Thursday, June 7, 2007


I haven't been sleeping well, ever since Saturday, when Kelsey Smith was abducted from our local Target store.

I'm haunted by the image of a beautiful young woman bopping out to the parking lot with a roll of gift wrap and a bag of presents, completely unaware that her life was about to end.

I think about the little boy with the pinwheel (see my May 20 post), and I wonder if innocence and trust are set-ups in a violent world.

I think about babies in Africa and old people in New Orleans and how the slow violence of neglect steals their lives away.

I worry about the mothers' sons and daughters whose innocence is stolen in the name of Iraqi "freedom."

I'm tormented by the face of Kelsey's suspected killer, believing that at some point he, too, was an innocent.

I think about the day twenty years ago when new neighbors moved into the house behind us. She had a brand new baby, and after introducing myself to her, I touched the baby's curly hair and said, "Look at him. He's just perfect."

The new mom turned on her heel and snipped, "Well! Scripture clearly states that we're all born into sin."

I've been mocking my neighbor ever since for that comment, but when human beings are horrible, I start to wonder if she was on to something.

Are all of us humans intrinsically bad people? Or just some of us? Or do we all start out okay and then regress morally, some of us more than others? is it like a big Roy Rogers or Star Wars episode, and the whole point is for the good guys to vanquish the bad guys? How does that happen? Is it true that all we need is love? Will love change the heart of a damaged, violent, murderous soul?

I'm at a loss. And now I'm trying to wrap this up with some kind of hopeful thought.

Maybe my blogfriends can help?


Jas P. said...

Woody Allen's old thesis was that life is divided between the horrible and the miserable. But there must be some equation there that leads to comedy--he was funny, back when he said it.

Life seems essentially absurd, which can go comic or tragic, I guess. It does seem that something's lacking in modern life, something that leads to unspeakable horribleness and leaves innocence out in the open with only predators watching.

As a thoroughgoing Jungian, I think we're born with 360-degree personalities that include plenty of universal human shadow from the collective unconscious and some individual predispositions of soul and genome. But I think the personal shadow we develop is mostly from the lopping off of the 360 degrees, courtesy of parents, teachers, church, society, friends, lovers, etc. All that rejected personality doesn't go away, it just goes underground.

When it rears its head, it may look like a guy dragging a girl into his car--or at least fantasizing about it. Here's a question: do all these movies about women getting abducted, tortured, and killed--do they contribute to the enactment of these horrors in the world? I went to a movie the other night and two of the six or seven trailers were for girl-abducted-by-crazy-guy movies. And I thought, maybe this kind of thing is cathartic for disturbed guys who have these fantasies. But what if it just makes it seem all the more possible to do it in real life?

Kelsey Smith was apparently a good friend of Oliver/Sylvia's daughter--lockers right next to each other, graduated together. What a welcome wagon to the world. Between that and Mike Rokoff dying at 68 (while Dick Cheney remains at large), it's been a lousy stretch--the kind that leaves you feeling sort of raw.

mol the doll said...

I know that violent art and drama are cathartic and have been around since the Greeks and before, but I wonder if our shadow sides have ever before been glorified like this?

Maybe the free access to violence (for everyone, including young, unitiated, unparented audiences) is where we're going wrong.

Jung helps me understand some of the dysfunction out there, but I wonder if the current violent, fear-based state of things can be that neatly explained.

LHOOQ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.