Rant & Rave

By Darryl Law

Tuesday, May 4, 1999

High school
no place for
fear, loathing

After getting two hours of sleep in 48 hours, I decided to jump online and read the news from home. "Baywatch" here, University of Hawaii volleyball there, and then what do I find? I see the first headline of the Saturday newspaper on the Internet, "Colorado Shooting Fallout."

I'd already gotten a lot of information about the shooting up here in Denver, so I wondered how the story was being covered in Hawaii.

What I saw was, "Some isle students make threats and refer to the massacre, police say." Suddenly, I was astounded. This kind of nonsense goes on back home too? I understand that there are a lot of sick, sick people in the world. However, I didn't think that this plague had spread to my good old home town. How could anyone, let alone some mere high school kids, even pretend to make comments about harming other students at school? It was completely mind boggling.

The school shooting seemed to be the result of teasing that one group of kids endured from another group of kids. Pure and simple teasing, the "jocks" of the school picking on the "dorks." I also hear that this was a racial incident, with certain prejudices and stereotypes flung back and forth.

There was an article in the paper last week about this guy who went to Columbine last year and is now on a full sports scholarship to Colorado University-Boulder. This guy talked about how he knew one of the two killers. He talked about sitting next to him in algebra class and how they talked and occasionally consulted one another on math problems.

The article went on about how the athlete and killer are two very famous people. But the question was raised: Which one will be remembered more?

What took me aback was that the jock went on to say, "I used to own that school."

What does that mean? Are people so cocky that they can say, "well, I used to own that school"? Is this something that is going on in Hawaii? Are there "cool" students running around claiming that they are the sole proprietors of their high school, doing as they please, even if it means running over some people who seem to be a little different?

Conversely, are there those "losers" who are out there plotting to completely annihilate an entire school because they are being bullied?

I think I used to own the school when I was in high school. There were cool people and jocks. There were band geeks and there were those who just studied. I was part of every one of these groups. I played sports and I hung around the cool kids. I ate lunch with the smart kids and I played in the band and danced hula.

I guess I was growing up in the good old days in Hawaii, way back in the early '90s, a time when these kinds of things didn't happen.

What causes these senseless acts of violence and what makes other students react by copying killers?

Ignorance is rampant in today's society. I developed a feeling of disgust every day over the past week reading the daily updates on new evidence and funerals.

Then, I read about how kids back home imitated the killers' dress, thinking it was funny or just because ... I don't think that the words that I would use are appropriate for printing.

I guess Hawaii is changing. Maybe I'm living in a sheltered little world, where Hawaii is always a nice 80 degrees, with trade winds and that aloha spirit felt by everyone.

Darryl Law, a graduate of Iolani High School,
is a sophomore at the University of Denver.

Rant & Rave is a Tuesday Star-Bulletin feature
allowing those 12 to 22 to serve up fresh perspectives.
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