When murder feels so close

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By Karen Wendy Brett

University Belt

Sunday, August 17, 2014


IN LIGHT of a horrific incident that involved the murder of a teenage girl by a suspect that I had personally known and considered a good colleague, I wanted to write something. Anything, and hope that doing so can somehow calm the turbulent thoughts that had been clouding my mind.

(Click link for the news story. http://www.sunstar.com.ph/baguio/local-news/2014/08/13/suspect-stabbing-...)

My skin crawls at the thought of someone so young being inhumanely murdered like that and probably even more so because I shook hands before with the alleged mastermind of such monstrosity. For unexplained reasons, I just can't find my peace of mind. I keep revisiting the victim's social page and read all these farewell messages on her wall. Majority, if not all of these, are from her high school classmates. These reflect the shock, denial and innocence of such young people experiencing the loss of a vibrant soul whom they used to mingle with at school every day. My heart goes out to the family.

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At the same time, I am hungry for news about the suspect. Maybe this is my self-denial, refusing to acknowledge that someone I remember as a smiling and very respectful co-worker is capable of a hideous crime. But try as I might to block these disturbed thoughts, I have to accept the reality that as humans, we tend to yield to our own demons. We can be strangers to our own selves and will be surprised one day to learn that we are capable of doing things beyond what we have ever imagined.

The events that led to such a tragic ending started on what could have appeared to be harmless socializing on Facebook. But considering the circumstances, it was still so wrong in oh so many counts. The relationship that sprouted from this became so complicated as it was plainly wrong to start with. But to cut the story short, the drastic circumstances that arose from this led to a crime of passion that ended not just the life of a girl who could have done a lot in the future, but also led to an immense lifetime burden to the young family of the suspect who will indirectly suffer from all these.

Not to appear preachy but I wanted to write this because of two main things. First, we have our inner demons. Acknowledging such should be a reminder that as much as it is humane to trust the people around us, there's the need to put up the shield of wariness. As it happens, wolves come in sheep's clothing. That guy you sit with at the cafeteria could be a ticking bomb who will be on a murderous rampage once triggered.

Next, our children may hate us for it but it may be for the best if we be the scorned parent who's nosy with regards our kid's social life. With the advent of modern technology, it's very easy for young people to fall prey to vulnerability, even to strangers. I didn't fancy the idea of my mother asking one thousand questions about my friends and my life in school and outside school. But with these turn of events, I now fully understand why. Parents' healthy involvement in their children's lives can hamper the occurrence of undesirable incidents. They know best.

As one blogger had put it in his tribute post, 'May we all learn from this.' To the suspect, you might have been blinded by your momentary loss of sanity but whatever the reason, you know you have a huge price to pay. To you young girl, may angels lead you in.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 18, 2014.

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