The weekend Waukesha stabbings, WI by two 12-year-old girls have me a bit more captivated than usual. As far as I can tell, I care more because I live in Waukesha. Yes, the stabbings were as tragic and unfortunate and “Why didn’t we see this coming” as all the other media storms where someone does something that seems off their rocker, but because I know the city and the people it just feels more real to me.
For some reason I didn’t see the news of the stabbings until yesterday, three days after they happened. Maybe the media didn’t see it either or it just was kept under wraps before it made it to the front page of CNN. Whatever the reason was, it gave me a bit of a shock when I found out. Initially, I thought about where I was on Saturday morning. I went to the farmer’s market and was attacked by a bird. Had Ellie not been around, I would have gone for a run. That run, while unlikely, might have taken me past the place where the victim was found. I could have been that guy. Realizing that, it really hit home.
All of the articles I read about the Waukesha stabbings said roughly the same thing. The two girls, 12-years-old, planned the murder of their friend for months. Finally, on Saturday, they carried out their plan in a local park by stabbing their friend 19 times with a 5-inch long kitchen knife, leaving her for dead, and then started their trek to meet Slender Man. The victim crawled her way to a path where she was found and helped.
It’s very cut and dry what happened. After being taken into custody, the girls seemed to confess everything. Their motives, their thought process, and how it all happened. Some say they’re children, living out a fantasy, others say they’re disturbed. I’m in the latter boat. I don’t care if they are children and they were living out a fantasy, they still attempted to murder someone. Name a place where some murders are less than other murders. One of the attorneys is pressing to have their client tried as a juvenile (while they’re only 12 and juvenile would apply, murder trials in the state of Wisconsin are tried as adults, so why make exceptions?).
While I think these children committed the crime of an adult and they should be tried as adults and punished as adults, I do not think that they are above counseling and rehabilitation. Those things are not and should not be mutually exclusive. They are young, which is all the better of a time to try to help them. You don’t help them by keeping them from punishment. To me, all that teaches is that you can attempt to kill someone and if you plea the right way, you don’t get punished. That’s counseling and that is not rehabilitating to its fullest.
Cultural Appeal of Going Out with a Bang
This isn’t the first case in recent years, or months, or even weeks it seems, where someone commits a terrible crime that we all see as terrible. Sadly, there have been many. Far too many if you ask me. So many, that more and more people are starting to question why and asking what we can and should do about it. That part of it is good, but the part where it continues to happen is rather bad.
Last week, we had Elliot Rodgers. He made it known that he had a lot of problems which people should be trying to help him with, and they were. But someone wasn’t keeping as good of tabs on him as they should have been. His public videos on YouTube are enough to seriously and deeply question him. Only when it’s determined he’s stable and not going to go out on his promised killing spree do you consider leaving him alone. Lives are on the line if you don’t.
The media, his videos, and personal manifesto told us that he was upset that he was a virgin and that he wasn’t invited to take part in the “college life”. The laid out his retribution plan, and would have followed it until the end had there not been a locked door. Unfortunately, he improvised and took 6 lives with his own.
Then there was Sandy Hook Elementary School in late 2012. A 20-year-old, Adam Lanza, went into an elementary school and killed 20 kids and 6 adults. His motives were unknown but because of him, new legislation has been proposed surrounding the sales of ammunition and firearms. It’s unfortunate that it takes a tragedy where 20 children are shot to even propose the legislation. Even then, it’s a tragedy that there are still plenty of people who oppose it because they’re afraid they’ll lose their guns. Even if the legislation did make you lose your guns, it’s a small price to pay to keep our children and ourselves safe.
In 2012, James Eagan Holmes went into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado for a screening of The Dark Knight Rises and killed 12 and injuring 70.
I went through the end of elementary school all the way through graduation with the threat of another Columbine on my mind. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 and injured another 24. Because of them, schools got metal detectors and “Hold, Lock, Secure” plans and drills. I went to school always wondering whether my classmates decided that today was the day. Fortunately, it never was.
Part of the problem comes from the fact that I can mention Sandy Hook, Aurora, UCSB, Columbine, and Virginia Tech by name and you know what I’m talking about. It’s more than the guns alone, or the exposure to violence. It’s the access to information–everyone has it. It’s the media making them household names. Hated, yes, but everyone knows their names or at least what they did. I think these people got what they wanted. I think they wanted to be remembered and this was the best way to do it once they were fed up with it all.
So how will it play out for the girls responsible for the Waukesha stabbings? I can’t say. There’s a chance they might not be remembered. Partially because not all media sources are releasing their names because they are minors and partly since I started writing this and the time I published it, there has been another killer on the loose. A man up in Moncton, Canada has gone and killed three Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Maybe his story will overshadow these girls.
All that being said, I still think there’s too much violence in the world now. Too many people resort to the wrong actions to feel justified, glorified, whatever it may be. As a society, we are instilling this idea of going out with a bang. But even before that, we are pushing these individuals to the point where they think they need to. We need to be more aware of the people around us and we need to reach out to them and offer the help, comfort, or care they need before it’s too late.
I’m just one guy and these are just my own thoughts. I’m curious to hear what you think about the problems we seem to be having. It’s more than a phase the nation is going through and we better do something to alleviate the problems before they get worse. How would you do it?