Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Last month a woman was raped at 10:00 am on one of the DC Metro rail lines. Makes the Metro sound sketchy and dangerous, the dark subway underworld. Only it isn't. The DC Metro system is pretty damn safe.
It also makes this kind of attack look random and unusually brazen and the Washington Post adds fuel to that fire in their report of the attack. When a friend posted the article about the attack, his comment was just what I expected from him. It was a WTF moment with emphasis on the 10:00 am business.
My reaction to the article was less energetic. Maybe because I was tired. I think it's more than that though, I am just not surprised by it. Not by the time of day, the location, the age (she was not the expected 18-25 demographic...she was pushing 40), not by the data point that the suspect has a pending indecency charge, not by his hunting pattern...none of it was a surprise. What makes me glitch isn't the lack of emotional activation at the attack. The glitch is I wonder which reaction is better (which ,in and of itself, is mostly a useless thing to wonder, but that's what my brain is stuck on at the moment).
The surprised, offended, perhaps outraged reaction to what looks like a bold and heinous crime means people are still human. There is still a preference for ethical and respect-driven behavior and an expectation that people are essentially good. If people are not essentially good, then no one will lift as much as an eyebrow at the guy accused of the April attack. I'm pretty sure that's a bad idea.
Violence happens. It follows a pattern and predation has a logic to it. The pattern and the logic will look random and chaotic unless you know what you're looking at.
That's what I am left with in this little conundrum. I'm not surprised by the what, the how, the who because I know what I am looking at and I wonder sometimes, whether it's better to have people who don't?
Words are a problem for me on this. I don't mean some people should be left blindly in the dark and as a result become perfect innocent lambs left out for the easy slaughter.
Informed Innocence. Is that possible? Can we inform with just enough knowledge about how the bad guys work so the Innocent gets to avoid the personal impact of a violent encounter and somehow stop short of normalizing?
And that's probably not the right question to ask even, but it's the best one I've got at the moment.