There is no way to understand what was going on in that man’s mind while he killed three girls of ages between three and six in cold blood and seriously wounded another six of the same age in an Amish community, Pennsylvania, USA. Actually, I’m not sure if I want to know, but a conversation I had earlier triggered my thoughts.
The conversation ended with: Why are you thinking to write about it? It happens so often nowadays! So it does, and that makes us ignore it, thinking of it as less tragic, accepting it and trying to adopt a new way of protecting our kids? And how can we do that? How do we dare do that?
I never lived in an Amish society and I have only seen the Amish a few times, only once live, the rest in a Hollywood film with most popular Witness starring Harrison Ford. From what I have read and seen, including all these films, the Amish people are the most peaceful people on this planet, many keeping away from technology and social events, however big these might be and however much these events might influence their lives.
For most of my life I lived in big capitals. I used to live in average middle class places near the centre of the cities. After a while, I came to recognise the faces of the local dealers and the pushers. When they robbed a neighbour’s house we all somehow knew who did it. Still, we all thought that it was a fine neighbourhood, there were worse, much worse in the same town. And then came Finland, no Amish around, but it is a quiet place to have kids and that’s something we often mention with my friends, a nice place to have kids.
But then, which place is nice to have kids? A thirty-two-year old man calls his wife to tell her that he molested two young members of his family twenty years ago and then, after putting the phone down, he enters an Amish community school filled with kids aged between six and twelve. After keeping only the girls in one classroom, he starts shooting with a gun he had legally bought.
Three girls are dead, another five in critical condition and for what? He even left a suicide note saying that the over the last few years he had been haunted by dreams reminding him of the crime he committed in his youth. His wife said also that he had changed after the death of their premature infant daughter who had survived only twenty minutes nine years ago.
Does all that make a reason to kill innocent kids? Even more, do his actions make us think of it as one more event in an already rotten society? When I started thinking about the incident in USA my mind was on the three dead girls, few hours later my mind is on how we have become accepting of something like that as part of the news. Have we become monsters eating pizza while watching live from Lebanon kids dying? Have we turned so cold-blooded to consider the Pennsylvania incident as just news and be more bothered with the weather and the latest sports results?
In his suicide note, the man added that he was too angry with God. What God? His wife added that he was a good husband, very good and a quiet family man and father, a real believer. I feel as though my head is ready for an explosion. A believer? The man could sense good and evil? He was going to church? And we, everyday people with every day lives, with kids and families, believers and non-believers, we deal with it as another accident, as another incident in a life that goes wrong anyway? The man was so angry with the god he believed so he punished the children?