Sins of the Parents. Blood On Snow

Seattle’s tragic massacre this weekend took place at an overnight after-party following a “mellow rave,” a ghoul/zombie themed dance.

As I read the media coverage, the phrase “the sins of the fathers will be visited on the children” echoed in my mind. Media coverage and the event itself bore the marks of the sixties.

Initially reporters covering the incident seemed befuddled that such tragedy could follow such a peaceful gathering. Great pains were taken to assure the reading public that these raves are innocent events for mild, peace-loving young folks.

This is vintage sixties. What harm could befall grass smoking doped up concertgoers aglow in a haze of marijuana spiked with hallucinogenics designed to hasten their spiritual enlightenment?

The Rolling Stone’s free concert at Altamont brought Woodstock into focus. “If the name “Woodstock” has come to denote the flowering of one phase of the youth culture, “Altamont” has come to mean the end of it. Altamont is regarded as the warning of what might happen if Woodstock is taken too literally. A young black man murdered in the midst of a white crowd by white thugs as white men played their version of black music¢â‚¬¦ Tragically, three others also died at the Altamont concert. Two people died sleeping as they got run over in their sleeping bags. One unidentified person drowned.”

The bloom of innocence in the initial reportage of the Seattle rave massacre was followed by corrective comments buried deep in the text. One victim’s mother mourned that this was to be her son’s last rave. He’d been through drug rehab, was clean and no longer wanted exposure to the drug scene, the subtext of every rave event. “Dave Fellers, 23, a former rave promoter who showed up Saturday near the scene of the shooting, said he dropped out of the scene in large part because of the heavy drug use that he said overshadowed the music.” “Go for the music,” advised techno regular Bliss in the “Rave Rules” he posted on to combat what he saw as flaws in a deteriorating scene. “Not for the drugs and the under-age girls. The rave scene is a family. Start acting like it.”

Nobody wants to ask the hard questions in moments like this, but these are the teachable moments so I ask: what parent would allow their 14 or 15 year-old-daughter into such a scene? (The ages of two of the victims). Ask the typical teen this question, as I have in the aftermath of this event, and they will say: “drugs are everywhere, we’re exposed to drugs everyday at school ¢â‚¬¦underage sex?¢â‚¬¦puhleese, how out of touch are you?”

This breezy acceptance of a fallen, dehumanized culture is a “gift” of the sixties, the era when illegal drugs, and sex without marriage were rechristened “spiritual journeying” on the path towards enlightenment. Illegal drugs, and sex without marriage were, of course, previously known as sin and were taboo.

Marinated in the stew of libertine juices of the sixties, today parents look the other way, reporters accept the sex and illegal substances in the rave scene as normal, society acquiesces to human diminishment and as the lyrics of “Woodstock” proclaim, “everywhere is a song and a celebration.”

Except. Everybody hates the end game of our denial. In Seattle kids died. Whitney Houston is addicted to crack, spending days locked in her bedroom amid piles of rubbish, her bathroom a disgusting mess littered with drug paraphernalia including a crack-smoking pipe, rolling papers, cocaine-caked spoons and cigarette ends strewn across the surface tops.”

But it is very un-sixties to dwell on Janis Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix, so Whitney and the Seattle rave massacre, these stories will fade away. We will return to our denial. One editorial already opined “What happened in that house could have happened in broad daylight in a church parking lot. Few things can stop a deranged person with a shotgun, a Ruger and 300 rounds of ammo.” The message? Captured in a CSNY lyric from the sixties. “Carry on, love is coming, love is coming to us all.”

And so, unless we allow God to love and radically transform us and through us culture, the sins of the parents will continue to fall like quiet, soft snow, perceived as beautiful not deadly, until blotches of red stain the previously calm surface, until the massive picturesque snowpack turns to deadly avalanche burying victims in its wake.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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