The Aftermath of Columbine.
He grew up in Littleton and had fond memories of Columbine.
“Fond memories” are those that are warm or make a person
feel good (To be fond of a person is to like them quite a lot).
Columbine is a crappy school in the middle of a bunch of crappy houses.
“Crappy” is a somewhat crude adjective meaning bad, of poor
quality, or more colloquially, shitty (Crap is another word for shit).
They found a way to take out their anger at being different
in Littleton, and turn it not into carnage, but into a cartoon.
If you “take out your anger” on a person, you blame them and direct your negative emotions at them. “Carnage” is great violence and bloodshed in which lots of people are killed.
“It’s Sunday morning in our great little white-bread, redneck mountain town.”
If a town is “white-bread,” it is populated mainly by white people, and generally conservative white people. “Redneck” is a negative insult word for a conservative and uneducated white person, often from a small town in one of the Southern states in the US.
I had to take the math test to get into honors math in 7th grade.
An “honors” class is one in which all the students are thought to be very smart or academically advanced, at least compared to others in the school.
They’re like, “Don’t screw this up…or you won’t get into
honors math in 7th grade…and you’ll just die poor and lonely.”
Note the use of the filler word “like,” which has no grammatical value but is common among young people. “To screw up” something is to do it very badly or even in a way that it causes a lot of damage or problems.
The teachers, counselors and principals don’t help things.
A “counselor” is an advisor, or in this case, a person who helps guide students. A “principal” is the person in charge of running a school.
They scare you into conforming and doing good in school,
by saying if you’re a loser now, you’re going to be a loser forever.
“To conform” is to try and do things just like everyone else is, so that others will be more likely to accept you. In this case, a “loser” is a student who is seen as socially awkward, different, or more colloquially, the opposite of “cool.”
Eric and Dylan, people called them ‘fag.’
A strong insult word for a homosexual or gay person. Avoid using it.
You wish someone could have grabbed them
and said “Dude, high school is not the end of…”
“Dude” has become a very common way for young people
to address each other. An interesting word, but very slangy.
They just beat it in your head as early as 6th grade, “don’t fuck up…”
“To beat something into a person’s head” is to try and convince them of something by saying the same thing, over and over again. “To fuck up” something is a very vulgar version of screw up, meaning to do it very badly, often to the point of causing great damage or harm.
Of course all the dorks in high school go on to do great things
and the really cool guys are back in Littleton as insurance agents.
A “dork” is a slang word for a socially awkward, shy or unpopular person. “Cool” is a common slang word for good or excellent, and if used to describe a person, it means someone who’s much liked and popular.
It still sucks being a teenager and it really sucks going to school.
If something “sucks,” it is bad or awful. Crude, colloquial and common.
I got picked on by bastards who hate me, and the principal is a dick.
If people “pick on” a person, they try to harass or even threaten them, and generally make them feel bad. A “bastard” is a crude word for a mean or abusive man. The “principal” of a school is the administrative person who runs it. A “dick” is a common slang word for a jerk, idiot, ass, etc. (and in other contexts, it’s a slang word for a penis).
Schools nation-wide have extended zero-tolerance policies,
suspending and expelling students for all kinds of behavior….
“To extend” something is to spread it, stretch it, or make it larger. A “zero-tolerance policy” is a decision to not allow the slightest violation of a law (so, for example, if a student is caught with just one marijuana cigarette, they are kicked out of school). To “suspend” a student is to not allow them to go to school for a certain period of time, and to “expel” a student is to kick them out of school so that they can never attend again.
….considered unruly or warning signs of violence to come.
If a student’s behavior is “unruly,” it is defiant, undisciplined or hard to control. A “warning sign” is some event or act that seems to suggest that there may be something dangerous or bad that will happen in the future.
This 8 year old was fooling around with a friend when he
pointed a breaded chicken finger at a teacher and said ‘pow-wow.’
If two people are “fooling around,” they are playing or acting in a not serious way. “To point” a stick at a person it to aim it at them, or put the head of the stick in their direction. If a food is “breaded,” it is often cooked in oil and bread crumbs (tiny pieces of bread). “Pow wow” is a child’s way of making the sound a gun makes.
This student…spent a month out of classes, sent home for dying his hair blue.
“To dye” your hair is to turn into a different color.
A Michigan high school honors student may be
expelled late today at a high school board hearing.
An “honors student” is a student who has received among the best grades of his class. A “board hearing” is an official meeting, in this case involving staff, teachers and students, to decide if a student should be expelled.
17 year old Jeremy Hicks wore a Scottish bagpiper’s outfit to his Junior prom
that included a plaid kilt, a feathered hat and a knife known as a Skein dhu.
The “Junior prom” is a formal end-of-the-year dance for Juniors in a high school (A junior is one year younger than a Senior). Note that the rest of the vocabulary has to do with Scottish clothes and customs; A bagpipe is a musical instrument, a kilt is a skirt for men, and a Skein dhu is a knife.
There are little time bombs out there, ticking, waiting to go off.
If a bomb ticks, it makes a tick-tock sound
like a clock, and if it “goes off,” it explodes.
Students have been arrested for talking about or planning plots of their own.
A plot is a secret plan to do something illegal, immoral or dangerous.
It’s almost like guerilla warfare.
A type of war in which there is no front where armies face each other,
but instead where soldiers hide among the civilian population and strike quickly before running away.
Having a well conceived and strictly enforced dress
code can dramatically improve the safety of a school.
If a plan is “well-conceived,” the original idea is considered good and possible. If a law is “strictly enforced,” people who break it are always punished for having done so. A “dress code” is a set of rules that tell people what they are allowed to wear in a particular place, such as in a school or restaurant.
Having a lax policy about dress makes it easy for a student to conceal
a weapon and makes it difficult to identify intruders on campus.
If a policy is “lax,” it is casual, or not very strict or severe. “To conceal” something is to hide it, often under one’s clothes. “To identify” a person is to find out exactly who they are and an “intruder” is a person who enters a place where they are not allowed to be.
A dress code can reduce weapons violations, relieve tension between gangs, reduce disciplinary infractions and improve the atmosphere of a school.
“To relieve tension” is to reduce the anger or hostility between two or more people. A “gang” is a group of people who often commit crimes together or cause lots of trouble. “Disciplinary infractions” are violations of school rules or laws.
Our policy requires that students tuck in their shirts.
“To tuck in” a shirt is to put the bottom of the shirt behind and underneath the top of your pants (Note that you can tuck in the
sheets of a bed).
Our students may not wear baggy pants or
colors or insignia associated with gang activity.
If pants are “baggy,” they are too big and hang down off a person’s body.
An “insignia” is any kind of drawing or symbol that could be associated with another person, group or organization.
This policy was a collaborative effort.
To “collaborate” on a project is to work with another person on it,
and thus a collaborative effort is one made with two or more people.
Heavy-metal subculture…South Park, video games…Satan.
Heavy-metal is a type of loud rock music and a subculture is a group of people whose ethnic background, religious beliefs or strong interests put them apart from the rest of society. South Park is a popular TV cartoon for adults. Satan is another name for the devil.
This is….the sickest group ever produced by a mainstream record company.
If a company is “mainstream,” its behavior is considered
normal or acceptable by the majority in society.
The entire focus on why the shooting occurred
was because the killers listened to Marilyn Mansion.
The “focus” of a conversation or debate is the part
or precise issue that is most discussed or debated.
There were protests from the religious right.
In the US, the “religious right” refers to conservative Christians who are against, among other things, homosexuality, abortion and pornography.
Some will be so brash to ask if we believe those who listen
to Marilyn Manson will go out and commit violent acts.
If a person is “brash,” they are very assertive or forward,
and not interested in being diplomatic or overly polite.
In the end, I’m sort of a poster boy for fear.
If a person is a “poster boy” for a particular political cause or topic, their life has become so connected to that issue in the public mind that they have become a symbol of it.
I think that’s really ironic that nobody said that maybe
the President had an influence on this violent behavior.
In this case, if a situation is “ironic,” there is a big difference between
the actual results of a series of events and the normal or expected results.
That’s not the way the media want to take it and spin it.
If a person or the media “spin” an issue, they try to present it in
such a way that will influence people to think they want them to.
You’re being pumped full of fear.
In this case, “pumped” is another word for filled.
Cut to commercial, buy the Acura, buy the Colgate.
A well known brand of car and a well known brand of toothpaste.
If you got pimples, the girl’s not going to fuck you.
A “pimple” is a small reddish bump on the skin, often filled with pus. Pimples are the enemy of teenagers around the world. “To fuck” someone is to have sex with them. Extremely crude, and common.
It’s a campaign of fear and consumption. That’s what I think it’s all based on.
In this case, a “campaign” is a series of planned events that are designed to sell a product or an idea. “Consumption” is the act of consuming, using or buying various products. If a plan is “based on” an idea, that idea is the foundation for the plan.
That’s really as simple as it can be boiled down to.
If a complicated idea is “boiled down to” something simple, it has been reduced to that in order to present it to others as clearly as possible.
Why did they do it? Exploring the roots of American Violence.
What’s bowling class? :: An elective you can take for a gym credit.
An “elective” is a class that students can take but are not required to take. “Gym” is one way of referring to any high school class involving sports or physical education, such as tennis or swimming.
What were Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold like? :: Weird. Not very social.
“Weird” is an excellent word meaning strange, odd or bizarre. If a
person is not very “social,” they are shy and don’t like to talk to others.
Did they just chuck the balls down the lane?
“To chuck” a ball is to throw it, often with great force.
Why wasn’t anyone blaming bowling for warping
the minds of Eric and Dylan to commit the evil deeds?
“To warp” a person’s mind is to bend or twist it in a harmful or destructive way. “Evil deeds” are individual acts that cause others
great harm and suffering.
Was it not just as plausible as blaming Marilyn Manson?
If something is “plausible,” it is possible or deserving of belief.
The home of sinister Goth music.
“Sinister” is an excellent and powerful adjective meaning evil, or perhaps horribly dangerous or destructive. “Goth music” is a type of loud rock music in which the song lyrics often are about magic and death.
Many people believe it’s the break-up of the family unit
that caused so many wayward youth to turn to violence.
The “break-up of the family unit” refers to the fact many American families have split apart because of divorce and other social problems.
A “wayward youth” is a young person who is constantly getting into trouble because they refuse to be restrained or disciplined and recklessly do whatever they want.
Are we homicidal in nature?
A “homicidal” person is one who is likely to commit a lot of murders.
They don’t have people who snap and go on murderous rampages.
If a person “snaps” psychologically, they suddenly become extremely angry and violent. A “rampage” is a course of reckless or violent behavior for a certain period of time.
How about a British soccer riot? Those aren’t Quakers there.
A “riot” is a violent act of disorder by many people, often in the form of a physical fight between protesters and the police. “Quakers” are a small group of Christians who practice a strictly non-violent life.
They have alienated youth.
If a person feels “alienated,” they feel disliked
and separated from others in society.
What is so radically different?
In a political or social context, “radically” means extremely.
They were afraid of being persecuted.
“To persecute” a person is to harm or even physically attack or imprison them, often because of their political beliefs or ethnic background.
They were greeted by savages and they got scared again.
A “savage” is a wild, violent or uncivilized person.
You’d think that wiping out a race of people would calm them down.
Instead they got frightened of each other, so they burned witches.
“To wipe out” a group of people is to completely destroy them. “Frightened” is another word for scared, and a “witch” is a mythical, ugly old woman with magical powers who often flies on a broom handle.
They passed a 2nd Amendment that said every white man could keep his gun.
The Second Amendment of the US Constitution (An Amendment is an official addition to a document) says that the people have “the right to bear arms,” which is an 18th century way of saying the right to have guns.
I mean zero dollars. Nothing, nada, zip.
“Nada” is a well known Spanish word that means
nothing, and in this context, “zip” also means nothing.
The slaves started rebelling, there were
uprisings, ‘ol master’s head got chopped off.
“To rebel” against something is to fight back against it. An “uprising” is a violent rebellion of one group of people against another, or against the state. In the 18th century, slaves had to call their owners “master.”
“To chop off” a person’s head is to cut it off with a knife.
When white people heard of this, they were freaking out.
A slangy phrasal verb meaning to get very scared, upset or emotional.
Just in the nick of time came Samuel Colt invented the first weapon
ever that could be fired over and over without having to reload.
“In the nick of time” is an old interesting expression which means “just
in time.” When you “reload” a gun, you open it up to put bullets in it.
The freed slaves took no revenge.
“To take revenge” against a person is to hurt or harm
them in some way after they have mistreated you.
In 1871, the same year that the Ku Klux Klan became an illegal
terrorist organization, another group was founded, the NRA.
A racist and horrible group that terrorized black people.
They were infamous for wearing sheets over their heads.
Of course they had nothing to do with each other and this is just a coincidence.
A “coincidence” is the occurrence of events that happen at the same time that seem to have some connection to each other, but in fact do not.
The other group shot and lynched black people.
“To lynch” a person is to kill them by mob or group violence,
often by hanging, without a trial or legal protections.
All hell broke loose, and white people had a major freaking fear meltdown.
If “all hell breaks loose,” disorder and chaos occur. “Freaking” is a less vulgar alternative to “fucking.” If a person has a “meltdown,” they lose control of themselves emotionally and often start to panic.
Finally, they were safe and secure and snug as a bug.
If a person is “snug as a bug,” they are happy and comfortable,
perhaps lying under a warm blanket on a cold night.
And everyone lived happily after.
The three words that end lots and lots of children’s stories.
What’s he up to? What are you trying to pull?
“What are you up to?” is a common and slangy way of asking “what are you doing?” In this context, “to pull” something is to try and accomplish or achieve it. Very slangy, and not that common.
Remember all the Y2K scares…or the Africanized bees?
Y2K refers to the “Year 2000 problem” that was supposed to shut down all the world’s computers at the end of the last century. “Africanized killer bees” are a type of very aggressive bee.
Remember when someone hid a razor in an apple for Halloween?
A “razor” is a sharp blade that is used for shaving. “Halloween” is the October 31st holiday in which children dress in costumes and go to neighbor’s houses asking for candy.
Kids were no longer to go trick or treating in a stranger’s home.
To go “trick or treating” is to go asking for candy during Halloween
(A “trick” is something that is made to fool or deceive a person, in this case perhaps, a piece of wood that only looks like candy. A “treat” is anything that gives great joy or happiness, especially candy).
A fox darted out of the woods and attacked his riding mower.
If an animal “darts out” from somewhere, it suddenly appears,
running very quickly. A lawn “mower” is a machine that cuts grass.
A warning about a popular weight-loss
supplement; what you don’t know may kill you.
A “supplement” is a pill that is taken to complete what you need in
your normal diet, when you are not getting all you need from food.
An escalator can mangle you or a loved one.
An “escalator” is a moving staircase (often found in big stores with lots
of floors), and “to mange” is a violent verb meaning to seriously hurt by cutting, crushing, tearing or pulling parts of a person’s body.
Keep a low profile.
This means to behave in a quiet and restrained
way, so that people will not notice you.
One in five Americans suffers some sort of mental disorder;
The Surgeon General pleads with people to seek help now.
A “mental disorder” is an emotional or psychological problem.
The “Surgeon General” is the government’s highest ranking doctor.
“To plead” is to request or ask for something with great passion.
“To seek” something is to look for it.
The Justice Department did issue a blanket alert…
it was in recognition of a general threat we received.
The “Justice Department” is the division of the federal government that deals with law enforcement. “To issue” a statement is to release it to the press or people. A “blanket alert” is a general warning with few actual details, and “in recognition of” means because of, or due to.
Given the attitude of the evildoers, it may not be.
A funny little word, used constantly by President Bush,
to refer to people who do evil or horrible things.