There's been a story in the news for the past few days and I can't seem to get it out of my head. I guess it hits a little too close to home for my comfort. In the simple little town of Mont Vernon, New Hampshire, a 42 year-old mom and nurse was slain savagely by teens with a machete, her 11 year-old daughter's throat slashed and leg broken, all because they just so happened to be at home. They were victims of a random attack by a group of teens who made a pact to commit murder at a home they chose at random. You can read the story here, or I'll do my best to give you a brief re-cap of this horrific crime.
Four male teens, ages 17-19, alleged "skinheads", decided they wanted to go on a thrill kill. They chose a home at random and agreed to kill anyone who was in the home. Unfortunately for 42 year-old Kimberly Lynn Cates and her 11 year-old daughter Jaimie, whose husband was out of town on business, the teens chose their home. Authorities report that Kimberly, who was slain as she lay in her bed, never had a chance as her precious daughter's throat was slashed and left for dead. Jaimie, somehow managed to call 911 and survive the attack. Today she is in critical condition at the local hospital.
This one sent chills down my spine. I decided to talk to my kids about this crime, not to scare them, by any means, but to make them aware of the possible signs of teens and "anti-social" behavior. Yes, these teens were labeled "skinheads", all with close shaven scalps. They were labeled, "troubled", and the picture of Steven Spader, 17, Christopher Gribble, 19, William Marks, 18 and Quinn Glover, 17, twists ever so curiously. But how do you really ever know what these troubled kids are capable of? And the question begs to be asked, how do you prevent it?
The alleged ring leader, Spader, is a 17 year-old drop out who friends say had no fear. An 18 year-old who graduated from the same high school Spader once attended said anonymously:
“Because when you see a kid who looks like he has no fear, you become afraid. (Spader) said whatever he wanted to anybody. He didn’t care what the principal said. They’d tell him go to class. He wouldn’t. They’d suspend him. He didn’t care. Authority was nothing to him.”
So I ask you, was this a walking time bomb ticking? What are we, as a society, to do about something we have virtually no control over? Can we forsee, predict or better yet, prevent a senseless tragedy by looking out for the signs? Do we lock up all the goths or skinheads to protect ourselves, simply because a few deranged and evil apples spoiled it for the rest of them? I wonder. This is certainly not the first time teens have gone on a thrill kill mission, nor will it be the last, but for some reason, this one hit me like a ton of bricks.
Maybe because it could have been me. And it could have been you, or a loved one or a cherished friend.
Gone forever just for the thrill of it.