Thursday, 15 December 2016


Imagine entering a house and finding it eerily quiet, seemingly deserted by its inhabitants, and so you visit each room until you walk into a scene of such bloodiness that you have to quickly turn your back and leave. You might start to shake and even feel the urge to vomit; you might struggle for breath or howl from the shock or with grief, and yet a small part of you might disbelieve your eyes and bodily reactions until you confront the same scene again. You might experience none of those things, except for the shock and disbelief which may not come then but later. When you're some place else.
Why should you (why would you want to?) imagine such circumstances? Because it happens. Because it could happen. It's not out of the question. Something seems suspicious and so you take a look; something occurs that's unusual or out-of-the-ordinary that makes you think 'what's going on there?'; you have a feeling that all is not right as a person didn't show or stick to their normal routine; or you were meant to be there at that time and so it was you, who honouring the arrangement, had to raise the alarm.
The alarm raised, how do you feel? The process unfolding as it does in such cases (I imagine) with cops, forensics and emergency services; photographs, finger-printing, identification of the body (or bodies), the bagging of evidence and the site secured; then the interviewing of potential witnesses or suspects, the coroner's report, and the clean-up operation.
You, the discoverer, are out of this picture but not yet out of it. Fingers of suspicion may be pointed. Questions will be asked over and over. Statement given gone through again, maybe weeks, months, years after the incident if the killer has still not been caught. Shock-waves will continue to run through the community: they were such a nice family, and characters, of the murdered or of those suspected, will be dissected, because until the killer is found nobody is safe from being judged, nor feels safe in their own back yard.
An act of murder, single or multiple, has consequences, particularly if there's no rational or logical explanation, or none that's immediately apparent to those known to or by the victim(s) and the officers investigating the crime. So a piecemeal approach ensues, and is painstakingly done, when people, those related and unrelated to the incident, just want answers. Any answers, even if later on these could be proved wrong.
Now imagine the evidence gathered suggested these murders, which for the sake of argument are multiple and that of a family, were premeditated: a senseless but plotted crime, which hints the killer might have been known, for if there's no obvious motive, such as burglary, what else is there but a score to be settled, some wrong the killer felt the need to redress which to their mind demanded the whole family was systematically wiped out. The same cord-tied hands and feet and taped mouths, the same death by the same weapon. A clean sweep with no survivors. No eye witnesses. Yet if all known persons who might have held a grudge are dismissed, or there's no real vendettas to speak of because, after all, they were such an up-standing family, pillars of the community and the like, then what?
Would you want to believe it was a cold-blooded affair, that the killer(s) had no link to the victims? Because somehow it seems more rational, at least to the human psyche, if they were known. And yet if those persons were from outside, then it proves you live in a tight-knit community which has got to be a good thing, right? But then if you never find out who and why, won't there always be a level of mistrust and rumouring? How does a community repair and rebuild itself with that as its foundation?
This particular scenario, since it's imaginary, is resolved, resolved in that the killers, who were not known, are eventually caught and confess, but what they confess to is far more chilling: a remorselessness. A brutal crime motivated by lack of feeling, in its execution and its aftermath. How do you forgive an emotionless state when, like the blood spilled, it dominates the space (or cell) it's contained in?

Picture credit: The Tomb of the Wrestlers, 1960, Rene Magritte