No, not really.
But where are the cries of outrage over this horrendous story?
According to police reports:
“On Monday, the two 12-year-old girls appeared in a courtroom in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and were charged with stabbing their friend 19 times during a game of hide-and-seek in the woods. They allegedly carried out the attack to gain favor with Slender Man, a ghoulish character they had read about on Creepypasta Wiki, a site where users contribute scary stories.”
For those not familiar, Slender Man is a meme that appears in various fan fiction and videos around the web. For a full back-story on Slender Man click here.
The story gets worse, as the attack was allegedly pre-meditated:
“According to the criminal complaint, the suspects had been planning the attack since February. They first thought to kill the victim by placing duct tape over her mouth while she was sleeping and stabbing her in the neck, the complaint says. They also considered killing her in a park bathroom where there was a floor drain that could make cleanup easier, the complaint says. The girls ultimately decided to carry out the attack in the park while playing a game of hide-and-seek.”
After they left, the young girl managed to crawl away and get help from a stranger who happened to be riding his bike nearby.
It’s simply horrifying to think that two people, let alone two young girls, could come to the conclusion that it is acceptable to take a life to impress someone — in this case, a fictional character. This behavior is something I would expect from a member of the Manson family, not from children.
When Elliot Rodgers murdered six people after releasing an anti-women manifesto last month, people were rightfully disgusted and saddened. Then, despite the fact that Rodgers stabbed three people to death (and shot three others), the sole focus of conversation shifted swiftly to guns. In less than a week, the anti-gun advocate group Moms Demand had already begun parading around Richard Martinez, the father of one of Rodger’s victims, using him as a political prop immediately after his son’s tragic death. Now legislators in California have already began introducing new gun control regulations in an attempt to capitalize upon the emotional aftermath of the event.
Does it really matter what weapon Elliot Rodgers chose? If so, why doesn’t it matter in the case of these two young girls?
Shouldn’t we be banning knives, or even Slender Man, so that crimes like this won’t happen in the future?
Let’s look at the bigger picture here:
- Elliot Rodgers was a narcissistic sociopath who hated women and the men who dated them. Would these feelings be acceptable if he had used only a knife to kill his victims?
- Would the Sandy Hook killings or the Virginia Tech shooting have been easier for the public to stomach if knives had been used instead of guns?
According to the FBI, 1694 people were murdered with knives in 2011. That number is more than double the total number of people killed in the same year with shotguns or rifles … combined. In fact, while researching for this article, these were three related articles on CNN.com, all written since the beginning of 2014:
- Police: Girl, 14, stabs sister 40 times because she felt unappreciated
- School stabbing suspect: ‘I have more people to kill’
- Children on their way to get ice cream stabbed in an elevator
So where is the outcry from the anti-gun crowd to ban knives as well? The simple answer is that there isn’t one. Why do we focus solely on the weapon when a gun is used rather than the murderer and his or her motives?
It’s terribly worrying that two young girls premeditated and attempted to murder a peer. Their weapon of choice should be of little concern.
In a post from September, I discussed the success had in Oklahoma after the state revamped its approach to caring for the mentally ill. Focusing on a particular weapon, or violent video games, or Internet memes is doing nothing but wasting time and precious lives by treating the symptom and not the sickness.
When are we going to get to the root of the problem and steer the conversation towards mental health care?