The New American High School Normal

When he was in high school,
the most he had to fear was
being “pants-ed” by a gang
of bullies at the local park —
pants tossed high in a tree —
and the humiliation of having
to walk, read run, home in
his underwear. Yesterday,
a teen, at the Santa Fe,
Texas high school where
ten kids died and ten more
wounded in a mass shooting
by a student who had been
bullied over and over,
was asked if it came as a
surprise. Her answer? No.
The utter terror of pants
pulled off and tossed in a
tree? The shrug of a shoulder
at the terror of children shot,
mowed down somewhere be-
tween algebra and gym class —
the new, American high school
normal. A day after the shoot-
ing, the man had to scroll down,
seemingly endlessly like a boring
journey to the center of the
earth, to the bottom of an inter-
net news’ site to find anything
about the debacle, kind of like
reading yesterday’s newspaper,
he guessed.

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