something about everything

When “Everyman” Turns Bad

If only he were a sociopath. If only he were someone who exhibited bizarre behavior all of his life.

“Oh yeah.  He was the crazy kid who drowned cats in a big pot.”

“I was afraid of him. When he looked at you, he looked right through you.”

No.  There’s been nothing like that. At least so far.  He seemed to be pretty normal. He seemed to be like one of us…everyman.  What he became seemed to come out of nothing strange.  Flashes of insanity that might have hinted at the coming rampage were absent.

What happens when someone “snaps?” How long does snapping take? How do we know when it happens?  If the pressures of life make me snap, would I be able to stop myself from a murderous act on innocent people?  Or would the insanity that turned Jekyll into Hyde obliterate the rational person in me and replace it with a compulsive urge beyond the right and wrong that defines my existence?

It’s easier to cope with those who were always monsters.  When we learn who they are after their monstrous acts, we rationalize: See. He was always deranged. Then we can rest a little easier, because we’re sure that only the deranged commit these acts, right?  The answer, however difficult, is to find the deranged before they act.

But when a person who seems normal turns into a monster, we are left helpless and fearful. What could be more frightening than to learn that your neighbor, the kid you watched grow up and play in the yard, committed mass murder?

This orange-haired, armed-to-the-teeth theater killer was someone’s neighbor…a kid who played in his yard. He was everyman.

And he leaves us feeling vulnerable, and wondering…Why?


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