"Blessings are not just for the ones who kneel. Luckily." -- U2, "City of Blinding Lights"
There have been 3 murders in my small suburban hometown in the past two weeks, a very sleepy bedroom community in southern California that sees very little crime except the occasional arrest of kids driving too fast. Murder is shocking enough, in any community, but these were stabbings. According to forensic psychology, stabbing deaths are more violent and personal than other murders. To me, however, the more shocking aspect is the reaction by many regarding the "worth" of the victims. All 3 victims have been described as known transients, a polite term for the homeless. From what I have read in the comments section of the newspaper and from the conversations I have overheard on the subject, people seem to breathe a collective sigh of relief when they find out that the victims were homeless. As if this makes it better. And then when you add speculation that one of them may have been listed as a sex offender over 20 years ago, well, the comments shift to jubilation that they have been killed.
Even some of my own family members have used terms such as "just homeless guys" when referring to the victims, or "the killer is probably not a serial killer, but another homeless guy." Is there a division between homeless murderers and other murderers? Somewhere I missed that.
I consider myself relatively conservative, especially regarding crime and punishment. So I cannot rejoice at the fact that sex offenders are living on the streets rather than being monitored. In a perfect world, they would be under lock and key. But in this imperfect world, people live on the streets and under bridges for many reasons. Does this make them less human? Does being an alleged sex offender make someone an okay target for a brutal killing? What if these are hate crimes, all related, and some disenfranchised loner is out killing homeless men with his hunting knife because he wants to rid the world of "lesser" humans?
I would love to hear your comments on this situation. Killing of homeless--less of a crime than killing of other people? Hate crime? More acceptable if they are sex offenders? Let me know what you think.
The Social Mommentator
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