The Sandy Hook school shooting will never be forgotten. There is no doubt of this. The depth of senselessness and the deep, biting nature of the tragedy assures that it will be something that for a generation to come, all one has to do is say the words “Sandy Hook” or “that shooting in Connecticut” and Americans will know of what one speaks.
To a lesser extent, this will be true of the case of three kidnapped women who escaped the horrors of a home in Cleavland. Again, this is an unthinkable circumstance that came to be and a headline grabbing event.
Outside of the fact that both were committed by evil men, the two situations share one other factor. There is discussion of destroying the structures that saw these atrocities occur. With the school, it’s more than understandable as educators try to remove distractions for their students and knowing that you walk in halls where so much life was lost would certainly count as one. And one would pity the real estate agent who would be trying to sell a house that also served as a dungeon.
While these motivations are understandable, I think there’s a danger in them. These things are not simply unforgettable, they should never be forgotten. They should remain as a call to vigilance and a reminder of the depravity of which men are capable. They should be a cautionary tale and motivation for the public to not ever think that “it” can never happen to them or the one’s they love.
I say this not because I wish to be a fear-monger, but because there is real evil in the world and while we wish to not be controlled by it or cower from it, we must never ignore it.
I’m an author and one of the things author’s do is think about bad things you can do to people. The bar is set and readers are desensitized enough that occasionally we step up the bar and try to come up with something that had been heretofore unthinkable, a process that has produced both great works of challenging fiction and “torture porn” schlock like “Hostel”. But reality consistently shows that it’s stranger, more disturbing and uglier than any fiction (more beautiful and wonderful, too, but that’s another post).
I do not presume to judge the people who have suggested or moved towards getting these sites demolished. It’s not up to me to tell people how to react to the things that happen in their own home towns.
That said, if I should ever be the victim of a madman, I ask that you not destroy the location of my demise or abuse for my sake. I ask that you keep it. Turn it into a museum, maybe, but keep it. Use it as a rallying point for anyone who would rise to the challenge of making sure something like that never happens again. I would not have, in my memory, someone choose to demolish a building if it can live as a symbol of the fight to combat horrors.
There’s always the possibility that someone of sick mind might seek these places out as a shrine or the end of a pilgrimage to inspire them to similar acts. I would rather have that (and the potential for such people to expose themselves in the process) than to have the incidents, were it me on the receiving end, to be just words on a page; essentially hearsay.
There needs to be some evidence I think.
And again, this is how I feel. I’m not the victim of these crimes, I don’t know anyone who is and I won’t presume to speak for them. But there’s a fine line between giving something the proper respectful difference and sweeping it under the rug.
If I’m ever on the receiving end, I’d like for someone to make sure to err on the side of not forgetting.