Welcome to the Jungle!

Guns, Kids, and The Brave New World

Michael J. Matt
EDITOR, The Remnant

March 31, 2001

What to do with all the guns? That’s the question. Perhaps it’s time to say enough’s enough! What with so many school shootings, so many murders, so many suicides—all involving guns—maybe it’s time to simply outlaw them all, once and for all. After all, we do have a problem in our country, and when Andy Williams strolled into Santana High this past month and began blowing away everyone in range, we were all reminded once again just how serious our problem is. This time it was Andy Williams, but what difference does the name make. It’s just another gun-toting tot, shooting up his classmates. Tomorrow it will be Billy Jones; next week, Johnny Smith. It’s not going to stop. Only the names of the shooters will change.

Where did Andy get his gun? Clearly, there are just too many guns in the world today! Why, had it not been for that gun, two children would still be alive and, rather than being in jail, little Andy Williams would be free to go to school, attend classes, and do all the things that normal children do in America today.

A Normal Kid

Andy or Billy or Johnny (pick your favorite gun-slinging youngster) would have gotten up tomorrow morning—like a thousand other mornings—to the voice of his stepdad telling him to get a move on. The sun never rises before Billy does. Ever since he was a child, he’s been being roused at 5:00 AM. Even when he was as young as three, his real dad used to throw his covers aside to get him up on those cold winter mornings. There would be just enough time for a Pop Tart and a juice box before Baby Billy would be whisked off to daycare. Nine hours later, his mommy would arrive—exhausted from her day at the office—to pick him up. Billy can’t remember a time when he wasn’t being carted off at the crack of dawn to that little brick building behind the chain-link fence.

After the divorce, Ted moved in; Billy was just seven years old when Dad moved out. Now his dad has a new girlfriend; Billy is allowed to visit him from time to time during the summers.

Anyway, these days stepdad Ted drives Billy to the bus stop on his way to work every morning. Billy doesn’t mind the drive. With his headphones, he starts his day with a little help from Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails—his two favorite rock groups.

Ted doesn’t say much. He’s real busy with work and all. Besides, Ted always listens to the Beatles on the morning drive. Ted and Billy ride in the same car every morning, but it’s pretty obvious that these two are in very different worlds. They never talk. Billy hates the Beatles.

So, it’s off to school. Every day is like the last. Billy learns about global warming and saving the rain forests in his Ecology class; it’s always hot in California…maybe the earth is burning up, Billy doesn’t know. In fact, Billy doesn’t care.

Billy’s just a normal, American kid.

His Civics class has been studying the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision, and the liberation of women; Roe vs. Wade bores Billy. But Marilyn Manson has a song about an aborted fetus in a coffee can. Billy thinks that’s a pretty cool song.

During Human Sexuality class, Billy again learns about alternative lifestyles. Last Tuesday a gay man visited the class; he held an interactive seminar in which everyone in Billy’s class learned about prophylactic application for the gay activities; the guy’s name was Blake.

Today, during Sociology class, the people from Make the Peace will have an hour-long session dedicated to ending hatred. They’ll babble on about Columbine and then show a video of kids crying after the shooting. After the video, the class will be asked to express themselves. All the girls will get a chance to stand up and talk about how they’re the ones to make the peace. But because new studies show that boys are three times more likely to raise their hands in class than girls are, Billy’s teacher has been dissuading boys from answering too many questions. During the session, most of the boys pretend to be asleep anyway; Billy listens to Marilyn on his earphone.

He’s just a normal kid, and this is just a normal public school.

In between classes, Billy hangs out with the three guys from his “posse.” They all wear black leather jackets and white face makeup. They’re the only people Billy can talk to anymore. They’re from divorced homes too, and most of them have seen Marilyn in concert…something Billy plans to do as soon as possible.

Next week the people from D.A.R.E. are coming to Billy’s school. They’re going to give some more lectures about drugs and how everyone needs to talk about drug prevention. Billy and his dudes like to smoke a little pot before the D.A.R.E. sessions get under way. It’s risky, but it gives them something to do. They like to be what they call “generic individuals.”

In the fifth grade, Billy actually got busted for smoking a joint. He got really mad when someone ratted on him. That’s why he was sent to his anger-management classes, and that’s also why his psychiatrist prescribed Zoloft for a few months. He had spent two years on Ridilan when he was a kid, so the Zoloft was no big deal. The therapy sessions were what really bugged Billy. For an hour every Wednesday and Friday, he had to sit down with Ms. Stark and talk about getting in touch with his feminine side and managing the “hills and valleys” of his mood swings. “Masculine stereotyping has heavily influenced Billy; he’s not responsive to appropriate behavioral modifications; doesn’t deal with his anger in a positive manner”—that’s what Ms. Stark told Billy’s guidance counselor. Whatever!

Anyway, that was years ago. Billy’s all grown up now. He knows everything there is to know about everything, especially sex—he learned it all in school. They teach all the dirty stuff now; it’s supposed to stop the spread of STDs. Billy thinks that’s funny too. Sexual “stuff” is about the only thing he does learn a lot about in school. But Billy’s on the short side, and he has a terrible problem with acne. Very few girls even talk to him. He doesn’t care; he likes listening to Ice T and Snoop Doggy Dog, because they always rap about beating up “the bitches.” Billy thinks that’s awesome.

Billy’s just a normal American kid who likes normal American pop music.

“Maybe you’re gay, Billy.” Says Mr. Jonas, Billy’s guidance counselor. Everyone knows Mr. Jonas is himself a homosexual. “Maybe that’s why you’re displaying such anti-social behavior. You know, Billy, it’s okay to be gay. There’s nothing wrong with it. Here, take this book home with you tonight and keep an open mind, okay Billy?”

Mr. Jonas was given the “Guidance Counselor of the Year Award” last year by the school board. Billy and his friends like to “diss” him.

Today the Human Development class will be required to view “Hannibal,” the sequel to “Silence of the Lambs.” The class project will be to write down reactions to the film. The students were told to place special emphasis on their opinions of why cannibalism, though not evil (since some cultures still engage in it and we must be sensitive to those cultures that are different from ours), is still not acceptable behavior in our society. What “Hannibal” has to do with human development neither Billy nor his friends could say, but they thought the movie was great, especially the part where Anthony Hopkins’ character eats human flesh for dinner. Everyone laughed at that part. It was awesome.

Later on in the afternoon, Billy attended a mandatory Great American Smoke-out rally in the gymnasium. The principal took the condom tree out of the glass display case for the day and replaced it with a statuette of “Butt Head.” This was to remind everyone of the evils of smoking. Along with everyone else, Billy was instructed to give a handout to his parents. The headline read: “Mommy, why are you killing me with your second-hand smoke?” Billy threw it away after school. His mom doesn’t smoke.

School’s out now in our normal, American school.

Billy and his buds decide to hang out at his house after classes let out. His mom and Ted never get home before seven, and so Billy’s friends like to congregate at his place. Besides, he’s got cable TV. His mom doesn’t care if Billy orders the fights or even pornographic stuff on Pay Per-view, but most of the time they just watch the “Metal Shop” on MTV. This is an awesome new show that features hours of heavy metal videos and behind-the-scenes road action from their favorite bands. Their music is more important to the boys than anything else in their lives. They would die without it.

The boys smoke some more pot, listen to Marilyn on the stereo, keep the TV on with the sound down so that they can watch Kid Rock and Rage Against the Machine live in Melbourne, and they play video games on Billy’s Play Station. Billy’s pal Johnny brought over a whole bunch of new “reality-based” games. The boys’ favorite is Psycho Killer, a rather obscure game that has totally “rad” graphics. Man, how they laugh when the blood spurts out of the lady’s head when they shoot her with the Glock!

For three hours the boys listen to Marilyn and Korn as they shoot the living daylights out of people in virtual reality. “Sometimes you need a pill, boy,” the singer screams, “Sometimes you need to kill, boy. In the end, it’s all just a nightmare anyway. Nothin’s real, boy. Kill, kill, kill, it’s ok because it’s not real. Sometimes I got to just kill, kill, kill.”

Seven o’clock rolls around, and the other boys finally wander home. Still no mom. No Ted either. Billy’s an only child. He almost had a sister once, but his mom aborted her. She decided that she wanted to marry Ted before having any more children. Ted was already living with Billy and his mom, so, what the heck, they got married. Billy got to be an usher. Whatever!

Billy’s just a normal American kid from a normal American family.

Come to think of it, that was the last time Billy was in a church. He doesn’t believe in God anyway. Marilyn says God’s for wimps and old ladies. Says he wants to destroy Christianity forever. Nobody in his life believes in God, although Ted thinks that he was a cow in Germany in his former life. Ted’s a re-incarnationist. Billy’s mom thinks that’s neat.

Around 8:30 Billy hears the garage door opener engage. Mom’s home. She had a late meeting at the office. When she peeked in on her son, only the black light was turned on, but Billy was asleep. The tinny beat of base and screaming lyrics from Billy’s headphones were all she could hear. She was glad her son was such a music lover. Arts are good for the children, she thought. Marilyn Manson’s voice was the last Billy heard that night. He had nothing to say to his mother.

It was just another normal night, for a normal kid, living in a normal American family.

Everyone in Billy’s normal world is deathly afraid of death. Death is the end. Death’s the great disease. Death, then, is powerful. Billy’s heavy metal music is fixated with the idea of death. Billy thinks a lot about it. Maybe death is the only thing people respect anymore…because they’re scared of it.

And, so, one morning, after a thousand days like the one just described, little Billy packs a gun in his knapsack and heads off to school. He didn’t sleep at all the night before…just sat up listening to Marilyn. By six o’clock that evening, he thought, I could be enjoying Andy Warhol’s fifteen minutes of fame. I’ll be more famous than any rock star, even Marilyn. I’ll be on television. I’ll be on the front page of every newspaper in the world. I’ll be immortal. Why? Because at noon that day, Billy planned on becoming someone everyone would fear and, in Billy’s mind, respect. He’d instill terror where there was none seconds before. He’d hold the power of life and death over everyone around him. And, best of all, everyone would have to shut up and listen to him!

But ultimately, Billy would be trying to accomplish something else that day with his gun in hand: he’d be killing himself…. He’d be setting himself free. Perhaps, in that moment before he’d be taken out (as surely he would be), the fear of death or the pain of bullets would serve to let him know that, despite all the emptiness, Billy had been alive after all. At that moment, he would no longer be just another normal kid. He would become powerful—not by merits of his intelligence, nor because of his faith or his accomplishments—but by his ability to instill terror in his peers. Now that, thought Billy, would rock!

“What went wrong at Santana High today?” queried Peter Jennings that night. “How many normal kids will have to become the victims of guns before we’ll learn to enact stricter gun laws?”


Such is a portrait of a normal American youngster named Billy, living in Anywhere, USA. He has problems, sure. But his problems have little to do with the gun he brought to school; that gun was just the mouthpiece through which this young man screamed everything that is wrong with America. Sure, many kids today don’t wind up standing on a lunch table and popping off rounds at fellow classmates in school cafeterias. But, to varying degrees, most are tainted with the same rot that led Billy to snap. Respect for life is fading away and being replaced by notions of limitless “choice”; sexual deviancy is regarded as “normal”; lack of belief in God and family is inevitable; killing souls through heinous sins is commonplace. Some children act out, many commit suicide, but nearly all have lost the light that used to shine in their eyes.

We’ve outlawed God, we’ve legalized the murder of millions of babies, and we’ve declared ourselves free to govern ourselves and do whatever feels good, sans input from God or His law. Billy is our creation. Billy is our monster. But, more than anything else, Billy is a microcosm of our society—so “free,” so equal, so affluent, so lacking in moral restraint and personal responsibility. Liberalism’s great inherent irony is that it ultimately consumes all who embrace it. Whether through world wars, atom bombs, road rage, drive-by shootings, or school massacres, we have all around us ample evidence of what the “liberal” society will do to itself when it finally succeeds in throwing God aside—it becomes suicidal.

We are a critically ill society now, and Billy is but a messenger warning our world of what we can all expect in the future. He demonstrates just how profoundly modern public education has failed; he shows us precisely what legalized abortion does for kids’ respect for human life; he teaches us all about the consequences of divorce; he acts out the effects of rock music, violent video games and television on the young mind; he shouts out the great “benefits” of unbridled democracy, equality and total freedom from moral restraint. He illustrates that, now that the orgy of revolution is over in our “enlightened” society, it’s time for the hangover to kick in. In our race to prove to the world that we don’t need God, we somewhere along the line began to turn on His “image and likeness”—ourselves. We’ve begun to hate what we’ve become, and so we concentrate our energies on killing the beast that is us. Billy needed discipline, order, restraint, and guidance; instead he received permissiveness, lack of structure, sex education, endless self-esteem training and unchecked self-indulgence. The feverish application of this Godless new “morality” gives way to savagery. Billy is the tragic savage that the revolutions in the Church and in the State created.

Take away the guns, they say. That’ll do it! You can take away all the guns in the world if you want, but tomorrow Billy will bring a bag of bombs to school. It’s not the guns. Guns have been around for centuries. It’s the “trigger men” that do the killing, not the guns.

God is the only answer for the students at Santana High, but He’s not allowed inside those walls. It’s “unconstitutional” to even mention Him where Billy goes to school. But, as the children of Columbine, Jonesboro and Santana are now discovering, there is no safe place for any of us in this brave new world. When even the womb has become a dangerous place, why should anyone be surprised when high schools become war zones? Only God knows what to do with our “wondrous” new age and its insatiable lust for blood. But, who’s asking Him?

The future of the brave new world is here, my friends; there’s no going back now. We’re “free at last”! Welcome to the jungle! No… welcome to utopia!