"To entertain, inspire, frighten, teach, and entice as many readers as possible." - Keith Helinski
Wastin' Away Press features Keith Helinski's writings, ranging from short stories online to movie reviews over the years. Also features an assortment of Keith's interests. If you like what you see, check out Wastin' Away Press's official Facebook.
"Let America have its simple pleasures, its cartoon mice, its candy-coated castles, its cults and its technologies, he wanted none of it. The greatest wonder of the world was here, hidden in the hills."
Let me tell you a story. The day after Columbine, I was interviewed for the Tom Brokaw news program. The reporter had been assigned a theory and was seeking soundbites to support it. “Wouldn’t you say,” she asked, ‘that killings like this are influenced by violent movies?” No, I said, I wouldn’t say that. “But what about ‘The Basketball Diaries’?” she asked. “Doesn’t that have a scene of a boy walking into a school with a machinegun?”
The obscure 1995 Leonardo DiCaprio movie did indeed have a brief fantasy scene of that nature, I said, but the movie failed at the box office and it’s unlikely the Columbine killers saw it.
The reporter looked disappointed, so I offered her my theory. “Events like this,” I said, “if they are influenced by anything, are influenced by news programs like your own. When an unbalanced kid walks into a school and starts shooting, it becomes a major media event. Cable news drops ordinary programming and goes around the clock with it. The story is assigned a logo and a theme song; these two kids were packaged as the Trench Coat Mafia. The message is clear to other disturbed kids: If I shoot up my school, I can be famous. The TV will talk about nothing else but me. Experts will try to figure out what I was thinking. Kids and teachers at school will see they shouldn’t have messed with me. I’ll go out in a blaze of glory.”
In short, I said, events like Columbine are influenced far less by violent movies than by CNN, “The NBC Nightly News” and other news media, who glorify the killers in the guise of “explaining” them.
The reporter thanked me and turned off the camera. Of course the interview was never used. They found plenty of talking heads to condemn violent movies, and everybody was happy.
I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”
But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.
But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.
But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.
So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.
"Christ, it didn’t seem to matter. Black or white. Liberal or Conservative. White collar or Blue. Nobody could run shit. And it wasn’t just Detroit. Sacramento, Washington, D.C., Wall Street. The entire country was being run into the ground by a generation infected with incompetence and greed."
My writing is a lot better since I wrote this piece, but my feelings are the same about the subject. I wonder 100/200 years from now when kids will learn how long it took this so-called ‘free country’ for marriage equality to kick in, if they will find the people in this time period as silly as my generation finds the oppression side of slavery/women rights. It’s disturbing to think that despite how far this human race has gone, we still find ways to repeat history over and over and over, despite the fact that we are supposed to learn from history and not repeat.
The first part of this essay will provoke all sorts of emotions. Some may giggle. Others might tear up. Most might find it offensive.
But as Stephen King often mentions, a writer’s job is to write the truth. King might be satirical (and perhaps, a little over-satirical), but it is far from dishonest.
Like all great debates, the gun debate will always be divided. People will either rave this essay for being yet another jab toward ‘gunslingers,’ while the other side of the fence will complain that this is just another liberal whiner.
I urge EVERYONE to read this, though. There’s no sides here. The 2nd Amendment isn’t under attack. This isn’t a discussion of the evils of guns. It’s a discussion of the consistency of evil gun-related tragedies.
The events that occurred December 14th affects this entire nation, and to an even larger extent, the world. Everyone is emotional and has their own opinion about things. And since December 14th, those emotions/opinions has clashed into heated debates.