While looking for book recommendations, I saw that Dave Cullen’s Columbine made a list of 10 Best Non-Fiction Books in 2009. I was attracted to the book for a few reasons. Firstly, I prefer reading non-fiction these days, and this book was sure to have real-life action, adventure, and drama. Secondly, when I was a teacher, I had a handful of students that seemed off enough that I did sometimes worry that they could become school attacker types, so I was curious to learn more about what made these particular individuals tick. Thirdly, as someone who was in high school at the time, the incident had a profound effect on my life. My school dealt with numerous bomb threats shortly thereafter and my Spanish teacher went on this unjustified inquisition of all the students who wore trench coats. She wanted to ban trench coats, as if the clothing were the real problem as opposed to the guns and bullying, seeming to misunderstand that her plan to outcast the outcasts further was the real recipe for disaster.

I checked the book out from my local liberry, but not without apprehension. Though my intentions were pure, I was worried that someone would assume I was some wannabe copycat killer and I was studying up on the incident. Previously, I received a long judgmental stare from the stuff liberrian when I checked out Sex for America: Politically Inspired Erotica (I was just scouting for another possible erotica book club selection, but alas, it sucked), so I could only imagine what would happen with Columbine. Fortunately, this time the liberrian didn’t even flinch. Because I was about to fly home for the winter holiday, I tried to preemptively renew it, but someone else had put a hold on it, so I had to give it back before my trip after having only read a few chapters.

A couple months after returning to California, I thought about the book again and contemplated renewing it. As a friend had already pointed out, checking it out once probably already put me on some government watch list (I’m probably on so many by this point), and checking it out a second time would probably set off some red flags. As much as I was embarrassed to check it out again, it was a pretty good book, so I wanted to finish it. I went to pick up Columbine and, fortunately, once again, the liberrian appeared to make no judgment.

Cut to a hour and a half later when I received a text from Stacy. “Did you hear about the shooting at the library?” She had gone to drop a book off and the police were surrounding the premises. Apparently, shortly after I left, a teenager was shot just outside of the liberry.

This is alarming for several reasons.
A. I consider my quaint little town (well, as quaint as a section of Los Angeles can be) to be rather safe.
B. I was just there! I had even lingered outside for a while having a phone conversation where I paused to watch a bunch of young kids in the nearby schoolyard play tug of war.
C. I had just checked out Columbine, so not only was I on a list, perhaps I was a suspect!

I may not have been guilty, but that didn’t stop the paranoia. All the same, I’m going to play it safe at the liberry from now. The next few books I’m going to check out will include Pacifism for Pacifists, Being a Good Person Like You Always Have Been, and The Bible.


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Laura said...

Hey, I may have found something for the erotic book club. It's going to be an easy read (from Cosmopolitan) but I'm not sure if the book is in the library system. Hush by Kate White, it read like it might be a erotic mystery book.??

Kim said...

Did you almost get shot to get Internet for the dumb curriculum project???? I owe you your almost life now!! Great.

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