Response to Littleton Rant
by Sanjay Marwah

I agree with the author that alienation and insecurity are 'real' and should be the issues discussed. Violence, despite what many would never like to admit, is a form of expression that arises from the need of individuals to be recognized-and therefore out of the stresses and frustrations (and emotions of anger) coming out of ordinary experiences.

The morality of individuals in an individualistic culture like American (growing everywhere) is based on getting people to recognize their acheivements, status, 'hard work', justness of their course of life, and inevitably, the strength of their postion (i.e., a majority or many groups share their position). As the author correctly pinpoints, suburbanites (who tend to think of themselves as the 'enlightened' majority) often think that competition is benign and devoid of racial overtones or free of prejudice.

Blaming the victim is the number one strategy used by them and other major instituions of society (i.e., the justice system, media, even governments, etc.). Competition, as what is supposedly occurring in free markets, is considered essential because it brings out the best in individuals, groups, and institutions. What institutions in society by themselves and as a collective has the power to influence youth: you guessed it, business and corporations. In the end, the Littleton shooters, like everyone, bought the essential materials needed to satisfy their desires and feeling of self-worth. Of course, black youths living in more economically distressed areas, also seek to express their desires (or what their peers and other influential groups are seeking), yet they face the added burden that the mainstream society doesn't think that their desires are justified and/or conform to the majority group views. They hardly get recognized.

On a related note, suburban fears and insecurities are bound to grow, especially in areas with low-paying jobs and where the so-called homogeneous whites feel that these type of jobs are not a temporary phase.

Of course, this is not going to happen overnight and many of the low-income whites themselves are not predominant in suburban areas at this time. This why rural violence by whites seems to be the real trend in these school shootings. Littleton is an exception when viewed from this perspective or it probably resulted because the shooters felt left out, just as some of the rural 'white' youth feel. Finally, going to long already, its no suprise that the anti-government strand of American culture is felt in these school shootings (its more complex than just a united government at all levels as multiple governments compete among themselves in the U.S.). The next step to blaming the victim is blaming the government.