Usually, I like to keep things somewhat light here, but today...I'm disappointed. And when I am deeply hurt, my first response is to get angry. (It's a character flaw.)
There is a little girl, Esme Kenney, who attended my parents congregation. It's not like our families are friends or anything. But my Mom tells me that she remembers this girl, attending church with her folks regularly, and that she and her Mom even lit the Chalice together at the beginning of a service last year.
Esme, a 13 year old student at the School for Creative and Performing Arts, did nothing more than go for a jog on Saturday. It was gorgeous outside.
And somehow, a man who has no business being anywhere outside of a cage (or a firey pit in Hell), assaulted Esme - strangling her to death, "attempting to sexually abuse her" (still not sure what that means - an attempt is abuse, yes?) and then setting her body on fire. It is absolutely absurd to type that. Because, I just can't imagine.
Esme's parents reported her missing right away - they expected her to return in a half hour and when she didn't, they called the Police. I know that you hear that the Police usually make people wait 24 hours or so before reporting someone as a missing person, but maybe it's different with children, because the cops started looking right away.
They found Anthony Kirkland sleeping in the woods and he had Esme's iPod and her watch in his pocket. And then they found her body nearby. Oh, I know...we can't convict him already, right? Innocent until proven guilty?
I might agree with you if he hadn't already served a 16 year sentence for doing the exact same, f-ing thing in 1989.
If he hadn't recently attacked a person, stabbing him with scissors.
If he hadn't recently solicited sex from a 13 year old.
If he hadn't threatened to murder his own 18 month old child.
(And interestingly enough, two other women's remains have been found in the woods, burnt, with no DNA evidence to explain how this could have happened. But Kirkland was out of jail during those crimes.)
So...am I angry with Kirkland? Well, how do you feel about him right now? All I know is, he must be stopped.
But if you're counting on our justice system to stop him through incarceration, forget it. He got busted for soliciting sex from the 13 year old and was released to a halfway house. He got into a fight at the halfway house so they turned him out. In fact, the Police were called to that fight.
Did they contact his parole officer? Not for several days. Don't you think fighting with other residence of a halfway house would constitute a violation of parole? As in...instant arrest? I guess not if the other resident doesn't press charges.
So they turned him out. That was February 27. And Saturday, he did what apparently he can't help but do...
Forgive? I struggle with what that means. Rehabilitation? Don't always believe in it, much to my retired-social-worker-Mom's dismay. This all makes me feel sick to my stomach. A feeling that's sour and keeps me from thinking clearly about what should come next.
People fight wars over politics and religion and haggle over oil and argue about money. But this wasn't some violent act motivated by any "real" cause. This was a meaningless, vicious attack. On a girl who loved music. She was a talented. A good Unitarian. She dug her parents. Everyone says she was special.
Most importantly, she was just an innocent kid who didn't do anything to anyone.
She went for a jog. In the sunshine.
Because it's almost spring and apparently, no one can resist being in the presence of something beautiful and untouched.