The recent homicidal shooting spree after a Seattle rave shouldn't shock anyone. It's not that I don't find the recent events tragic. I'm amazed, however, that it hasn't happened before now.
I've been to raves. I've witnessed the batshit insanity that occurs at them, the kinds of people they attract.
In the dozen or so I attended when I was younger, I never once felt safe. You're in a large space with a group of mostly drug-addled scenesters, all looking to fit into something. Most are in their teens and 20s, come from mostly upper-middle and upperclass backgrounds, and have a taste for exotic club drug cocktails. There's almost always someone extremely depressed, emotionally unstable, or full of rage at these things. Why would anyone expect to feel safe?
The rave scene essentially boils down to a dance party for the Entitled - those either too self-absorbed or too high to realize that they aren't superhuman and that, yes, there are no safe hiding places from the world's woes. Raves exist as reckless escapist illusions designed to prop up insecurities with strange narcotics and thumping music. By their very existence, they are bound to attract people teetering on the edge between melancholy and cold-blooded murder.
The zombie-themed event in Seattle was no different; sadly, it ended with a brutal loss of life because one of those powder kegs finally exploded. No one knows why some guy walked in with guns blazing and ended the lives of six partygoers before turning the gun on himself.
But no one should be shocked.
The last time I attended a rave was a few months after I moved to California, back in 1999. I'd been clean for less than a year, but the people I attended the event with promised me that I'd be welcome and that there'd be no pressure to resume the ingestion of illegal substances.
When you're tripping on something, raves seem like the ultimate scenester gathering. Everybody is welcome, all are happy, the world is fucking peachy. When you're clean, the potential tragedy is everywhere.
Being sober gave me a chance to see what had been lurking behind the purple haze that I'd never noticed before. Not only was I pressured to drop acid, pop E, and take a trip on the Special K wagon, I was grilled constantly by kids - mostly from affluent communities - about my Narc status, told to just give up on sobriety and join the designer-fragranced masses.
One of the people I attended the party with was punched in the face by some kid who thought she was trying to kill him. Another guy, in his late 30s, kept trying to get this one 15-year-old girl to go out to the parking lot with him; when she said no, he simply whipped out his limp dick and demanded that she provide him some kind of relief.
I remember witnessing this other girl, all 75-85 pounds of pure untreated bulemia, curled up on the floor of the unisex bathroom, giving anyone in earshot a detailed account of how she'd been forcibly sodomized by an ex-boyfriend a few weeks prior. Some friend of hers kept telling her she was just crashing and needed to keep up the buzz to make the pain go disappear. Like an obedient puppy, the girl popped a handful of multicolored tabs and was soon swirling around like a ballerina.
I think she ended up disappearing in some closet with the guy in his 30s.
Sure. Raves are just peachy.
What happened in Seattle this weekend could happen anywhere.
But not shocking.
Adolescence, Drug Use, News, Opinion, Raves, Responsibility, Seattle, Shootings, Substance Abuse
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