C. G. McGinn


Ramblings about Books and Writing

Filtering by Tag: Non Fiction

Columbine by Dave Cullen

There are some stories so unbelievable that the mind can’t help but try to understand them as fiction. Though written in the narrative form throughout most of its entirety, Columbine is anything but fiction. It was horrifically real. But even as the events and motives were carefully laid out by Dave Cullen in his book, you can’t help but feel a sense of surreal disbelief—a thought that even this couldn’t have happened. But it had. It was horrible. I have an idea of just how horrible because Cullen put me there, right in the middle of it—in the cafeteria, in the library, and inside the killers minds.

The story of Columbine can’t be talked about without addressing the myths surrounding the motive behind the attack. These myths were fueled and often created by the media and news outlets covering the tragedy. The biggest myth of all was that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were bullied and this was what had driven them to systematically plan, prepare and ultimately carry out a massacre that was intended to kill hundreds. In reality, they were not. There is no evidence of this in their journals or actions leading up to the attack. Both boys attended prom—with dates. They had active social calender’s, and they had friends.

Eric was a text-book psychopath who hated stupid people. He saw himself not only as the smartest man-boy in the room, but in the entire world.

Dylan was suicidal and looking for a reason to die.

Eric gave his friend Dylan a grandiose reason.

The fact that this myth is still believed in 2019 is staggering to me, but after a recent conversation with someone who adamantly argued that this was the root cause of the incident, left me shaking my head. It’s a convenient way of explaining an unbelievable event of actual horror—a way out for the mind to rationalize what its incapable of understanding.

I don’t think we’ll ever fully understand what happened on April 20th 1999 but Dave Cullen’s, Columbine brings us much closer than we would be if left to rely on the agenda-filtered lenses of the news media—cable or otherwise.

Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins

Confessions of an Economic Hitman is part of the Question Everything theme in my current Non-Fiction reading. This, along with The Day After Roswell shows that we are nothing when we live in a stagnant world where the Media (local and cable news, reality tv, social networks) spoon feeds us information. Question everything, especially what we perceive to be the truth.

It makes life spicy and sexy.

This was a book recommended to me by the No Agenda Show--an insightful podcast where they deconstruct the media.

If everything in Confessions is true, then we live in a cynical world where governments—specifically the US Government—can essentially buy power and influence across the globe and into the known universe. I’m not saying I buy every anecdote and account in this book, but the methods described for gaining influence and eventually blackmailing, are probably used today by companies like Halliburton and Bechtel. It’s entirely plausible.

I’m also very cynical.

I can’t say that I enjoyed this book. I didn’t hate it. It’s written like a confession—the author was in the game, had a change of heart, then got out and wrote about it. But despite all the horrible, life ruining stuff Perkins claimed to be responsible for, I never got the sense that he was ever on board with it. You have to be a true believer to ruin a country like Panama. I felt as if he were detached from the events, as if he were a spectator and not a participant. Moreover, there was never really a “Come to Jesus” moment which would prompt this so-called true believer to have a change of heart. The confession fell flat because he never seemed committed to the cause.

I don’t doubt that this sort of thing happens. I just don’t think it happened to Perkins.

Of course, all I have to go on it what is written in the book and what my gut tells me. The cynic say it happens everyday. But the book didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know.

The Day After Roswell by William J Birnes and Philip Corso

I'm the one in the family that scoffs at the idea of UFOs and life on other planets beyond this one. I know, right? The sci-fi writer who doesn't think aliens are a thing.

It's not that I don't think they're a thing. It's just that I'm not sold on the ideas presented to me about them thus far.

No, I don't think that aliens are really angels in disguise.

No, I don't think they're a higher evolved version of us.

Any of that New Age crap, is just that: New Age Crap.

It's a nice idea to turn something like aliens into the 'feel-good' trending self-help nonsense of the moment.

Otherwise I have no strong opinions on the matter.

The Day After Roswell brought me the closest to believing--in a Fox Mulder sort of way, in the existence of alien life.

This wasn't a death-bed confession, but shortly after its publishing, Retired Col. Corso did die of a heart attack. He was 83 at the time but the timing is something one might want to consider. Were he a younger man, it would be suggested he steer clear of hot tubs, small aircraft, and CIA looking thugs wielding a garrote.

Speaking of the CIA...

Even if all the stuff about aliens is bullshit, Corso paints a very interesting picture of the politics between the Military and the Intelligence Community. In summary, the CIA are pretty much the worst, and have been trying to skull-fuck the American people since the start of the Cold War--if not the beginning of time. Those aren't Col. Corso words. Those are mine, but I'm sure the spirit of my words would be echoed by the late Colonel.

Aliens aside, what I found the most intriguing was the detail that went into the technology discovered at the alleged crash site and what was done with it. Col. Corso was essentially in charge of going through the original Roswell reports on the tech--his, 'nut' file--and figuring out ways of getting the tech into the hands of tech companies, so that they might reverse engineer it. Fiber optics, lasers, the stealth bomber--all alien tech.

On a personal note, I've always been convinced that laser printers are not of this world. Google--or better yet, Bing! how a laser printer works. What goes on in that box is nothing short of black magic...or alien technology.

I'm not saying I believe in aliens. I'm not sure about Roswell either. But Corso, an 80+ year old man had nothing to gain writing a book of fiction. He didn't have enough years left to enjoy the money and died shortly after the book came out--either by natural causes or the CIA.

...Probably the CIA.