Another Day, Another Death
The title of this post comes from a track on the Torchwood soundtrack, written by Ben Foster.
So, let’s talk about death.
We were talking about death earlier this week, because I’m a cheery kind of person like that. And actually, it has continued to be on my mind as the days have passed, from working on backstory to Watching and the rest of the trilogy (which included working out the entire life story of every character, right up to the moment they die even if it several thousand years after the last book), to looking at the news.
Yeah, you’ve heard it.
Eighteen children. Twenty seven people.
You know, America, I think it’s time we talked about your gun control. See, it’s not about this shooting in particular, or about any shooting in particular – it’s about the fact that they happen at all. Ever. That should not be a worry for people. When they send their kids off to school, maybe they worry that the kid will struggle to make friends or they’ll forget their lunch or they won’t be able to do their maths work.
You don’t worry that they won’t come home because of some psychopath with a gun that they obtained legally because those laws – well, they didn’t exist. The right to bear arms, my ass. Why does anyone deserve that right?
The right to murder other people’s children? The right to ruin lives?
Let’s think about those families, okay. So, it’s the 14th December. In 11 days’ time, 18 children should have been opening their stockings, looking at new toys… and they won’t be. Because they’re dead. Because it’s over for them.
This rant isn’t specific. I’m not talking about these eighteen people.
I’m talking about any eighteen people who were killed. Ever. Anyone who died because of someone else.
Why do people murder?
When you start thinking about that, you get into deep psychological questions. I do that a lot. But I’ve talked in the past about the Lucifer Effect. I’ve talked about what motivates evil and how we empathise with characters even when they do horrific, barbaric things, because of their reasons. But you see, I was talking about fiction. About people who weren’t real.
I cry at books, a lot, and at films and TV. I cry when people die too young, or for the wrong reasons. I cry when messages don’t get through and miscommunication leaves people devastated when actually their brother would never have called them a monster. I cry when people forget what they could have been. I cry when sentences aren’t finished and people give up everything for each other. I cry when people lose those they loved most of all.
But what really breaks my heart is that fiction is such an accurate reflection of the real world, because it shouldn’t be.
When I’m reading, I can understand even the most twisted of characters. I root for the bad guy. In books.
In real life? I can’t. I just cannot understand them. Well, I don’t know their story, and I’m not inside their head when they commit whatever unspeakable acts they commit. I don’t know why. Maybe that’s the big thing. If we know why, everything is different. Right now, I can’t even begin to imagine ‘why’, or what could possible be the motivation for such a thing.
How twisted does your mind have to be for that to seem acceptable? How lost do you have to be?
That’s what they are. Lost. I don’t think anyone is evil. But some are more lost than others. Some will probably never be found.There is something deeply upsetting as well as disturbing about the idea of a mind that is so warped as to be able to commit such an act, and such a person must be truly … well, truly what? Does it matter? Do we care about them? They are not ‘good’ people. They are not ‘nice’.
Yet perhaps I cry for them almost as much as for those hurt by their actions. Because their minds must be so dark and so hopeless.