kayak3 kayak3 at
Fri Apr 30 14:00:37 PDT 1999

EmaChissit at wrote:

Sorry Doug but I can't let this pass. This tale is not so bizaare. Switch the trench coats and goth with long hair and bell bottom pants and you have the story of my years in high school and junior high. I was a part of a similar clique that suffered abuse because of how we looked. We also suffered harrassment for openly opposing the war in Vietnam and for supporting the civil rights movement. Some of the jocks were the leaders in dishing out the abuse. I had friends who were ruffed up by football players because they looked like hippies and were walking past the football field while the football team was practicing. The coach gave them permission and laughed as his players threw my friends to the ground kept pushing them over as they tried to get up. I was punched in the face by jock for verbally defending a friend who was getting verbally abused by him and his friends. So I don't find the story below to be that incredible. The members of the TM may have somehow been racists to some degree but you seem to be over reacting to a story that sounds very credible. You offer no evidence to back up your claim that this is "virulent racism." Why don't we try to stick to what we can verify as the truth instead of jumping to wild speculation just to make an argument. Besides, what if this is an accurate story? If it is then we have a group of kids who have been continuelly abused by some of their peers. When some kids on the fringe who are not really a part of the group go on killing spree, they are demonized by the press. And now we have someone attacking them with these posts accusing them of being racists when it's impossible for her to really know what she is talking about. These kids, being the most vulnerable students, are picked on at school, and them the media. To top it off we then have politically minded people like Emma using them as a dart board. Let's not jump on the media bandwagon of finding the first available scapegoat to blame.

Brad Hatch

> 'Trenchcoat' Member
> Describes 'Pure Hell' And
> Torment On Columbine Campus
> By Susan Greene
> Denver Post Staff Writer
> 4-25-99
> Hell.
> The word has been used so often this week to describe the
> bloody rampage at Columbine High School.
> But one member of Columbine's now-notorious Trench Coat
> Mafia invokes the same image of hell when describing life
> at
> the school before the carnage.
> The 18-year-old, who demanded anonymity, said he was
> taunted
> and terrorized by his schoolmates - so-called jocks who
> called him "faggot,'' bashed him into lockers and threw
> rocks at him from their cars while he rode his bike home
> from school.
> "I can't describe how hard it was to get up in the
> morning
> and face that,'' he said.
> "Hell,'' he continued. "Pure hell.''
> Police repeatedly have questioned the teen about his
> knowledge of the shootings.
> He is one of several mafia members who at once are shying
> away from reporters, but also desperate to have their
> stories heard.
> He and his parents know people will perceive their
> anonymity
> as a sign that he has something to hide or in some way is
> responsible for Tuesday's massacre.
> He's visibly grieving about the tragedy and about what he
> knows are the ties students are suggesting between him
> and
> killers Eric Har ris and Dylan Klebold.
> He said the two seniors weren't even part of the mafia,
> but
> merely friends of one especially charismatic - and, he
> notes, the only violent - member.
> They were on the fringe of the group, the school's most
> outcast, most fringe clique.
> And so, the teen said, his reluctance to speak out stems
> not
> from an association with the shooters, but from the very
> reason his group of loners banded together in the first
> place - out of fear of more ridicule and torment, more
> shoves, more thrown rocks. Or worse.
> "I want to stand up and say this is what I went
> through,''
> he said. "But I'm scared, not just for me, but my
> family.''
> By now, most of America and much of the world have heard
> about Columbine's jocks.
> The student-athletes commonly wear clothes bearing the
> logos
> of sports teams. Another indication is baseball caps with
> visors worn facing forward and carefully rounded.
> Not all jocks tormented him, the teen noted. But he said
> a
> handful of bullies held so much power that most of the
> school emulated them, or at least were too afraid to
> voice
> dissent.
> "If you didn't dress like them, if you walked to school
> or
> rode your bike, if you didn't get into sports and weren't
> athletic, then you were an outcast. It's that simple,''
> he
> said.
> Taunting started with the teen's appearance which,
> without
> compromising his anonymity, is gawky - the painfully
> uneasy
> look of so many male teens teetering between boyhood and
> manhood. He said jocks ridiculed his clothes and his
> black
> trench coat, which his parents bought for him to wear
> with
> suits on special occasions.
> The torment often became vicious.
> While the teen biked home from school, he said, jocks
> would
> "speed past at 40, 50 mph'' and toss pop cans or cups
> full
> of sticky soda at him. Sometimes they threw rocks or even
> sideswiped his bike with their cars.
> He described waking on school days with a knot in his
> stomach and the dread of having to face the humiliation.
> He would avoid certain hallways and even make his way to
> classes outside the school building to escape being
> ridiculed or being bashed against lockers, he said.
> In the cafeteria, he continued, jocks threw mashed
> potatoes
> at him. He would wear the stains for the rest of the
> school
> day.
> But he wasn't the only kid messed with at Columbine.
> Other
> mafia members faced similar troubles. And, he said, he
> knew
> Klebold and Harris were tormented as well.
> The teen speaks about his high school years quietly, but
> angrily. He's visibly withdrawn and says he's depressed.
> But
> he has enough perspective to understand why he joined the
> mafia. It was the only place he could find friends.
> He said the core group of about seven boys - mostly
> socially
> awkward kids, loners - started hanging out in 1996. They
> gradually grew to include more students, boys and girls
> who
> called themselves "The Anachronists'' because of their
> interest in the game Dungeons and Dragons and their
> penchant
> for Goth, short for Gothic, fashions.
> In early 1998, he said, a jock branded them with the name
> Trench Coat Mafia. The group accepted the moniker, hoping
> the symbolism would scare their tormenters and that the
> nefarious aura of a darkly dressed mob would finally give
> them some peace.
> "And it worked,'' the teen said. "They did start leaving
> us
> alone.'' Members apparently found security in numbers.
> They
> hung out together listening to music, watching movies and
> commiserating about their difficulties at school. Many,
> he
> said, were just grateful for the companionship.
> Despite widespread news reports about their obsession
> with
> the sadist music of Marilyn Manson, he said, only one
> member
> really was a fan of the shock-rocker.
> The teen also makes a point of noting the group wasn't
> racist or interested in Nazi history or culture.
> "That's so inaccurate, the image that we were like
> that,''
> he said. "People just want to put labels on us that
> aren't
> true.''
> The teen said Harris and Klebold were less socially
> active
> even than other mafia members.
> >From the outside, he said, they must have seemed part of
> the
> group because of their black trench coats and their
> similar
> Goth style of dress. But, speaking from the inside, he
> said
> they weren't really members. Although they sometimes hung
> with the mafia in Columbine's commons and shared sneers
> at
> the jocks, he recalled, they ate at a separate lunch
> table
> and led very separate lives.
> Harris and Klebold didn't usually don trench coats, he
> added, surmising they wore them on Tuesday because they
> helped hide their guns. Further, he noted, theirs weren't
> really trench coats, but actually Australian dusters -
> not
> authentically Goth at all.
> The teen is clearly rocked by Tuesday's massacre. He
> swallows hard when talking about it, when seeing the
> yearbook photos of his dead schoolmates and teacher
> beamed
> over national TV.
> "I'm not saying what they did was OK,'' he said of Harris
> and Klebold. "But I know what it's like to be cornered,
> pushed day after day.''
> "Tell people that we were harassed and that sometimes it
> was
> impossible to take,'' he told a reporter. "Tell people
> that
> ... eventually, someone was going to snap.''

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