What on earth?

I know that we live in a fallen world. I know that human nature is capable of incomprehensible evil.

I still cannot quite wrap my brain around the news of people pouring muriatic and sulfuric acid all over children’s playground equipment. Having never physically attacked anyone, perhaps I don’t fully understand the psychology behind it. But I would think that there would either have to be anger or revenge involved (requiring some kind of personal relationship with the victim), or a sick thrill in seeing a stranger suffer.

Neither of those motivations appear to fit these incidents.

1. No individual was targeted. The playground equipment itself was completely covered. The attackers would have no inkling of which child would be injured by the acid.

2. They also, presumably, were not around to see the effect of their attack. From what I’ve read about serial killers, the draw is the sense of power, seeing fear in the eyes of the victim. Unless the perpetrators were hiding somewhere in the bushes (which is possible), what was their payoff? I fear that it’s all about the news coverage. Welcome to the You Tube generation. I would not be surprised to see a video of the gleeful acid-pouring party show up on the web in the next few days.

These events raise so many questions.

Why target children? Small children, in fact?

What kind of sicko thinks of this in the first place (the Texas incident)?

What kind of sicko thinks it’s a good idea to copy it (the Baltimore incident)?

Will there be more copy-cat incidents across the country now? Do I need to research different types of acid, find out if they have distinctive smells, so I can be equipped to check our neighborhood playgrounds before my girls go down the slides or swing on the swings?

How long will we need to be this diligent? Will this become a routine part of going to the park, in the same way that we know we must check Halloween apples for razor blades (or throw them away entirely)?

I hope they find the attackers quickly and punish them severely and publicly. Anyone considering a copy-cat in their own town needs to see, as soon as possible, that it would be a very, very bad idea.

In the meantime, I’m praying for that little boy in Baltimore, and thanking God that the little girl in Texas is doing so well.

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2 thoughts on “What on earth?

  1. I appreciate your concerns about ensuring safety for small children and finding security in our increasingly unpredictable and uncontrollable environment.

    I am concerned, however, about your “sicko” label and comments. You are correct that the people that do these types of things — acid on playgrounds, the shootings @ Virginia Tech, are VERY sick people. But they are sick physically and chemically, which causes them to exhibit extreme behaviors and they are unable to judge and evaluate the appropriateness or propriety of their behaviors. We cannot change their lack of coping mechanisms or ability to apply judgment to control their behaviors and choices without identification and intervention.

    What is society doing to identify people who suffer from these diseases and disorders and separate them from society or help them so that they are not in a position to do harm? In most of these cases, there are reports of signals that were reported, but not acted upon. Or signals that should have raised alarm but went unrecognized. How do we train ourselves to see the signals and put mechanisms in place to help these people in a way that makes our children and society more secure?

  2. From my understanding, the teenagers that they caught (in both incidents) have made no claims nor shown any sign of mental illness, at least not yet.

    I do not intend to insult those with genuine disorders. But I do very firmly believe that even “normal” people, with no chemical or emotional imbalance, are capable of evil.

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