Monday, June 26, 2006

The Arty Winds of Change

Ben and I watched Elephant last night, Gus Van Sant’s movie loosely based on Columbine. Not sure I’ve thought the whole thing through yet, it was done in a very slow-paced, arty way, and most of it was set in the hours before the shootings, none of it at all in the aftermath, so you get to know a bunch of these kids and then they’re just gone, which is probably a lot of the point. I went into seeing the movie having forgotten completely what it was about – I was like, god, this is an awfully lovely Gus Van Sant movie, I kinda like these kids – for some reason I had the mistaken idea that it was maybe going to be like River’s Edge. Then I said to Ben, Oh, no, is this that Columbine movie? And finally they get more into the two boys plotting about the day and stuff, very similar to the real incident. And afterward I was left much as I was when it happened (minus the violent sobbing). How does this happen? How does one boy get to the point in his mind where they’re thinking about this in a really serious way – AND – how do the parents not notice even the moderately obvious signs (less obvious than, you know, hoarding guns and ammo in the garage) that their children are struggling? Then complicate that when the kid meets a like-minded kid? What is the psychology here? I don’t suppose there’s a simple answer to this, but is it about lack of parenting, genetic tendencies, some sort of complex group psychology, what?

Anyway, on a lighter note, Ben set his alarm for six-thirty am last night and since it’s his first Monday after leaving his job for school, I said Why are you getting up so early? He said Cuz I have to get up and go to work... ART work!


teo said...

I think it's important to remember that one reason that kids go that bad is that their families likely have some incredibly complex dynamics at work well prior to the kids doing any specific plotting. So the question of 'why don't the parents notice' has to be considered in the context of the family's development. This is deep stuff and there are no easy answers, and I'm not suggesting parent-blaming here. I'm suggesting that there are millions of elements that lead to the severe dysfunction you are describing, and ONE of the elements is that something went wrong for the kids well before the act took place. And the family is part of that, so the fact that the P's may not have noticed the severe warning signs probably just indicates that they didn't notice other things for a long, long time.

Ben: rock.

chafe said...

Stoked for Ben. Stoked for Ben. I want to see him smile, stoked for Ben.

Hey, is your new e-mail working?

Anne updated her journal finally.