None Dare Call It Travesty

Conspiracy mania comes to Columbine.

Millar's own theories about the massacre are abstruse and excruciating. They invoke a host of dubious sources -- an "eyewitness at a training class," a community college instructor who's talked with many Columbine students, an "investigator" who's followed the case from another state. They hark back to the CIA's infamous Cold War experiments on human subjects involving psychological warfare and LSD, a program that supposedly ended three decades ago but that Millar believes has only become more insidious and sophisticated. They also intertwine with his theories about the Ramsey and Polly Klaas murders. Pieces of the muddle can be found on his Web page (citizens.nettaxi. com/exposed), and if you have several days or weeks, he can show you a great deal more, but the whole loopy story comes down to this: Harris and Klebold, Millar says, were programmed by the United States government, which is really a corporation, to attack their school and kill their classmates and themselves.

You ponder this. You ask why the United States government, which is really a corporation, would want to do such a thing.

Millar seems distressed by your naiveté. He answers your question with a question. "Does the government want our guns?" he asks.

You ponder this, too. Angry parents are filing lawsuits against the sheriff's office and various elected officials, claiming that the government failed to protect their kids at Columbine. Yet here is a man saying that the government did exactly what it set out to do, with the kind of ruthless efficiency governments scarcely ever achieve.

You consider the alternatives. On one hand, a scenario of senseless death and horror, a slaughter devised and executed by two adolescents, prompted by nothing more than their own rage and madness. On the other, a government plot concocted by devious men in dark suits, designed to provoke mass hysteria and demands for gun control.

One possibility offers no clear course of action, nothing but grief and loss. The other gives you an enemy to fight against, an enemy right out of a stinkeroo Mel Gibson movie.

Given a choice between horror and absurdity, you begin to see why some people would choose the latter. You begin to see why, in a country afflicted by spectacular eruptions of terror and bloodshed, absurdity might seem attractive, even plausible.

You thank Doug Millar for his insights and head for the door. Your head hurts worse than ever.

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