It’s late and I just finished watching a baseball game that I was pretty psyched about until a couple minutes afterwards when all my Twitters and Facebook timelines seemed to light up with this news:
I didn’t know the family involved, although apparently the father was a media executive. He has a Twitter account that he fills with links to CNBC articles. I live close to them, but not that close: about 20 blocks away. We once thought about sending our daughter to the same Spanish-language school they sent their daughter Lucia to.
On the other hand, they likely had more money than me. Maybe they voted Republican or ate different ice cream flavors than I do, or perhaps there were other reasons why I might see myself as different from this family.
But I am actually not at all different from these people. Neither are you. Neither is anyone who has ever placed their children in the care of strangers: just left them with a nanny or a camp counselor or a teenaged babysitter or teacher taking a class to the park, or even an in-law or some other relative. I can’t say I’ve ever entertained the idea that you might come home and find your children murdered. But I have had a much less articulate sense, when I’m paying attention, that there is risk in all the choices we make. I choose to go for drinks with my wife and hire a babysitter while we’re out? Risk. You make one decision, one trade-off, in a lifetime of compromises and small risks, and something like this can happen.
Do what this mother did, which was to take her middle kid swimming, and that can be that. This transcends neighborhood or income: in the Upper West Side, it’s a swimming class; in the Bronx it’s a basketball tournament (where four-year-old Lloyd Morgan was murdered earlier this summer). I’d guess that these murders will get more ink than those in the Bronx, which also sucks, but for reasons that seem best talked about another time.
Something else that is terrible: blogging. We do it here. The mother of these children did it on her blog. The link is here. I could hardly even bear to look at it at first, because the kids are in there walking around the neighborhood and I was especially transfixed by the oldest girl, who is exactly as old as my daughter, and looks just like any other kid anywhere. The thought of her murdered is just a bit overwhelming.
There is, though, another side to looking at the blog. Those kids were happy. I don’t understand the spiritual mechanics of how kids arrive on this earth, and I certainly don’t understand how they get chosen for a death like that. But I do understand happy kids. They were lucky kids, for those weeks, months, and years that their happiness lasted. They never knew bitterness or hunger. And then, mercifully quick, it was all over.