It would be a complete lie if I didn't admit that a large part of my writing "He Was Weird" was influenced by the speech by Jello Biafra I heard in 2005. After all, it was that speech that made me realize that in the case of school shootings, this could have been me. Also like Jello, one of the reasons why it was never me was that I had no access to guns or any money to go out and buy them. What I can say was that speech made me think and reflect back to less happier times in my past and that got me to write the book.

For the record, I never intentionally plagiarized anything Mr Biafra said in that speech. If anything, I took what was said and went the opposite way with it. The best example was with Jello's constant identification of religion. In some of the school shootings he refers to, Columbine included, he points out the "being bullied to believe" attitude that permeates many small towns in America. He attacks the attitude that if children had more religion in their lives, they wouldn't do such horrible things. Yes, I find it difficult not to laugh at that notion too. So what I did in the book was to make Mark a Born Again Christian. Fairly early in the story, he accepts Jesus as his Saviour but that does nothing to quell the bullying hell he is suffering. While his conversion leads to the best week of his young life, it is also short lived. What religion does do for Mark in preparation for his big day is to give him courage to carry out his rampage via two verses in the Bible. I guess hanging the ten commandments up in the classroom wouldn't have prevented the shooting in this case.

[caption id="attachment_401" align="aligncenter" width="275"] Jello Biafra[/caption]

Another big part of that speech playfully attacks those who are convinced that Marilyn Manson and violent computer games like Doom causes school shootings. I never followed the argument that games like Doom desensitize a person from violence. Most kids and adults play these games as a release and nothing more. Killing aliens and monsters and even enemy soldiers on a screen is a good way to unwind after a tough day. However, in "He Was Weird," Mark doesn't own any CDs or computer games that would contribute to him carrying out his shooting. No Marilyn Manson or Doom, the only music the police find in Mark's room after the shooting are by two Christian Rock bands and the only computer games are an ice hockey game and the Age of Empires series. Of course, the latter is blamed on Mark's rampage by some people. They argue that those games gave Mark the military know how to carry out his plan that day. As a result, some victims try to sue Microsoft and others try to get the teacher who ran the computer games club fired. Well, they had to blame something I guess.

[caption id="attachment_794" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Marilyn Manson-[/caption]

There are probably other things in Jello Biafra's speech which also influenced my writing of "He Was Weird." These are only minor points and if I remember them, I'll post about those in the future. The biggest things were religion and the belief that music and computer games cause school shootings.

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Published by Michael Lefevre