Friday, January 17, 2014

Child Murders

When I saw the news day before yesterday about the murder-suicide, I thought, as I do whenever I read of something awful happening back in my old stomping grounds, "Oh, how terrible!  I hope it was no one I know."  When I heard later that it was a case of a mother killing her children, I knew it wasn't anyone I might know, because nobody I know would do something that horrible.

When I was on the LOO yesterday, reading the news on my iPad, and saw the name, I cried out.  I shouted "Oh, no.  Oh, NO!" and then did a quickie wipe and dashed for the phone to call my husband at work.

Because I did know the murderer in this case.  Or I knew of her.  She was a friend of my husband's.  They traveled in the same circles, were Facebook pals for years.

*I* didn't know her well, and I'm certainly glad of that at this point.  She'd always struck me as flaky, silly, and maybe a bit gullible and "ooh, shiny," though my impressions were forged solely through my exposure to her on Facebook and stories from the various events she and my husband both attended (separately, of course).  She seemed the kind of woman who spends entirely too much time trying to convince people of the "scientific proof of near-death experiences" and other ridiculous, magical things.  Not a dull-wit, but someone who bought into most of the artsy-fartsy, woo crap that's so popular with a certain contingent.

She seemed, maybe, a bit immature.

A couple of years back, before we moved away, we headed over to her place to give her my old aquarium.  For her girls, I guess.

The girls she murdered.

I'm seeing a lot of "I know you're watching from heaven!" garbage from folks, but you know, that's almost certainly not the case.  Because there is no heaven.  No afterlife.  And if, by some astounding stretch, I'm wrong about that?

Pretty sure child killers wouldn't go there.

I'm trying to go beyond what I know of her and convince myself that she must have been psychotic.  Delusional, suffering a break from reality that was beyond her control.  It flies in the face of what I know of her personality, but it's the only way I can find pity in my heart for her.  I know people will think I'm awful, I'm hard-hearted and cold, but here's where I am:

If she had LIVED, most of the same people who are proclaiming her some sort of saint would be waving those torches and pitchforks.  Nobody likes a child-murderer.

If she had been a MAN, this postmortem coddling and cossetting wouldn't be happening.  S/He'd be condemned roundly, excoriated posthumously as a coward, a murderer, a monster.

If she had been a MAN who LIVED, the masses would be screaming for a heaping dose of Old Testament justice.  No mercy, no forgiveness for a man who murders his own children.

This is hard for me.  She was a beautiful woman, to be sure.  That she had a circle of friends and surely must have had good traits and things about her that made folks love her isn't in doubt.

It just doesn't matter.  Taking a gun and slaughtering your children trumps anything that might have made you fun at parties.  Those beautiful, adorable, fabulous girls will never have the lives they should have had.  They will never dance again, they will never go to college, get married, or have beautiful babes of their own.  And to hear these people talk, it's like it was some mysterious act of GAWD that killed them.  But it WASN'T.  It wasn't a bolt of lightning or a yawning, earthquake-inspired chasm or a racing flow of lava from Mt. Doom.

It was her.  Their mother.  No accident, no divine hand.  Just the hand of someone who never should have, grasping a weapon she never should have had.

My heart is broken over those girls.  I cried today for them again today.  I cried for their grandparents, who lost so much in one selfish, stupid act.

They say her (recent) ex-fiance was pacing the drive in horror after finding the bodies.  Saying over and over, "Why do that?"

Why, indeed?

And just a couple of days later?  Another child murder, this one the father murdering his wife and children just a short distance away.  Another case of a parent who murders the children when relationship matters take a turn.  This one?

A cop.

I ask again--who does that?  How small, stupid, mean, selfish, and completely egocentric do you have to be to do that?  I'm not going to say that I've never considered suicide--that would be a lie. I won't even say I haven't considered it as a result of a damaged (and damaging) relationship.  I have.  But the very idea of harming my child is so foreign, so repulsive, so absolutely horrifying to me that I literally physically recoil from the thought.  Barring flat-out psychosis, how does one embrace that thought and decide it's a good idea?  "Hey, the relationship with my husband/wife/fiance/boyfriend isn't going so well, think I'll murder-suicide the kids!"

I remember when I was a pre-teen and teen, I used to imagine how sad everyone would be at my funeral.  All the people who'd hurt me, boy wouldn't they be sorry?  Is THAT what this is?  Some immature, ultimate "get even?"


And I'm just going to assume you already know that people who have guns in the home for "self-defense" are drastically more likely to either die at the wrong end or kill those they love with them than to ever have to face down a criminal or otherwise defend themselves.  No need to belabor the point, because we all know it's true.


My dad is improving.  He's STILL in hospital, but the past few days has seen him off the ventilator for hours at a time, and even sitting up in a chair a few times.  His hospitalization insurance is about maxed, so it's a bit of a race against the clock now.  Hoping he's home before the insurance kills and their entire world is thrown into that bankrupt-due-to-bills abyss.  They do have long-term insurance that should kick in to help with home-care, so let's hope.  His heart is still functioning well below normal, but he hasn't had a smoke for almost a month-and-a-half, so that's good, right?


Had yet another sad, stupid online social experience yesterday.  You'd think I'd learn.  You know how it is.  We all like to assume that the groups WE hang out with are smarter, kinder, and in a way stand out.  In a good way.  Well, last night, I was once again reminded that, no matter how terrific a group seems, the sad fact is they only like me because I'm a name on a screen, someone funny and smart (and, of course, by definition, not fat.  Because fat people can't be those things). If they could actually SEE me, they'd walk away.

Snickering.  Probably taking pictures for some crappy fat-shaming meme.

Imagine, just for a moment, having someone say (about a picture that looks a lot more like you than you'd like) "If I ever looked like that (and I never would), I'd want someone to take me out back the shed Ol' Yeller style."

Think about those words.  About what they mean.  In a nutshell?  "If I were you, I'd want someone to kill me because you're just that horrible."  And even the "kind" responses were "Sure, it's genetic, but I make lifestyle choices that make it a non-issue." and "Oh, gosh, that poor woman--imagine how horrible it must be to be her, trapped in that awful body 25/7/365!" 

Yeah, imagine.  And if you think THAT'S bad, imagine that's how people look at you.  How they talk to you.

My husband tries to be understanding.  He fails miserably, but, hey, at least he tries.  One memorable time, he compared how people have treated me over my weight with not having nice clothes growing up.  And then got pretty upset when I told him that's like comparing apples to anvils. He doesn't get it because he has never, ever, in all his life, faced broad, popular, socially acceptable disdain and horror.  He has never had something about him so horrible and INDELIBLE that it can't help but define him because it's how society defines him.  He will never understand, and I don't think he's ever going to be willing to admit that, because don't we all want to be the person who "gets" it?  

I left the group.  Not in a big, huffy bang, but just walked away.  My husband tells me I screwed up, that, hey, they pulled the post, and besides, a lot of people later came in on "my side."

He doesn't get it.  He won't ever get it.  Because he's never been followed through a grocery store by teenage boys snorting and grunting like pigs.  He's never had people marvel that he can ride a bike, like he's a circus elephant.  

He's never had teenage girls saunter past, loudly proclaiming that, if they ever looked like him, they'd expect their friends to put them out of their misery.

Once you see how people see you, it's impossible to UNsee it.  It was a private group, dedicated to giving folks like us (atheists) a safe, friendly, supportive place to hang out and interact without the outside attacks we so often experience.  And knowing now how many of them think I'm horrifying?  
Well, I just didn't feel very safe and supported.  You'd think I'd be used to that by now, but I'm not.  I don't think I ever will be. 


And that's about it.  Really caught up in the family history gig, finding things I'd never known, including second spouses for relatives, kids who were from other partners, etc.  It's great fun, but becoming a bit of an obsession.  A good one, though.  Give my boy a real sense of who we are and where we come from.

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