“Call to Columbine: Manifesto Against the Muscle of Our Doing” by Sean Kilpatrick

(Warning: the following manifesto is attributed to the perpetrator of a recent mass shooting. Out of respect for the families of victims, the author’s / suspect’s name has been redacted. Publication remains contingent upon its usefulness as a psychological study for the betterment of humankind and as a means to caution against future incidences of violence. While the faux-essayistic grandstanding of each sentence is hard to follow, due to the errors of poetry, dangling modifiers both continual and thankless, this screed should only be deciphered in service of future preventative discourse.)


Must we remain so attached at the species? Far too optimistic to answer “no” and they aren’t accurately optimistic (as if the word “optimism” weren’t toppled by the paradoxical weaning of itself on any head), these suggestions for the potential of staying conscious. That we live goaded between the parentheses of our superstition is understandably and sufficiently a balm blank enough to brave such ambient, latitudinal hells, but something can be so enormous as to excise the purpose from what struggles below it, meaning our relationship under a god, or universe, or coping lungs, if we insist to continue lapsing ourselves apparent. We are worms taped to the vacuum, deploying ambitions like ambitions amount, perched on the lie of having ever left an impression. Fine, considering not even our particles will retain their scope, but the unforgivable indictment of every confabulated earth sentience is our greed for emphasis, and how, pretense fatter than our skulls, we feel collectively duty-bound to edify one another, not just wagging about who we are, but teasing ourselves mystic for products that reflect like involvement, for the mutual benefit of a community enamored of its subterfuge, the insolvable en masse, those piously furnished. We imposed the family chore as some cure beyond its ideal. You know we know better. I call for a ceasefire on repairs in general. I will be accused of dying under less devout tranquilities. My bedtimes commenced with what I knew weren’t fireworks, but the use of one’s groin should be rather speciously divulged.

We act like it’s doubly illegal for women to frown. People are too relaxed about reminding you of your face. We’re taught to teach women to be aroused by the fact that they are not a priority. Then procreation is more attainable. This method is how the human race palpitates itself into antiquity, always the irrevocable recruits of our anatomy. There’s not enough counsel in favor of the intestine, autonomous of its chore, just a property whacked through the street like a tail from the anus upon impact, and the lawyers may decipher plenty. That’s why we have billboards. Say, for argument’s sake, I belittle someone into passing my genes. (Weigh her belittlement against the amount of time she stays present.) We commit to the idea of our exemption from the herd and foster our own. We tousle the social contract, minding the commercial fortress of our shared parody, padding the meanwhile secure in mandatory, nine-to-five absentia. I forfeit my wheeze to the placental valor of etching a wage. (Does anyone anymore deserve or believe the community they’re forced to wage under?) But I won’t sleep until clocks are more arterial. Conceptualize blanket maturities, multiform of our supplicated will, hound dogs of the homestead, just as fleeting. We are retirement gurus beneath pursuit. Perpetuation is the same from any uniform. I’d speak for myself if I hated less people. Ambushed into a busy caper via minivan, reduced to a checkbook of “what nows” leaving the relationship an amusing and retrospective shrug. Is the nightmare’s heft at least divided? Scary to watch the reward of all that hallmark chemistry disintegrate frame by frame? What’s scary is how much and for how long we will have already wanted it over with.

The other option is you’re a spinster ward of someone’s state or money and others have a habit of reminding you. Refuse to own your bullshit and the mass, ironically, assumes you prefer it to theirs, but what moves us never nourishes the fictions we’ll murder to name. Self-possession cannot be derived independent of an alien comprehension and I envy the nihilism of those who are the net worth of their exceptional slumber. No one has the elbowroom in this country for the captiously aggrieved, thermally deficient breadth of their candor. We concocted the maximum fetish, a fetish for being ourselves, but we’ve even squandered this potentially advantageous sin on the contrivance undertow, on evidence used for sounding right, biased to the error we inflate, an arrogance no dystopia will clean, assuming we’re not too benign to achieve dystopia. We scurry through our platitudes. Five minutes outside is proof that the only competition between us was collectively lost ages ago. Whose luxury might I piece to my reclusion? I purchase none, excluding the goodwill with which I smooch the expressive bandaging on my wrist. I have gratefully failed my affiliations. Attempting any community brought favor on the one previous, until the only viable exception was to cater a discharged existence. I was sneezed down successively superior rungs until the dead seemed the correct majority. We evolved as sniggering militias of the septic tank, practicing the exclusive enlightenment of our waste. Flush the stride from fish to us alongside every deceased intimacy, every bogus plea for authenticity. We have been empirically, irrelevantly born and our only responsibility is to reverse that.

Suicide is the final maturity, the proper use of one’s aging. Your identity is an overripe laxative to the split second aloneness percolating this universe. All goals are that of a death preceded by the impotent treadmill of our foraging. We tunneled back to the first chimp and shaved it a tiara. We sprayed our furniture on its inaugural thought. Let’s build an unsleeping pile of ourselves, akimbo to our residential discontentedness, and renovate a pocket-sized world hunger. Of course, there’d be stout, Nazi-laden conjecture against policing anyone to the reality of this conclusion, especially if anything written carried with it the same feeling of authenticity people have preconcurred with the mundane cowardice of getting by, also if the outnumbering American consciousness wasn’t insignificantly shakier about its already physically and mentally vested police state. No nation could withstand the confession of its truer dystrophies, or we’d encourage ourselves, regardless, on an unfortunately personal level. Toting survival beyond if our lungs work is the steadfast haystack philosophy here. It’s all tubercular in our faucet, this busted precept. We require an income camouflaged beneath the cheeriest axioms. Our lives are such apparently extensive gifts. None seek a defense beyond suicide bigger than cliché. Language is the infinitely malleable platform humanity deflates to hustle and survive. So why linger?

My generation didn’t chase girls with frogs. We went to high school and accomplished Columbine, a lucrative media scaremongering campaign meant to be paradigmatically synthesized over the remains caused by such an appropriate and sensible response to the same machine that so decried it. Despite the second-fiddle juvenilia behind the weaponry, the overstated Terminator trench coats, ponytails and sunglasses borrowed without irony from the entertainment industry which cannibalizes itself trying to dismiss retail tragedy, these teens infiltrated the criterion, as planned, and their influence endures, pantheon of our milieu, a fetishizing dry-nurse for beta males everywhere. They were the icons who briefly expunged you of your bully and what they did felt needed on a national level. Even lost to the ecstasy of taking victims, their own victimhood upgraded, even to the delicacies of selection, which they botched with virginal excitement, the premature ejaculation of picking anyone nearby, they reached a negligently sublime conclusion. Once you start killing, all your fatalities are in league with you, and it doesn’t matter, the splendiferous gala a trigger cushions, because you are exempted from pervading deceptions and given your own, imbued with an expert potency truly parallel beyond what is ruled. It was the perfect parody of being conquered.

By the time we hit college, the declarative autism gestated a decade hence reached its zenith. The Asperger’s catalogue attained a lush body count. Hacking through crowds to replace one’s stance within them as a hyphenated instinct unglued by evolutionarily awry disorders ping ponging between perception and being perceived had garlanded distinctions, a makeover for our inherited recoil. Drugs made a market of our anxieties, but the availability of guns made freaks divine. Before the showboating empathy of organized religion was substituted with the internet, women expressed their insecurity by enacting a sneering rendition of tattletale remorse to divert attention from their hyper celebrated bodies, not just removing the option to copulate with gangly boys sporting ignored reproductive organs that could abuse ceiling quality sperm into a flightpath, but stoking expectations by existing with curves, a likewise tortured existence conversely punishing the pursuit intending to placate it. This mating ouroboros became the postmodern quotation mark around every birth. You grow up into the suicide of your art and can only reclaim it by gunning down an audience to retaliate against the cause of that loss directly. We shit our crib the perfect canopy and stayed to count the stars. The years closing like a noose, the big bang universe anatomized of some entity’s need for a casket; our pimples cleared up, but out faces got somehow uglier. Initiating an era of duplicating shrillness, Virginia Tech converted the crosshair into semen with a poor impersonation of Nicolas Cage. Killers now weighed less than the ambitious suffering of the franchise that took off without them. That your posture said you deserved it was more proof against advertising than who you really were. Another trope, but tropes reward you with enough swallowed vomit for the nutrients to absorb. Anyone who goes outside with their sense of moral compunction intact is either hopelessly white bred or in a walking coma. You don’t have to fill the gym shoes of the jock your bullet leaves you beside in a joint haunting, so he can swat you with his cap in hell, because the gravity of going beyond the trigger with a life was just another chemistry set psychologists quietly became rich adjusting, thereafter blaming video games.

If Virginia Tech set the high-water mark, Aurora was a straight forward postgraduate thesis statement about the rogue’s gallery we project ourselves as to lessen the value of entertainment. We ignore that we’re chimps when we blame depictions. If I steal a reprieve of inordinate pleasure from viewing cave wall markings, if I let them flavor the sin I feel coerced to commit anyway, it is very much in spite of the fact that the tribe that caused this temporary magic is still unsustainable in their provoking disposability. Christians and rationalists scapegoat art because it’s a healthier snake oil than theirs, and an underdog candidate for the division of their profits. Here I began to feel aged out of the process, unable to identify with next gen shooters. They were overly abstract, but appreciable. The brutality of the gaunt alien who committed Sandy Hook convinced me that perhaps a massacre should be explored with a modicum of decorum, children being annoying at worst, their racket usually the fault of a parent, though the skeleton’s message was prescient: familial compulsions and baby fixations are no excuse for the self-satisfied regularity of minivan thugs perpetrating their endorphins on everyone. Even their thoughts are merchandise. Shooters’ thoughts are still merchandise, but they have the privilege of exploding after a transaction. Their talent existed before the act. Existed solely to congeal in the act. They suffered every movement through life that wasn’t the intoxication involved the moment they took up arms against the complacent mass. A victim’s second of misery condensed next to a life’s worth of culminating relief as the outcast continues shooting, who is such a snob as to always insist others take precedent in mourning? Life is tragic lost or gained. We live in a state of mourning so consistent that instead of feeling gratitude when someone frees us, we feel abjection. I uphold the liberty of putrefaction. You’re still some insurmountable monstrosity’s food (be it yourself, others, or if dark matter is its own stockade), some mulch that used to have a library card, but without the burden of an encephalization quotient. We live in a world where treating someone decently for five minutes will most likely spoil them beyond any capacity for the masquerade necessary to continue with their purchases and this is reason enough to end it. This obese nest we established will not fall out of the tree on its own without taking the tree with it. If that reads as environmentally friendly, I assure you I’m not in favor of any earth.

We’re a community last, reluctantly, but as the animal revenge perfected, human beings sold out even our own rejected rejects with the Orlando shooting. What rebelled has been grandfathered in in support of the system that once consummated its wrath, outcasts killing outcasts for the flipped coin of a religion, bolstering the pap smear of profiled virtue online because, unfortunately, there’s no way to make a bullet truly viral. If we can’t muster the prowess to hold down careers, whether they exist now or not, whether a community was ever worth joining, and they weren’t, let’s stop the workweek at its cause. Let’s put our trauma on its fullest sonar against the sordid ceremony that demeaned us here. The pervading bureaucracy of sadism, the kind not meant, the obligation against gossip to compete by the household: marriage and all its plainspoken murder. The vulture under the gown, the despair that outdoes any physical torment via subtle neglect when someone lets you let it without clarifying for you that you were always asking. A bullet can never nurse an expectation until it extinguishes who you were; it’s just a body freed. Time to introduce a pain that lasts beyond healing.

Must you insist I enjoy the mass produced amenities that keep me sedated more than the potential euphoria behind executing you and your kind? I resent these ambivalent impediments and the lineage that conjectured them across the perpetuated species the same as I resent every moment divorced from furthering your injuries. We will spread the same frivolity, seed to ammunition, scoop it up off the kill floor and drop it pooling in your daughter’s ear. You can walk her mess back down the aisle until your come never occurred. Will I ever love someone with enough etiquette to shoot them on sight?



Sean Kilpatrick, raised in Detroit, does monthly movie reviews for Hobart, and is published or forthcoming at Boston Review, NERVE, New York Tyrant, BOMB, Fence, Columbia Poetry Review, evergreen review,Sleepingfish, VICE, Spork, The Quietus, Whiskey Island, The Malahat Review, Obsidian, and LIT. He wrote Anatomy Courses (with Blake Butler, Lazy Fascist Press), Thank You, Steel China, (Schism[2]) and Sir William Forsythe’s Freebase Nuptials (Sagging Meniscus Press, Fall 2017).