Monday, May 16, 2011

How Many Die?

On my recent travels I filled the long airline hours with Stieg Larsson's Millennium Series trilogy.  These books are great detective stories - good "reads" for the waiting around that goes with any family vacation.  They are best sellers.  Caution: they contain some pretty rough sex that Larsson apparently added after he had plotted the mystery theme.  His web site tells that "... he even reluctantly decided to spice it up with a bit of sex as it would probably please his readers".  Larsson's idea of spice includes sadism and cruelty that may rev up his readers, but made my skin crawl. 

Until recently I had allowed myself to believe that such treatment of women was exaggerated in novels, and only occurred for real is other times and places.  Erik Larson's bone chilling book "The Devil in the White City" is an historical narration of a truly evil psychopath who built a torture chamber in his basement are carried off women whose broken bodies he cremated in a special furnace.  But that was in 1893. 

And then it happened here.  In Western Washington.  Twenty miles from my home.  Subterranean torture chamber and all.  Women who were living their lives in the same time and place that I do.    Kidnapping, abusing, chaining, whipping, sodomizing, burning ... killing.  My pulse races as I write those words.  Only the human animal tortures and kills for pleasure.  How can we explain to our daughters that such things happen?  What punishment is sufficient?  How many women experience this horror?  Are we civilized if such men walk freely among us? How many women die? 

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