Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What Would You Say.......?

What would you say to Sue Klebold's son (remaining nameless)
if he were still alive today?

This is the very first question in a series of questions asked of me by Maria Paula CastaƱo, a young student from Medellin, Columbia, South America.

Honestly, wow! How should this get answered? Seriously, how would anyone even come close to being able to wrap their head around something like this, much less be coherent, concise, analytical, and realistic in any answer they might come up with?

Seriously, how would you answer this question?

That's the dilemma I'm faced with in this. You see, I'd wager many of us having gone through Columbine as the adults in the room, so to speak, would approach answering this question from a more 'adult' perspective. Or, at least we would try to. Same applies to any person having gone through any mass shooting, school or otherwise.

What does that mean, exactly? Well, to me it means we, as adults, would tend to lecture, or rant, or scream if, and it's a really big if here in this discussion, we're dealing with a child --- in other words, someone under the age of 18 which both the shooters of Columbine were at that time.

That's what adults do with children, right? But this conversation with this individual isn't taking place 'at that time'.

What about getting physical? Would that enter into the equation? Fact is, at the time this conversation is taking place two things factor in:

1. He's gotta be in jail which would mean there are guards watching for any sign of a physical altercation....you know, that reality thing?
2. He's bigger than most folks to begin with. Would it be a good idea to try and attack him, then? Seriously?

Or, what about doing as Sue Klebold tried to do with her son, this shooter of Columbine....reason with him, care for him, nurture him? Perhaps even be firm with him?

Children's reactions, on the other hand, often times result in an eye roll accompanied by a stomp or six with the foot and an abrupt turning on their heel with multiple very heavy and exaggerated stomps as they exit your presence in a snit because we're being so condescending toward them! Boys and girls. Young women and young men. They ALL do it. Don't even try to tell me they don't!

All one need do to see how any of that might work is to watch the interview with Sue Klebold and how she talks about her son leaving for school on that fateful day, April 20, 1999. Or how she talks about their interaction with each other in the days, weeks, and months leading up to this massacre for that matter.

We, as adults, are supposed to be the more mature ones in these types of situations. The children, by their very actions, often times demonstrate they aren't mature enough to actually hear what is being said to them. They are forced to listen, but do they really, truly hear what's being said?

Why, then, would a conversation with this individual be any different, really? The only thing I can think of is that he's older....an adult, at least an adult age wise. Reality might even dictate that to go into such a conversation with an expectation that he will just sit there and passively take anything and everything I might have to throw at him without.....well, you get the picture. At least I hope you do.

If this shooter of Columbine were still alive, and any of us were given the chance to say something to him, would we take into consideration this individual is now an adult in the room, too --- that perhaps over time he's had time, lots of time, to contemplate his life and come to realizations and discoveries of his own that have led him to regret what he and his accomplice did on April 20, 1999?

Or, perhaps he's used that time to revel in it, and is now taking some perverse pleasure in watching his protagonist squirm? Think about that....no, really. Think about it as a possibility.

You see, this isn't just about me or you getting a chance to let this individual know how we feel. Not at all. It's also a chance for us to listen, and to actually hear, what he might have to say. Does that make any sense at all?

Would we even want to hear what he has to say? After all, he's the monster in the room, isn't he? Or are we going to be the monster in the room toward him? It is our choice after all. That is another one of those simple realities that we sometimes don't really want to be forced to confront in ourselves or in the persona we seek to show to others.

Would we go off on him? Would we yell and scream at him in our own effort to try and get him to realize, to comprehend, and to accept responsibility for what he's done and the heartache and heartbreak he caused so many to endure?

I'd wager there are some of us who would do this....in a heartbeat. But, taking into consideration the fact this individual is not a child, this individual is likely behind bars for the rest of his life, and this individual conceivably may not have any remorse whatsoever for what he and his accomplice did, would our rant or rave or screaming make even one little iota of difference to him?

The original question asked of me was to express what I might have to say to this shooter of Columbine. That's really tough because I'd have questions to ask, too. After all, I am an individual in search of answers; answers to questions that, in all likelihood, this shooter of Columbine will be more than reluctant to even try and answer. I'd even go so far as to posit he would have a great deal of difficulty providing any coherent logical answers that made any sense to anyone, much less to me, even if he were willing to try and do so.

So, this is a one...on...one scenario. I'm purportedly there to say something and to have something said in return.

I know, I know. The original question didn't pose that last part, but I think it's incredibly important to include it in any imaginary meeting that might take place. After all, conversations are supposed to involve two way dialogue, are they not? Remember, this is not a media interview. It's a one on one conversation. That, by its very nature, must involve allowing this individual to speak, too, does it not?

With that in mind, what should be said to start off the conversation?

Perhaps nothing should be said....nothing at all.

Yes, you saw that right.

Perhaps nothing should be said. Perhaps just sitting there in silence waiting....waiting for this individual to say something instead might be the best way to go.

Perhaps the onus for saying anything, anything at all, should rest upon this individual's shoulders instead of mine.

By approaching this one on one sit down in this way, perhaps it might just be possible to call out the BS from this individual when he opens his mouth to say something, whether it's an excuse or a rationalization for what he did to somehow justify his and his accomplice's actions when they made the conscious decision to wreak such havoc on so many people that day....or perhaps it'll be something else entirely that he has to say.

I indicated what comes out of his mouth could very well be BS.

But, there's also the possibility it might not be....that he might actually have something personal and introspective to share.

In the end who knows, really, what he might have to say? Sad thing is we'll never know.

Because we'll never know, then I can't really say with any degree of certainty at all that one singular method in approaching this individual one on one might be better than another.

I do, however, know the simple reality is this individual, by taking his own life after having done the deeds he did, took away any opportunity for those directly affected to experience even a modicum of closure. By taking his own life, he also prevented any modicum of an answer as to why he and his accomplice did what they did.

Regardless of what we see in the incident final reports, books that have been written (and they are many), the news media, rumors and speculation, or any other plethora of viable sources on this issue, the simple reality is we'll never truly know why the two of them did what they did.

Would it be safe to assume many of us would go into such a conversation with that singular question....that question of why first and foremost on the tip of our tongue and at the ready? Would that be first and foremost in our minds? That's the burning question I've been struggling with for so very many years now....why? Why did you do it?

However, given the fact I do not have a single clue as to where this individual's mental state might be at that particular moment in time, I'd have to seriously look at another possibility, as well: Might he break out laughing at that singular question....that question of why?

I'm being totally serious here. Would it be out of the realm of possibility? If you doubt this for one second, just think about the so-called 'Basement Tapes' and the lunatic fringe the two shooters of Columbine were trying very hard to personify!

If that were to happen, if I were to be laughed at for asking that simple question of why, and he were to laugh at me, I do not honestly know how I would react. It might be safe to say, the conversation might not end all that well.

The reason I say this is because just talking about Columbine is still visceral, raw, emotional. If the chance presented itself to be able to confront this individual one on one and he chose to laugh at me, which cannot be ruled out, those emotions might result in me going for his throat if I were to allow those emotions to dictate my behavior. But what would that accomplish, really?

So, I choose to go about answering the original question in as rational and emotionless a manner as is humanly possible....for me.

Please don't get me wrong here. The visceral anger, the raw emotions surrounding this trauma are still there. They are deep seated in my psyche. I acknowledge that fact. I also accept that fact. That's also why, when I saw the graphic I'm sharing below, I chose the path outlined in the quote presented as my answer to the original question asked by Maria instead of allowing that anger, that raw emotion to dictate how I would interact with this individual shooter of Columbine.

Some may find this answer to be fluff. Some may find it unrealistic. Some may find that it resonates with them.

Ultimately, what matters to me is that it most closely represents how I choose to try very hard to view both what this particular shooter of Columbine did and what I would share with him, not say to him, if we met one on one....face to face.

To be very clear, I say share with him because that's what I would try very hard to do. The reality of saying something to him would be like talking at him. He, like most people, would listen, but he probably wouldn't hear what's being said. He'd be listening in order to respond.

Bottom line is if I were to approach him as if he were a child to be lectured, I have no doubt whatsoever that he would simply tune me out or argue vehemently with me.

With that, and after a very long narrative to get to this point, here's my answer to the original question as taken from a Caroline Myss quote:

That....that right there, speaks more to me, personally, than anything I've seen so far in all my random wanderings in search of answers to questions that simply cannot be answered.

In reality, answering the original question posed by Maria is a way for all of us, you and me, to approach our own issues with this singular event that altered so many lives irrevocably and forever.

And, probably even more importantly, it goes directly toward how we choose to actually address those issues....

No comments:

Post a Comment