(Sandwiched between the 1999 Columbine massacre and 9/11/2001, America was getting its first taste of stateside terrorism. Though the frightening violence seems to have resurfaced with the Virgina Tech slaughter two years ago, the carnage at a retirement home in North Carolina last week, the mass murders at an immigrant-outreach program for new American citizens in Binghamton, N.Y. and the assassination of three brave police officers in Pittsburgh responding to a domestic dispute in the last two days, the horrific attacks reached epidemic proportions a decade ago. Middle schools and high schools became the battleground for a dysfunctional revolution, launched by a cadre of teenage guerrillas-in-the-midst of psychopathic implosion. I wrote this essay in 2001, after a bloodbath at Santana High School in Santee, Ca. Fifteen-year-old Charles Andrew Williams shot 15 people. Two of them died. He is now serving a sentence of 50 years-to-life. This is his story.)
"...Nothing will drive us away/ we can be heroes/
just for one day..."
-David Bowie, Heroes
March 9, 2001
Your name is Charles Andrew Williams. You are fifteen. Correction. You were fifteen. On March 5, at 9:25 a.m., you became timeless. Immortalized. Infamous. When you went on a shooting rampage which killed two people and injured 13, you lost your age. You lost your name. And you lost your identity. Now you're reduced to a human jigsaw. Your life story has been scattered about and snapped into place by the media. And the pieces still don't fit.