Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Necessary Rant....


Last night as I was going to bed, I heard the news that the missing girl in Tracy, California was found dead.

Eight years old. Sandra Cantu. Found on the bank of an irrigation canal in a used suitcase, abandoned like trash.

I know it upsets the social apple cart to discuss such a thing in a blunt and bold manner. It's not socially sanctioned to point the finger where it belongs and call it out. I should be typing all sorts of platitudes, peppered with obsequities about how she's in a better place, that she now floats with the angels. I should be comforting.

But I can't. I'm angry.

She's not floating with the angels. She's dead. This isn't some disconnected "tragedy". It was a cold-blooded murder. It was likely committed by yet another sex offender who can't control his urges. We don't know if she's in a "better place" or not, because none of us have been there and come back to talk about it. We all have our own beliefs to comfort ourselves, to convince ourselves that these events have some larger meaning. We all hope. None of us know.

I think it's time to move beyond this kind of thinking which fundamentally excuses the fact that we have all participated to some degree in creating a society where this kind of behavior occurs.

When people come to believe that wants are needs, that our urges are something we have the right to satisfy, that all our dreams should come true and that there should be no limitations on what we can have, it also creates a social atmosphere where the sick among us believe the same is true for themselves. When we sanction the idea that individualism is king and that we have no right to interfere with the actions of another, we create an environment where these kind of things can happen because someone else - or someone else's kids - are not our responsibility.

What we are responsible for here is to protect each other, especially helpless children whose brains have not developed to a point where they can protect themselves. We have a responsibility to create a society that is safe for its citizens, where respect, honor and moderation are valued.

I have all the compassion in the world for Sandra's family and friends and for the community of Tracy which has been affected by this. When these things happen, trust erodes. Neighbors can no longer trust each other. It further separates us.

My hope is that the person who did this will be caught and brought to justice. And going just a bit further, I hope everyone will realize this isn't just another news story. That little girl was a real human being whose life was stolen for no other reason than someone's inability to control or moderate his urges.

It's time to wake up. It's time to address the social issues that are responsible for this behavior becoming almost common. There's a time when we would have been shocked. Maybe it's time for these things to become shocking once again.


~*

21 comments:

heartinsanfrancisco said...

It is a shocking story, and I, too, am terribly saddened by the wanton waste of little Sandra who will never get to live her life.

I disagree with one small point you've made, that children's brains are not yet developed enough to protect themselves. I think it's more a matter of their small, weak bodies being unable to outrun or fight off their attackers. Adults with presumably fully developed brains have also been victimized by brutes with uncontrollable urges.

More importantly, though, we are all to blame when we fail to be our brothers' keepers, to look out for each other as a matter of course. We also lose a bit of our humanity when an event like this occurs and we secretly give thanks that it wasn't OUR child. Until we realize and act upon the truth that we are all related, we will not collectively improve.

As for me, I have never offered or found comfort in the notion that someone dead is in a better place. Such a fatuous statement generally makes me want to smack someone. Perhaps that makes me a bad person, but I prefer acknowledgment that a horrible deed has occurred and that nothing can fix it.

flutter said...

This just breaks my heart. There is no peace in this

Cecilieaux said...

I really like your conclusions -- "rants" like this? Bring them on! -- but I can help be critical about the premise, sad and a as genuine loss for the families as they must have been.

I know: I will sound like a cold, two-headed monster. However, I can't help notice that the local dramas that are no larger, no worse now than they have ever been, get played up on television (why I don't watch broadcast news) at a time in which the very order of the society is at risk due to the economic rapes and molestations of the wealthy and powerful few.

In the 1930s, they managed to fasten public attention on the Lindbergh kidnapping. People were literally starving and living in tents -- as they are now -- but the press of that time directed the attention to the personal loss of a privileged (and Nazi-leaning) couple.

So, yes, the afterlife is bunk. Wants are not needs and they shouldn't be coddled. I agree, Chani, with those thoughts, even though I can't let myself be manipulated into what brings out such clear thinking.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

And another issue is the isolation of this society - the fact that an anonymous person can do this. When we lived in communities where everyone knew everyone else it was harder to hide behind the anonymity where this kind of thing could take place.

Yes, I'm outraged for the death of this little girl and for what has befallen her family and community.

niobe said...

Amen.

Anvilcloud said...

It's so terrible, so sad. I have nothing else to say.

Border Explorer said...

I glory in your outrage. Where is the general outrage? I thank all goodness that you are awake and present to the suffering and the evil and that you allow it to move you. Through you, we are moved.

slouching mom said...

What a beautiful girl.

Her beauty aside, what a sad and horrifying story.

Some days I worry that the bad is far outweighing the good.

Angela said...

This is so sad. I had not heard of it - I actually try to stay away from too much news. It's too heartbreaking.

Mary G said...

The raping and killing of little girls, little children of both sexes in fact, has gone on all through our history. Soldiers let loose in a city after a siege, aberant African generals recruiting child soldiers and brutalizing them, American settlers treating the Indians like animals, little girl babies exposed in China, fathers raping their daughters for years, all horrible, some old news, some right now.
I hope there is actually less of it in modern North America than in the past. In this society of mass and instant communication, we hear about every one.
Yes, children deserve a life free of this danger. It demands constant vigilance from all of us. It requires us to be connected to our communities, to hold the state to account when policing strategies do not work.
I would like to see child rapists humanely killed if the crime is clearly their work. But in Canada we have no death penalty. Brings up the next best answer which is to lock up the perp for life in high security, no chance of parole or pardon.
Whoo, you really hit my 'on' button, Chani. No one does it better than you.

Leann said...

I knew from day one that the little girl would not come back alive. As for who is responsible? I'm guessing, as you stated, that it is another sex offender.

Woman in a Window said...

It is shocking to me. Shocking and unbearably sad. I got nothing else. I'm too undone.

starrlife said...

I like your baldness- it is emminently suitable. Unfortunately this isn't the result of the society we've created but a product of the unevolved animal called human. You are right on the money that it goes uncorrected and needs to be leashed, punished and we need more education about how to protect ourselves from the predators that crawl amongst us on their prehistoric bellies.The dark side of human species is vast and terrifying...

hele said...

"What we are responsible for here is to protect each other" i agree so much with this.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

When I was 17, a 9 year old girl whom I babysat often, whom I loved, was kidnapped and raped and killed. Stories like these have been a raw torment to me ever since. Murder is an obscenity that creates holes that cannot be filled. I will believe that till the day I die.

painted maypole said...

wow. um... i think you're right here, that our tendency to say "We can have whatever we want" definitely bleeds over into an even scarier place. that's a hard comparison to make, but I think an honest one.

LittlePea said...

It's horrible. There's still a little girl missing not far from where I live and it's been a few weeks now. What saddens me while reading your angry words here is that we are not all together angry enough. "Individualism is king," indeed.

Mariposa said...

Horrible it is! Not only news like this saddens me but this also makes me so angry...crazy people on the loose victimizing innocent helpless beings! And yes, to think she's in a better place with angels and all that happens not to be the issue here. That only applies (for me...personally!) when one is suffering here and thus resting in peace is the only next option...but to deprive a child her/his life is just horrible!

I hope the person who did that pays for his/her crime and that he/she should be punished according to the crime he/she committed.

This is indeed a necessary rant...

Ian Lidster said...

I hate it when stories conclude in such a way. I know it's reality, but I don't need to like it or to feel no moral outrage. And maybe it is time for things to be deemed shocking once again, as you expess.

Reluctant Blogger said...

I have been out of touch with the news but like Ian above it is always a real body blow when you follow a "story" and it ends in this way. You spend all the time hoping it won't but kind of knowing it will.

I did a bit of work with sex offenders once - voluntary work - and they are amazingly manipulative. I have no idea how you deal with them. They sound cogent and healed when you talk to them, remorseful and yet they go out and repeat their behaviour months later.

I do understand though how it is impossible to curb sexual urges however hard you to try to be like "everyone else". Not that it is the same thing at all - but I never succeeded in being heterosexual, despite the fact that I dearly wanted to be. And yet I had phases of believing I was succeeding so I am sure it is the same for paedophiles.

I am not condoning their behaviour at all, I just have no idea how we deal with them. This kind of thing has gone on always.

My own worry is that publicity surrounding cases like this further curbs the freedom of children. And generally children are as safe as they have ever been and they should not be caged up indoors.

Poor poor Sandra.

citizen of the world said...

Oh, that is so very,very sad and horrifying. I don't know that it is so much that their brains aren't ready bu that children are physically unable to defend themselves. I grieve for the family of this girl.