Documenting Tragedy

Deadly dreams: Do all unhappy high schoolers want to kill their classmates?

Freaks and geeks: Will Rogers and Karl Miller
photo: Carol Rosegg
Freaks and geeks: Will Rogers and Karl Miller

The moral, in a sense, is not that Columbine could have been prevented, but that we should be grateful, in a culture as sprawling and violence-ridden and misfocused as ours, for its not happening, somewhere in America, seven times a week. But this opens a set of questions that the makers of columbinus, despite all their goodwill and good work, have barely begun to adumbrate, let alone explore. Their desire to link the experience at Columbine with the experience of every high school has only brought them to the far bigger challenge of analyzing the society in which such high schools, and such children, can exist. For that, the documents of this one horrifying case provide only a quick glance into the abyss. Tragedy needs to stare more deeply.

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