Thursday, December 13, 2007

Worst Dad Ever

I heard a horrible story last night on the local evening news, and I just finished reading up the follow-up story today.

An father was returning his 6 year-old and 13 year-old daughters to the house of his estranged wife's house Wednesday evening. After his wife refused to come out onto the porch to talk to him, he pulled out gun, pointed it at his daughter's heads and fired a single shot into each of them, after which, he put one into his own head and died right there beside his two daughters on the front porch.

With all the violence on television, the movies, and even in the streets, we have become numb to tragedy. But stories like the one above manage to shock us out of our insensitivity. In fact stories like this make me want to puke in disgust. Any loss of human life is tragic, but when innocent children are the victims of senseless violence, is there anything worse? Not since the Susan Smith case have I actually been moved to tears by a story of such senseless, needless loss. The incidents surrounding this latest tragedy are hard to imagine. What father would turn a gun on his own children? Why couldn't he have shot HIMSELF first, THEN turned the gun on the girls????? What makes these heartless lunatics feel like they need to take innocent victims with them. Did he thing the girls would be there for him in the afterlife? Was he just trying to make a point to their mother? I don't even know what questions to ask in a case like this.

Tragically, filicide, as the deliberate killing of one's progeny is called, seems to be a growing trend nationally, as there are seemingly more and more cases involving parent killing their own children, or seriously injuring them in their attempts. A quick check of Wikipedia shows and alarmingly high number of filicide cases. Here are some headlines from the last few years:

Man Gets 40 Years In Infant Son's Death
Teen Mom, 17, Charged As Adult In Death of Infant Son
Infant Dies From Methadone Overdose
Mother Gets 15 Years, Likely Deportation
Man Charged In Beating Death Of Infant Daughter

Statistics have shown that
the majority (70%) of the motives for filicide-suicide were identified as altruistic, that is, the parents (90% of the mothers and 60% of the fathers) were motivated by the desire to alleviate real or imagined suffering in their children. Does that make it any more noble or less criminal?

Watching an episode of Dateline NBC last night, I saw how the McCoy septuplets were doing now at age 10. Two of them have cerebral palsy and have endured 10 painful years of physical and occupational therapy and numerous surgeries. Science and empirical evidence show that there is an extreme risk of CP in multiple births, and the McCoys were facing odds that all but guaranteed that one of their seven children would suffer the debilatating disease. When asked if they regret carrying all seven to term, they broke down in tears and said, "How could we. We have never encountered anyone who loves living as much as their daughter with CP."

The response was so heartfelt and poignant, that I fell my heart swell in empathy for their decisions (although I was cringing during the story about the details of the surgeries to correct the CP.)
This heart-warming story aired just prior to the story about the double murder-suicide, and really put me on an emotional roller coaster that kept me up much the night thinking about it. How can some people be so strong, compassionate, and hopeful in the face of adversity, while others are so weak, punitive, and savage in the same situation?

Our world is so unpredictable situations and unpredictable people. The McCoys had their faith to guide them through. Others are tremendously misguided. I believe it all comes down to one simple concept: LOVE
It's what we as humans really can never get enough of is love, but sadly, it's the one thing we
cannot give enough of.

The lack of love and compassion, especially in such tragic portrayals, leaves a horribly rotten taste in my mouth.

As Charlie Brown once quipped, "
Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love."

I don't imagine ol' Chuck ever thought the consequences would extend past the deprivation of the taste buds.

No comments: