Some days ago as I spent time on Encyclopedia Dramatica, an entertaining take on Wikipedia, I started off on Wiki to read more about 'Livejournal'. End result? Well, soon I found I was reading more of famous users on Lj, specifically, the infamous ones. soon I found myself voraciously reading up on Rachelle Waterman, her journal, the truncated version, the original version, looking for clues, her life. For the lazy (to search on the net) and uninitiated ones, Rachelle Waterman, resident of Alaska, was convicted of murdering her mother.
As I read more, I found myself getting more and more under the skin of the girl. As in, the issue began to take more human proportions. When someone tells you X,Y, or Z somewhere was killed, you are shocked. But does the news really penetrate into your mind? It is more like a piece of information highlighting the sad state of affiars nowadays. Rarely is it that we actually see the crime. We see the words, the occurence, but not the crime, the magnitude, the horror.
This was a supposedly normal girl, life choc-a-bloc with things to do. And one day she writes about her high boots, and absence of her mother. Just like that. I dont know how many reports I read, her perspective, her journal, her life. Trying to find one small detail showing her feelings towards her mother/ her plan(s). But no where could I find a trace. Instead I found myself getting more anfd more into the story, the people, and against my wish, pulled into the happenings in the small town of Alaska.
My interested was spurred, fired, and before I knew it I was reading more and even more...about more such crimes - murder in school, child molestation,etc. Digging up journals of convicts of heinious crimes, looking for a trace as to how exactly does the mind of a criminal work?! Are these people looking for a normal life outside life? Or do they write journals so as to give vent to their real feelings?
What was the real life of these people like? Not too different from yours or mine. What does their journal look like? Like a million others, with small incidents of daily life. A place where they seek acceptance.
So where do they actually give vent to their real feelings? Or is it because they dont do that they end up as criminals? But then I could not read more. I was left with a bitter taste, and a realisation. A sort of fear of the intensity yet casualness of the whole thing. Of how small everyday occurences can effect one out of so many people so drastically. Of how they take it so personally, and heavily. Of what they do to change the circumstances.
Rachelle had an unhappy home life. Just how unhappy is something only she and her mother know, this young boy felt a hatred towards his Red-Indian society, but exactly how strong or how desperate was something we cant fathom to understand.
Were their actions a result of their lives, or compouned by their lives? Were the circumstances an excuse, or were they the cause? Somethign Im not qualified to say, but surely no one can comment with surety?
All I can say is that there are desperate situations taking place everywhere, maybe to us. It is the person who makes the choice of reacting or taking it in their stride. While most of us may do the latter, we never know who it is that chooses to react...it may be your neightbour, it may be you.
PS - To add, movies do try to depict some of these cases, but they try to find a cause. Suppose there is no cause. What can explain the casual unconcern of a teenager to the world and to her journal (read by select few at that time) while plotting and implementing the murder of her mother? Can you show it on a screen? Can you make someone understand how grave the situation actually is without them realising it themselves?