Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Scattered and Bloody

As 24-hour news stories go, I missed it.

I lost hours of my life to hanging chads, to O.J.'s glove, to a girl named Monica and unmentionable things one can do with cigars (so sorry for that one, kids), but I totally missed one of the biggies. I went to Relief Society one night where somebody, in the opening prayer, asked God to comfort those in the school shooting in Colorado and I said "Amen," opened my eyes and asked the ladies next to me, "What school shooting?"

By the time I tuned in to the events at Columbine High School, they had become a somewhat coherent story, with a who, what, when and where. But, as documented by Dave Cullen in his book, Columbine, to the people in the middle of the drama, it was a far more confusing event.

To the students trapped inside the school, it was a hunkering down in classrooms as violent noises erupted from somewhere down the hall. It was calling the news station on their cell phones and watching the anchors up on the classroom TVs talk to them.

To the police and SWAT teams assembled around the perimeter of the school, it was a foggy puzzle. How many assailants were in there? Fleeing students gave conflicting stories. "Guys in trench coats." "Guys in t-shirts." "Guys in hats." It sounded like an army, roving about with unpredictable aim and motive.

To the friends of the assailants, it was a series of lightbulb moments, when they strung together clues that they had overlooked recently in Eric and Dylan's behavior. It was the discovery that they might have aided the attack. Weren't they there when the murderers bought the guns, the bomb materials? Was that what Eric and Dylan had planned to do with these weapons?

To the parents gathered at a local elementary school, it was a long wait for the list of survivors to appear. And to some of those parents, it was an all-day wait with no word until they were finally herded into a room with comforting phrases, and maybe even some doughnuts, and finally told the bad news.

To the parents of the murderers, it was an awful awakening to their own cluelessness, for which I don't blame them, having been a clueless parent myself. It was the first day of the rest their lives, now marred as they bore the brunt of the public's anger.

Cullen devotes several chapters to the psychology of the killers, and a few more to the suits and countersuits that started flying once the initial shock wore off. Those chapters were tough to slog through. Thank goodness for other chapters documenting how the widowed and the severely injured picked up the pieces of their lives.

But enough about horror. Let's talk about brownies instead. I think you will find Favorite Frosted Brownies difficult to resist.

The woman who submitted the recipe likes to serve it in a Valentine dinner for her sweetie. We lacked a special occasion, but that's never stopped us before.