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Stabbing answer not on website

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Waukesha Freeman June 5, 2014 Page A5 Opinion

Stabbing answer not on website

Macabre tale with no easy answer


It’s a macabre tale. One little girl has a party for her 12th birthday. It’s followed by a sleepover with a couple of friends. The next morning the three friends go play in the park.

One of the girls thinks the game is hide-and-seek, but the other girls know the game is murder.

The victim thought the other girls were her friends, but they allegedly took turns holding her down and stabbing her repeatedly. The victim, unnamed in the Waukesha Freeman article on Tuesday, crawled to a sidewalk where she was found by a bicyclist.

An Amber Alert went out. I still have it on my phone. “This is the Waukesha Police Department. We are looking for two 12-year-old girls. They are Missing and Endangered.”

The story changed quickly, and chillingly. We learned Morgan Geyser and her friend Anissa Weier allegedly stabbed their friend 19 times. They allegedly planned the attempted murder for months, although the final execution appeared to be improvised.

On Tuesday night, I visited the park where Geyser and Weir allegedly planned to kill their friend in the bathroom. A short distance from the park bathroom, kids were playing on a jungle gym. A little farther away more kids were playing soccer. Life continued at the planned site of a murder.

Still a little farther down the road, where three girls walked toward the woods on a Saturday morning, the television trucks were lined up to report the latest grisly details. Television may show the girls’ faces, and the cameras can show the sidewalk where the victim was found, but we may never understand why it happened.

According to the police, the girls were enamored with the story of Slender Man, a homicidal mythic figure given life on the Internet. The police report says the girls believed that if they killed someone they could live with Slender Man in a mansion in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest as his “proxies.”

Waukesha’s police chief cautioned parents to monitor their children’s Internet use. Waukesha Schools Superintendent Todd Gray denied the iPads handed out by the school district were responsible for the girls’ fascination with Slender Man, and then the district put out an alert to other districts to block the website.

On the Waukesha Freeman Facebook page, commentators blamed the parents with at least one person wanting to “hold them accountable.” Others said it’s unfair to blame the parents all the time when kids are quite capable of turning out bad no matter how well the children are raised.

By Tuesday night, Geyser’s attorney was asking for a psychiatric evaluation of her client. It was a mad act, but did she know right from wrong? When Geyser allegedly stabbed her friend, did she really understand that her friend might die? Or was Geyser lost in some fantasy?

I can’t get past that we’re talking about two 12-year-old girls who allegedly wanted to kill a classmate. What can we possibly find for a rational explanation? Even the possibility of mental illness does not explain how two preteens could possibly conspire to kill someone with whom they went roller skating the night before.

I look at my son and his friends, most of whom are very familiar with the Slender Man story. My son told me the whole story just last year. I didn’t worry about him and his friends, and I’m not going to start worrying about it now.

I remember when I was young parents were panicking over Dungeons and Dragons. If that wasn’t bad enough, some of us listened to Ozzy Osbourne and heavy metal. These were supposed to be the roots of evil in my youth.

I even started reading Edgar Allan Poe. Not one of my peers had reason to fear that I was going to re-enact “The Tell-Tale Heart” or “The Cask of Amontillado.”

There have always been irrational causes of fear in parents. None of those can ever really explain why a child does something terrible.

We’re talking about the murderous fantasy of two 12-year-old girls. We shouldn’t be looking at a website for the explanation, and I strongly suspect we won’t find any answers looking at the parents.

The answer we’re looking for is in the girls’ souls, and we may never find it.

David's Park and Big Bend Road (right) in Waukesha

David’s Park and Big Bend Road (right) in Waukesha

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