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Moscow Babylon May 1, 2002
Steinhaeuser Uber Alles
By Mark Ames Browse author Email

That e-skinhead "Ivan", who emailed us his "Death To German Untermenschen" threat, may be correct when accusing Krauts of having gone soft in the spine since you-know-who led them into mass suicide sixty years ago. Still, you can't help but admire Robert Steinhaeuser's recent rampage. 17 dead! Wow! The guy just walked right up to the school murder rampage Olympics from out of nowhere, and here he leads the German Team to the High Score, the Gold Medal, blowing past Team American, in spite of the fact that we invented, and perfected, the sport of school murder rampages.

Heil to you, Herr Steinhaeuser!

This massacre took place in East Germany, in Erfurt. Maybe Ivan's rage excluded the Ossies like Steinhaeuser. I spent some time in East Germany back in 1991-2. The Jerries there still had a pulse, unlike their richer, deader West German brothers. It's an odd thing rarely mentioned, but somehow the "soul-destroying" Communist system produced people with far more soul and pulse than their "free" Western counterparts. Maybe that's because preserving one's soul became much more important in a bland, bureaucratic police state like East Germany or the Soviet Union; or maybe external cruelty is a necessary condition to creating an interesting, "soulful" inner world; or maybe it's just that Western life sucks the soul right out from under your feet, and no one ever notices it, or is willing to believe it.

But back to Steinhaeuser. The interesting thing about his high school massacre last week isn't just that he rifled past the American team to take the Gold, but rather his choice of victims: teachers. Adults. American school massacres almost exclusively target students and ignore teachers. Steinhaeuser went for teachers and generally ignored the students.

The simple, obvious reason that no one will say publicly is that in America, teenagers are the meanest, cruelest, most horrible vermin alive, natural born tormentors who make youth such a total hell that sometimes, they succeed in pushing one of their victims to an eXtreme solution... while American teachers are the saddest, limpest specimens of living mammal tissue in the Western Hemisphere. In America, teachers are losers; they are shunned by society, by the government, and by students. As the American saying goes, "Those who can't do...teach." In America, to teach is to fail.

In Germany, as in much of the Old World, the opposite is true. Authority still matters there, even moreso perhaps in East Germany. A teacher still commands respect. And therefore, authority, in the form of a teacher, has the ability to torment students -- fighting-age students, mind you -- in a way that American teachers really can't.

This was made clear in a Reuters article from Saturday titled, "Hero Teacher's Tale Comforts Germans After Shooting", about teacher Rainer Heise, who allegedly saved the day. When Steinhaeuser approached him, Heise pulled his black mask from his head.

"I said 'go ahead and shoot me, but look me in the face.'"

"Steinhaeuser replied in formal language and referred to the teacher respectfully as 'Herr Heise.'

"'That's it for today, Herr Heise,' Heise quoted the troubled teen as saying.

"Heise, who also teaches art, said Steinhaeuser then briefly let down his guard. The teacher said he then made a gesture inviting the disgruntled former pupil to enter the art drawing room. As Steinhaeuser stepped in, Heise seized the opportunity.

"'I pushed him into the room and locked the door,' Heise said. Steinhaeuser shot himself in the head shortly after."

The German teacher: confident, proud, commanding respect, clever and sneaky enough to lock his student in a closet.

Can you imagine an American teacher having the confidence and courage to do that? American teachers spend all their time trying to avoid students, overcoming complexes that American teenagers ably instill into their teachers' fragile psyches. The last thing an American teacher would ever do would be to play hero--the very thought is enough to send them into a paid mental health leave for 6 months.

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