|Historian and author Phil Goodstein|
Arapahoe High School.
Of course, the coverage of the attack on the school, where a student killed himself while gunning for a teacher, did not mention this. On the contrary, amidst the haze of hideously bad journalism, the message was the same as ever: it is outrageous that people in the suburbs act the same as the federal government and the supposedly violent world of the inner-city.
Time and again, the establishment’s answer to outrageous shootings is to demand the disarming of the citizenry. Simultaneously, special police units have ever more weaponry. The Pentagon stages endless terror bombings and assassinations. At least in some inner-city schools, students know enough to carry arms for self-defense. But fighting back is the worst crime imaginable. It might lead the populace to see that it needs to take the initiative in shaping its own destiny, not relying on an ever more violent, intrusive government.
Besides no mention how official state violence fosters a climate where killing enemies is primary policy, the sob stories about the Arapahoe County shooting have zero retrospection on the nature of places like Highlands Ranch. The real estate industry has sold affluent suburbs as places of escape, planned villages in which residents can seemingly shut themselves off from the mundane concerns of everyday urban living.
Denver suburbs especially surged in the 1970s in response to the coercive school-busing program forced on the city by the federal courts. The latter did so with the support of reformers who believed that equal education would automatically result by mixing together students of all backgrounds. Against the chaos that ensued, bringing down much of the quality of Denver Public Schools, the suburbs touted their excellent academies. As the shootings at Columbine and Arapahoe high schools have shown, there have been more murders at the suburban schools than anything in inner-city schools which Democratic Party “reformers” have done their utmost to destroy.
As if this is not enough, the entire thrust of media coverage is to advertise how necessary it is to instill the system’s guilt and religion onto students. The thesis is that psychological disturbances, not social problems, are at the root of personal violence. Of course, when a defendant in a shooting, such as the Aurora Midnight Movie Massacre, pleads not guilty by reason of insanity, prosecutors mock such an explanation. They say nothing, however, about the seemingly omnipresent role of psychologists in the wake of these murders exposing the exceeding tensions and dysfunctions of a thoroughly brutal society.
Until there is an open debate about the culture of violence, fueled by the country’s murderous foreign policy, the killings will continue. That this is an unmentionable topic reflects both the frustration and repression of everyday living. Time and again, residents realize that an escape to the suburbs has been no escape at all. They are still part of a system that makes everything into a commodity while honing its powers of repression against all challengers. Consequently, far from being an aberration, the Arapahoe High School tragedy is another peek at the hideous foundations upon which everyday existence flounders.