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We teach them how to tie their shoelaces…but have we taught them how to empathise?

 

 

It was a murder that made absolutely no sense, nor did it hold any logic or coherence. An event so unprecedented in the history of the State, and hugely traumatic for the three families involved, it also proved to be sickeningly distressing for the entire country as a whole. How on earth could two 13-year-old children murder another child in such a predatory and brutal fashion? How could one of those murderers not only have 12,000 obscene and disgusting images downloaded onto two mobile phones, but how and why didn’t anybody know?

  Now, in a week filled with uproar and anger aimed at the lunacy of certain individuals who broke the law by illegally posting information online regarding the alleged identities of the two convicted teens, I have to say, given the sickening details of the case, I do understand why feelings are running high. However, let me stress that, in compliance with The Children Act 2001, the convicted must not be exposed to ‘avoidable intimidation, humiliation or distress’. So, rein it in folks and instead, hold the beautiful Ana Kriegel’s memory deep in your hearts, and please allow justice to take its natural course.

  It is for this reason, instead of keeping the spotlight on the two murderers and how the verdict will negatively affect their lives, (because I honestly don’t care about them), I’d like instead to keep a focus on their victim, the little lady who could have been anybody’s daughter. The vulnerable and much-adored child whose life these two so cruelly and so mercilessly terminated in order to satiate their own sickening perversions.

  Seemingly friendless and socially isolated from her peers, it’s clear that Ana’s parents loved their adopted daughter beyond words. Indeed, the Kreigals were enormously proud of their remarkably beautiful statuesque teen, whom we’ve learned was more mature and more sensitive than many of her contemporaries. Due to Ana’s unique qualities, I’d imagine that jealous, malicious bullies singled her out as being ‘strange’. Indeed, (in the words of one of the accused), Ana, who was just two years’ older than my own granddaughter, and, whom, like most young teens, loved to sing and dance, was sickeningly compartmentalised as being “a weirdo,” who wore “kind of slutty” clothes and “looked like she wanted people to look at her”.

  Well readers, these statements clearly indicate to me that, even in the face of evidence being stacked against the accused duo – indeed, proof, showing clear culpability – it’s obvious that bare-faced and blatant victim-blaming remained a constant undercurrent in this horrific crime. In short, Ana was viewed as not only being vulnerable, but as somehow deserving of her fate. To those who stole her life, this powerless, emotionally frail young lady was nothing more than an object. A thing to be sexually assaulted, brutally beaten and callously abandoned among a pile of discarded condom wrappers, broken bottles and other decaying pieces of filth.

   As a result of my psychology training, I know, and understand, that children who murder other children may themselves have been neglected, abused and/or have experienced a turbulent home life. However, I’m not suggesting whatsoever that this was the situation here. Indeed, let me stress, during this high profile case we heard how these two boys were ‘well-mannered’, coming from ‘normal’ middle-class families who’re held in high esteem. Of course there was nothing normal about the abuse and murder of Ana. 

  Truth be told, there was something distinctly barbaric and bloodthirsty in the method in which they not just robbed this child of her innocence, but also of her life. And, as information regarding the Gardaí’s interviews was released, it became clear that Ana was seen by her murderers as someone who was disposable, as someone without any friends, and, as someone they could reject, humiliate and finally, use as a target and an outlet for their sick, voracious and violent perversions.

  As parents, we play a vitally important role in teaching our kids to know and understand when they’ve been unkind and when they’ve hurt others. We have a duty to educate them how to have empathy. Tragically, it appears for those who bullied, brutalised and murdered Ana, this cognitive and compassionate emotion was not so much lacking, rather it was clearly missing altogether. Now this could mean that both boys experienced some sort of, (let me suggest) ‘mind sickness’ disturbingly diminishing their natural abilities to be humane and compassionate to a beautiful young girl who was desperate to fit in. Or it could mean that their parents, (who may well be good people), didn’t properly communicate their expectations regarding their kids’ moral development. Who knows? Either way, a child is dead and two children are incarcerated for her murder. I wish for Ana’s beautiful, gentle soul to rest in peace and for her parents to heal and recover from the trauma of their heart-breaking and intense loss. I’m also mindful of the acute distress this heinous crime has brought upon the convicted boys’ families and my thoughts are with all involved, (including the Gardaí), at this painful time.

 

Maura…make the most of  this fleeting opportunity at fame!

 

Toned, tanned, and on d’telly would be how I’d sum up the cast of Love Island! Now that’s without ever watching a single minute of a show whereby the contestants’ survival depends entirely on not just being part of a couple, but one that’s deemed by the viewing masses to be aesthetically appealing.

  Now let me say, I’d rather stick bamboo shoots up my nails than watch this type of tripe. However, given the constant media coverage of the participants, who’re all, by the way, remarkably endowed with impossibly perfect bodies, (nope, not a minger among them), I’ve been able to keep up to speed with the goings-on both in front of the cameras and, er, under the sheets.

  This leads me nicely to local-girl-from-small-town-made-good Maura Higgins, whose antics have generated quite a lot of personal snipes, dubbing her ‘a sexual predator’ and a ‘man eater,’ prompting some readers to stop me and ask about my own take on the Longford lovely.

  Now, as I don’t know Maura at all, it’d be impossible, (and wrong) of me to form an opinion of her based purely on that perilous popsicle-sucking incident. Oooh, me nerves! What I will do though, is offer her some motherly advice and say…feck the begrudgers love…you’re playing a blinder. Make the most of this fleeting opportunity at fame and don’t you dare melt into the background when this sham show’s bubble bursts. And, when the malicious hatemongers hawk their stories to the meeja, remember hon, you were placed in an artificial situation, indeed, manipulated for other people’s amusement, and, rather than sink into the scenery, you excelled and you did your family proud. Good on ya girl!

 

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