Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Hapless Child

It costs me never a stab nor squirm
To tread by chance upon a worm.

'Aha, my little dear,' I say,

'Your clan will pay me back one day.'

Dorothy Parker

Today they found the body of Michelle Gardner Quinn, the missing 21 yr old UVM student. The mood around the office was sober and the feeling in this small Vermont town is one of shock and disbelief. This isn't supposed to happen here. You are supposed to be safe walking home past 2am up Main St.

To The Last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
-William Shakespeare, Macbeth

It starts me wondering. Is all this pain and random violence new? We've been killing each other for time memorial, right? Or has society hit a new low? Are we so cold and disconnected from life and death and sex that we try to break down these barriers with rape and murder because at least it makes us feel?

Verse, Fame, and Beauty are intense indeed,
But Death intenser - Death is Life's high meed.
John Keats

It makes me angry. Angry at this guy for taking away this young girl's future, for stopping short her life. What right did he have?

Some people are so afraid to die that they never begin to live.
Henry Van Dyke

As far back as I can remember my mother has scared the beejeesus out of me when it comes to the evil that men do. She filled my sister and I with fear and paranoia which was bolstered by over-active salacious news programs and our own hyperactive imaginations. You try to hold hope in your heart that people are good but then there is another senseless crime and you begin to have your doubts.

How the days stretched out - each one the same as the one before, and they would continue to do so, tediously, until the end of history. And every day we have lived has been the last day of some other fool's life, each day a dot of candle-light showing him the way to his death-bed. Blow the short candle out: life was no more than a walking shadow - a poor actor - who goes through all the emotions in one hour on the stage and then bows out. It was a story told by an idiot, full of noise and passion, but meaningless.
-William Shakespeare, Macbeth

What right does anyone have to take another person's life? It seems ridiculous to me. But still, we peer through the dirty window, hoping for the juicy details. Getting as close as we can to the tragedy to achieve our own titillation, but at the same time, careful not to let the bad luck rub off on us.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned
Romans 5

Michelle Gardner Quinn's story was picked up by the big news media because it is an exciting missing person's tale. Young, white college girl goes missing...was she kidnapped? Stolen by terrorists? Oh, the drama possibilities were endless! The big media didn't care about Laura Winterbottom. Simple death doesn't hold the same drama possibilities.

What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
James 4

This year Laura would have turned 33 years old, my age. Instead, she was raped and murdered last year by some crazy asshole who carjacked her. It pisses me off. It makes me want to beat someone up, not forgive their surviving family like those goody goody Amish people.

“Life is intrinsically, well, boring and dangerous at the same time. At any given moment the floor may open up. Of course, it almost never does; that's what makes it so boring.” - Edward Gorey

Where ever Laura Winterbottom and Michelle Gardner Quinn are, I hope they are at peace. And maybe someday we can figure out a way to stop killing and hurting each other, or at least figure out how to be human without destroying everything and everyone in our path.

Perhaps passing through the gates of death is like passing quietly through the gate in a pasture fence. On the other side, you keep walking, without the need to look back. No shock, no drama, just the lifting of a plank or two in a simple wooden gate in a clearing. Neither pain, nor floods of light, nor great voices, but just the silent crossing of a meadow.
Mark Helprin, "A Soldier of the Great War"

3 comments:

Q_Monroe said...

i felt so sad and sickened too eva :(

the le duo said...

bad shit happens anywhere- people have to idyllic a view of Vermont- we're not a fucking postcard- there are murders and rapes and child molesting priests and pain and sadness and suicides and everything else. All sad...

Eva the Deadbeat said...

true, bad shit happens everywhere, always has and always will. hard to stomach though...and sad everytime it hits...