Just a few weeks ago, we who live in the Seattle area were shocked by the shooting death of seven young people in the Capital Hill district. Six were tragically killed by a gunman before he turned his gun on himself and committed suicide. One of the victims was only 14 years old. All of the victims, including the shooter, were members of the "Rave culture," a youth movement that was born in Great Britain at the end of the 1980's. Many of the youth involved are drug users.
As one social commentator in Finland has written, "Drug use that is connected to Rave culture can be seen as rebellious behavior. It is rebellion for the freedom of the individual against parental authority and especially the rules and norms of society... The use of drugs within the Rave culture is a form of invisible rebellion."
As the city continues to try to make some kind of sense of this tragedy we are hearing everything from the condemnation of the Rave culture itself to the need for gun control. The gun rights folks also have a case since the six unarmed victims were defenseless against the guns of one person. What do young people do at these raves and what draws them? Could it be just another _expression of a fatherless generation?
Another commentator notes about the rave culture, "The "raver" is caught in a paradox. Like the hippy movement of the 60's, the raver seeks drums, seeks refuge to a simpler mode of existence, seeking to change the nature of the human condition. Through tribal gatherings and celestial events, (he) seeks to be environmentally conscious. But also to be urban, to be tech-oriented, to be wired into the information age..."
Kids drawn to the Rave culture are right about one thing; something has gone terribly wrong in society. We have lost personal connection with one another. All of our technology and gadgetry does not bring us peace. But joining a group that is composed of rebellious, mindless drug users is obviously not the answer. Fathers, we need to teach and model to our kids genuine community within our families so they will not seek out dangerous substitutes. They need to see the benefits of submission to a higher authority modeled in our own lives and, of course, they need to be warned about the danger of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.