzcocks "orgasm addict", D.I. "guns", Dead Kennedys "nazi punks f@&k off", The Lewd "hitler's brain", Anti-Pasti "no government" & "six guns", Sex Pistols "Belsen was a Gasser" about the concentration camp, ect.

These all all classic "old school" punk rock from the 1980's and the only music I listened to for years. I still maintain quite a collection of my music of my youth, though I don't really listen to music too much. The moral of the story is I was bombarded by very negative images and ideas in my music and my peers, I was in love with Punk Rock (never officially divorced), lashed out at the world because I was unfullfilled inside, vented my anger in the slam pit (now called moshing) involved myself in self destructive behavior and I managed to survive.

What makes these times different than what we went through is unclear. I remember being knocked down by a stray kid as a mass of slam-dancing kids ran and jumped around to the beat of the music. I remember some other sweaty guy helping back to my feet. I remember the power we felt seeing up to several thousand fellow Punks and Skins lining up to see our great bands play. We were the scary, twisted, pissed-off teenagers before the Gang Bangers became to rule the day. We had our own Gangs like Circle One, The League, The LADS, Suicidal Tendancies, SF SKINS, Bully Boys, LMP, Lords of Destruction (LOD), The Family, OC Skins, ect.

How things change. Some of these phantoms in my memory are now dead, others in jail or doped out, living a life of crime, others are fathers and mothers of kids in elementary school, some are ministers of gospel, some are now wealthy self employed or professionals, and myself an activist/quiet revolutionary/daydreamer/patriot/partisan Conservative Republican with lots of old tattoos on my arms and back.

I don't think I ever lost my conscience and my morale compass when I was doing my thing. I did wrong and I knew it was wrong. When cops hassled us (and boy, did they?), I was mad but I knew we had it coming. I didn't expect people to accept us because we looked like freaks. Our pregnant Punkrockerettes actually had an abortion, gave the baby up for adoption or raised the child instead of putting the baby in a dumpster or down the toilet, we didn't throw our baby brothers or neighbors off 8th story balconies, we didn't rape the girls we wanted to have sex with, we didn't really kill our parents (though we talked tough), we didn't watch our buddies rape and kill a little girl in public bathroom and shrug our shoulders, and we didn't rampage our schools with bombs and guns and kill without remorse. When I was a teenager it was OK to be judgemental. Somebody has to make the call. There are good people and there are evil people in this world. There are good ideas, foolhearty ideas and horrible ideas and not all ideas are equally valid. I hope all manner of mankind are paid in full for their works in this lifetime, I pledge hostility to evil, good will to the decent, I hope to not leave this world worse than when I got here. I think I've got a pretty good grasp of the big picture now. Is this what selling out is about? Humm!!!.......... It's not too bad.


Patrick Henry