“I could have gone all my life without knowing that.”
The above is one of my mother’s statements. She had others that suggested, as this one does, that some events are so wrenching to hear or see that they stagger the mind and body. They rattle one’s faith in the good of God and of humans. They make the earth a place we must escape or reshape completely.
The Aurora and Newtown massacres were events of that nature. I believe the perpetrators, James Holmes and Adam Lanza, were and are insane. They were ravaged by a mental illness that lowered them beneath reason and beneath humanity. I want to believe that because the alternative—that they were simply evil—is also unbearable. There has to be hope that such people can be identified and treated or restrained before they act.
The New Delhi attack that’s been in the news for quite a while is one of those events, too. There were two victims, actually, twenty-three-year-old Jyoti Singh Pandey and her companion. The male was beaten; his legs were broken. His worst suffering was likely as witness. For over two hours the young woman was tortured by five men and a juvenile male (six men). The attack was at first called a “rape,” “a brutal rape,” then the words “savage” and “torture” were added. The companion, in a statement that was published after the young woman died, said what happened was too terrible to describe, that the attackers were worse than animals.
It’s impossible to believe that the six men were insane. But greater numbers, both men and women, have gone along with such acts, even worst ones There are postcards, and photos, and videos, and sheer history, oral and written, to attest to that.
I think it’s okay, healthy even, not to know too much about the terrible injuries men and women do to one another and to other species. It’s possible to skim articles and make leaps past the horrific, to mute out sound, to avoid such things altogether. No one could be happy for even a moment if she had to think of what was occurring all over the world to someone. My sister would say “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (or something close to that), and I agree—“Sufficient” is even a bit memory of any of it. We should enjoy the good things in life, which are usually the most simple things, good air, good food, comfort and safety, family and friends. But we do need to know what is endured by others. We have to protect one another. Defend. Support. We have to be brave enough to sympathize and empathize and stand up and speak out for what will ensure safety and health and happiness and the benefits of this earth for everyone. We have to remember that evil does exist. No matter its cause or source, we must remember not to let it become acceptable, passed off as part of life. We must fight it.