The Evil Trenchcoat?


PDA

general
April 19, 2003, 04:33 AM
Trench coats still trigger pain, loathing
By Jim Spencer
The Denver Post - Jim Spencer (http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,10023,36%7E27772%7E,00.html)
The black trench coat was a Nautica. I'd seen it swathed across the broad shoulders and six-pack bellies of models in magazines for the 18-to-34-year-old crowd.

I bought it to show my son how hip his old man was. It was his surprise gift for Christmas 2002.

Turned out he had a surprise of his own.

"Dad," my son said as gently as possible, "I don't want it."

The hurt expression on my face made a reply unnecessary.

"I'm sorry," my son said, trying to soften the blow. "But I don't want to look like the Trench Coat Mafia."

I was speechless. Nearly four years after Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold gunned down classmates and teachers at Columbine High School, I barely thought about the shootings. I sure didn't associate them with a coat.

My son did. Today, two days before the fourth anniversary of the attack, he still does. Harris and Klebold hid their weapons under long black coats on their short journey to infamy. My son, who lives on the East Coast, 1,800 miles from Denver, wants to make no fashion statement that suggests any association with that.

"Black trench coats used to be cool," he told me Thursday. "Once Columbine happened, they had a new connotation. The coat made me feel uncomfortable."

That makes sense. Only the sickest puppies try to align themselves with madness.

Still, the symbolic staying power of the Denver area's greatest modern tragedy amazes me. It survives testimony from Columbine principal Frank DeAngelis that a "Trench Coat Mafia" consisting of alienated students was hardly more than an informal group that had little, if any, structure and no school sponsorship. It survives claims that Harris and Klebold weren't mainstays of such a group, even if one existed.

The Jefferson County Public Schools banned trench coats in the weeks after the shootings. These days, said schools spokesman Rick Kaufman, the county dress code doesn't address the issue.

"It's a school-by-school decision," Kaufman said. "Some of our schools, including Columbine, still ban wearing trench coats inside their buildings."

A Thursday afternoon trip to the Southwest Plaza Mall near the now-legendary high school suggested that much of the restriction is self-imposed.

Outside Borders books and music store, 16-year-old Jesse Trujillo and Jeremy Vigil said they don't own black trench coats and wouldn't consider buying them. Denver's John F. Kennedy High, where both boys go, doesn't allow trench coats to be worn in the hallways. But for Vigil and Trujillo, it is a matter of personal style, not a crisis of conscience.

"The people who would wear them are mostly like the Gothic or skater kids," said Vigil.

"It doesn't have any meaning unless you make it like the Trench Coat Mafia," Trujillo added. "It wasn't the coats that shot up Columbine. It was the kids."

That's True. But the closer you get to the tragedy, the more symbolism seems to matter.

Shuffling through the mall in baggy jeans, T-shirts and sneakers, Trent Pickering, Jared Preeson, John Russo and Ryan Campbell looked respectably hip-hop. They didn't consider their look thuggish. To a person, however, the Chatfield High School students understood their school's ban on trench coats in the hallways.

That's because Chatfield is in Littleton, near Columbine, and Chatfield temporarily took in the Columbine student body after Harris' and Klebold's rampage.

"One of our friends had a step-brother who died at Columbine," said Preeson.

"Two months ago they made a kid take a trench coat off at school," said Campbell. "I think it is disrespectful to the families that lost their loved ones to wear a trench coat."

"It's an image thing" said Russo.

It's also an eye-of-the-beholder thing.

Pickering considers the long green coat his father wears in bad weather a "rain coat."

Columbine principal DeAngelis can't conceive of a day when his school will lift the trench coat ban.

"We're still dealing with the aftermath of the tragedy," DeAngelis said Thursday. "We have people with post traumatic stress disorder. There are certain triggers. Trench coats are certainly one."

Josh Townsend's sister, Lauren, died in the Columbine library. For Townsend, 25, the sight of a black trench coat still hurts.

"It triggers a memory of the people who were responsible for the shootings," Townsend said.

He may never own a trench coat, he added, at least not a black one.

I kept the black trench coat my son turned down. I wear it in rain and snow. Just before I came to Denver I wore it to the office at my old newspaper. An editor, a woman in her 30's, looked at me.

"I see you have on your Columbine trench coat," she said.

That's not what it is, but it may be years before I can convince anyone.

Jim Spencer's column appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in The Denver Post. Contact him at jspencer@denverpost.com .

"It doesn't have any meaning unless you make it like the Trench Coat Mafia," Trujillo added. "It wasn't the coats that shot up Columbine. It was the kids."
Looks like the kid gets it.... Why can't Jim Spencer?

If you enjoyed reading about "The Evil Trenchcoat?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Apple a Day
April 19, 2003, 09:20 AM
Ahhhh, Jim Spencer!
I lost track of how many anti-gun articles he wrote in the local rags. I have had a handful of replies published in the Daily Press here to counter his emotional, biased rants. He even mentioned the fact that I invited him to visit TFL and do some research in a roundabout way, refering to me as a crank. :neener: I don't think he ever took me up on the offer.
I'll miss him... about as much as that case of hives I had when I was 7.
Sounds like brother Jim is feeling out the new area before he lunges in with both feet. Enjoy his antics and give him no quarter!

El Tejon
April 19, 2003, 10:32 AM
What are they putting in the water in Red? Geez.

The coats did it. The guns did it. Boohoohoo.

No, Jimmy, the little mad dogs did it with the aid and comfort of the soft, undisciplined lifestyle of soccermommie surburia.

general
April 19, 2003, 11:41 AM
Apple a Day:
Sounds like brother Jim is feeling out the new area before he lunges in with both feet. Enjoy his antics and give him no quarter!
Yeah - he just started @ The Post a few weeks ago, first article mentioned Columbine and other anti-gun issues. Nearly :barf: 'ed
I'll keep on him, guess I'll start with this article.
"It wasn't the coats that shot up Columbine. It was the kids." Tell him "It wasn't the guns that shot up Columbine. It was the kids. Guns don't commit crime, people do."
Was going to cancel my sub. to this rag after they did the "no gun ads for non-FFL holders, but I like to know what these people are up to. Will post the more ridiculous items I see.

BOBE
April 19, 2003, 02:05 PM
Seems like the schools that ban trench coats believe that people don't kill people, trench coats do!:banghead:

QKRTHNU
April 19, 2003, 06:30 PM
Trench Coats make me think of The Matrix. :cool:
"We ne guns, lots of guns"

samualt
April 19, 2003, 06:45 PM
Does this mean the X-Files look is out?

:D

bad_dad_brad
April 19, 2003, 08:27 PM
Pathetic to the extreme.

What if my trench coat were tan? Could I hide any less than if it were black?

I guess black trench coats would print less.

Gee whiz.

This Columbine thing, it is all about a couple of nut cases. Not about guns, bombs, gas cylinders, or trench coats. Just a couple of nut cases.

Sad thing is, those nut cases announced their crime long before they committed it. They should have been under psychiatric care long before they harmed people.

Stevie-Ray
April 19, 2003, 11:38 PM
I own a leather duster type trench coat. I get funny looks when I wear it sometimes. Fearful or maybe simply apprehensive. The looks don't bother me. If the coat bothers them, TOUGH!

nsf003
April 20, 2003, 01:24 PM
What is it with the anti gunner soccermommies and their fear of black things.

AR-15s should be banned. They're evil black guns.

Trenchcoats should be banned. They're evil black coats.

I hope there is no continuation of that pattern.

nsf003

TexasVet
April 20, 2003, 06:56 PM
I think the Klan has already carried that train to it's illogical, stupid conclusion.

DMK
April 20, 2003, 09:50 PM
Get a grip dude, it's just a coat. Just about everything in this world's been used for evil at one time or another.

blades67
April 20, 2003, 11:08 PM
We're going to have to ban Ford F150 4X4 trucks because one was used to kill people in Killeen Texas when George Hennard drove his through the window of the dining area during the lunch hour October 16, 1991.:rolleyes:

Vladimir Berkov
April 21, 2003, 04:26 AM
What is it with the anti gunner soccermommies and their fear of black things.

AR-15s should be banned. They're evil black guns.

Trenchcoats should be banned. They're evil black coats.

I hope there is no continuation of that pattern.

nsf003

Good for them I have a tan trench-coat and a wood-stocked AK, I guess I am nothing to be feared after all...

BogBabe
April 21, 2003, 07:09 AM
We're going to have to ban Ford F150 4X4 trucks because one was used to kill people in Killeen Texas

And if it turns out Scott Peterson is guilty in Laci's killing, we'll have to ban fishing trips and Christmas Eve, since he used a fishing trip on Christmas Eve as a pretext to do his dirty deed.

Hillman
April 21, 2003, 07:51 AM
I am a mid-30's balding systems analyst in Detroit. When I showed up at work in my black <ohno> trench coat, people in the office actually said they were uncomfortable, and wanted to know how I could wear that coat.

I keep work and personal activities separate, no one knows about the CCW, or the interest in firearms. It was simply the coat that freaked them out. This, too, was this past winter.

I've seen alcoholic wife beaters get a better reception from their coworkers.

BrokenPaw
April 21, 2003, 10:33 AM
Wow. I'm a software engineer[0] working for a government contractor. The NICS check is trivial compared to the background checks I go through regularly as a condition of employment. I always check to make sure the chamber is empty when I pick a gun up (unless it's my CCW, because I leave it loaded on purpose). I follow the Four Rules to a degree that makes some people think I'm OCD. I have a wife and two kids and a tank full of swimmy little fish at home. I feed them regularly. I help old ladies at Home Depot to load hideous lawn ornaments into their cars.

I must be one of the Good Guys.

Oh, yes, wait. I have a black duster. I wear black engineer boots. I wear all black to work every day[1]. I have a black leather hat that I wear when it rains. I own a black Beretta, a black P32 BUG, a Black Rifle, a black Winchester 70, a black Mossberg 500, and a black Savage. I own a black Camaro[2]. I drive a black Dakota.

I must be one of those Scary Evil Bad Men.

Because what I do is less important than the color of the things that I buy. :rolleyes:

[0] pronounced "code-pig"
[1] The reason for this is less dramatic than it is practical: I'm really muzzy-headed in the morning, and black clothes always match.
[2] The fact that it doesn't actually run at the moment notwithstanding. I live in Manassas, Virginia; I'm required by law to have at least one non-functioning vehicle in my yard at all times.

ball3006
April 21, 2003, 04:30 PM
because I live in Texas where it is too hot to wear anything black in the summer and it will be too hot to pick up anything lying in the sun.....chris3

Crimper-D
April 21, 2003, 11:01 PM
Just another 'hook' for the blissninnies to hang their neurosis on:p Oh well, just another convenient denial of the consequences raising sociopathic little urban thugs. :banghead:

twoblink
April 22, 2003, 06:32 AM
If banning all trenchcoats would end all school shootings, I'd be for it..

Except it won't, and anybody who thinks it will, is stupid.

Here we go again, first we blame the guns, because after all, don't blame the people, blame the innanimate object..

Now we blame the trenchcoat. I mean, bullet velocity varies with your attire...:rolleyes:

Trisha
April 22, 2003, 06:39 PM
A blonde with a Pride Pin on her wonderful drover coat - sure, it seems to make the occasional doubletake a cause to laugh out loud. . .

Ah, the endless quiverings of the politically correct. Staring my 47th year in the face, I'm not about to give a whit of time to worrying about the fashion police: denim jacket, denim jeans, western boots - hey, you suppose the clothing-conscious types will start earmarking that as "suspicious" because rural America is typically more self-reliant and gun-friendly than the stereotypical suburbanite?

(thumbs-up and big grin to BrokenPaw!)

The next twenty years should be fun!

blades67
April 22, 2003, 07:27 PM
I was issued a black trench coat when I joined the Army. They also issued me black assault rifles (the real deal, not the stuff behind most counters), high explosives, rocket launchers and a radio link to heavy artillery. Now I find out it was the black trench coat that made me dangerous.:rolleyes:

Bainx
April 22, 2003, 08:32 PM
BrokenPaw...."EVIL MAN!"....."EVIL MAN!"....."EVIL MAN!":D

Braz
April 23, 2003, 03:29 AM
Heh,

It'd be funny if it wasn't so sad. I was at the Cowboy shooting championships and a group of cowboys in dusters came in a restaurant. Everyone was straining to see if they were heeled under those great coats. But we wen't afraid. They weren't evil black, just plain old tan and white. Whew! That was close. :(

Chipperman
April 23, 2003, 04:47 PM
This thread makes me want to go out and buy one out of principal. :barf:

illuminatus99
April 23, 2003, 05:13 PM
it's definately the kids, I came from almost identical background as the columbine kids, I wore a black trenchcoat, played lots of violent video games, was picked on a lot, and even built my fair share of pipe bombs. the big difference is that my method of revenge hurts a lot more, I show up at every high school reunion driving my brand new car in an armani with my trophy wife on my arm. it's a lot more fun making them feel worthless every 5 years than making them dead.

If you enjoyed reading about "The Evil Trenchcoat?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!