(Copyright 1999 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

April 26, 1999

--- OPINION ---

What's worse: epidemic violence or apathy?

The Tattoo

Last Tuesday morning, I woke up, took a shower, got
dressed, ate breakfast and headed off to school. After
my classes ended, I returned home to change for work,
where I found my dad watching MSNBC. He told me
that there had been another school shooting. I said,

That's all that went through my head: "Oh."

Not "oh my God, those poor people." Not where, how
or why. Just "oh."

I went to work and didn't really think about it again. I
heard a newsbrief on the radio but I didn't pay much
attention. It wasn't until I got home and heard that as
many as 25 people were dead and the events of the
afternoon were displayed on my television that I
realized what had happened.

Fifteen people are dead, many more are at hospitals,
with parents praying that their child isn't number 16.

The town of Littleton, Colo. is grief-stricken and in
shock. Nearly 1,800 students can't go to school
tomorrow, not because of vacations, but so that
investigators can try to figure out what happened in
their little suburb.

And all I said was, "Oh."

I sat glued to the news. I watched kids like me come
running out of a building, scared and hurt, and I
watched people gather in the streets, hoping to find
their brother, sister, friend or teacher.

After I got the details and realized how bad everything
is out there, I began to develop feelings about it. There
are two things that bother me about it -- first,
obviously, kids are dead and the kids who aren't dead
and the people of this town are living a nightmare, but
what also bothers me is that when I first heard what
happened, it didn't faze me. It did not even faze me.

I heard that kids had been murdered by other kids and
I said, "Oh."

There have been so many instances -- Jonesboro,
Paducah, Springfield -- that when I found out about
the latest one, I apathetically said, "Oh."

I really don't know what is worse, the epidemic of
school violence that is spreading across the country or
the way that it doesn't even bother me to hear about it.