Who Were the Victims?

Details about the horrific Seattle killings have emerged:

Court documents said McEnroe, a store clerk, and Anderson, who is unemployed, told detectives they armed themselves on Christmas Eve and went to her parents’ home near Carnation, about 25 miles east of Seattle. There, they confronted Anderson’s parents, Wayne Anderson, 60, and Judy Anderson, 61, in their living room.

Michele Anderson told detectives her brother, a carpenter, owed her money she had loaned to him years earlier, and that she was upset with her parents because they did not take her side, documents say. She also said her parents were pressuring her to start paying rent for staying on their property, where she lived in a trailer with McEnroe.

“Michelle stated that she was tired of everybody stepping on her,” the court papers say. “She stated that she was upset with her parents and her brother and that if the problems did not get resolved on Dec. 24, then her intent was definitely to kill everybody.”

Satterberg said Michele Anderson fired once at her father’s head but missed. McEnroe stepped in, leveled his gun and fatally shot Wayne Anderson in the head, documents said.

Judy Anderson heard the shots and ran from the back room where she had been wrapping gifts. She was shot by McEnroe, who apologized to her before shooting her again, this time in the head, the court documents said.

Satterberg said that the two dragged the bodies to a shed behind the house, used towels and carpets to sop up blood stains and awaited the arrival of Anderson’s brother, Scott. He was due for a Christmas Eve visit with his wife, Erica, and children Olivia, 6, and Nathan, 3.

Her brother and sister-in-law put up a brave struggle, according to the documents. Scott Anderson charged her when she pulled out the gun, and was shot up to four times, records say

Michele then shot Erica Anderson twice, but she was able to crawl over the back of a couch to call 911, authorities said. McEnroe tolddetectives he tore the phone from Erica’s hands and destroyed it.

Huddling with her children, Erica Anderson pleaded with McEnroe not to shoot her, saying: “You don’t have to do this.”

“Yes, we do,” McEnroe was quoted as replying in the affidavit. He fired at her head, authorities said.

Satterberg said that McEnroe apologized to both of the children before he shot 6-year-old Olivia. He then turned to 3-year-old Nathan, who had picked up the batteries from the cordless phone his mother had used in her futile attempt to call for help, court documents said.

McEnroe than fired one last bullet through Nathan’s head, according to the affidavit. When asked why he shot Erica, Olivia and Nathan, McEnroe told detectives three times: “I didn’t want them to turn us in.”

Three generations wiped out. The last and youngest, a toddler bewildered at the slaughter surrounding him, had his brains blown out to ensure his silence.

Because we’re an advanced society, we no longer can grasp the concept of Evil in others:

[E]ven as they filed aggravated first-degree murder charges against McEnroe and Michele Anderson, prosecutors could not say what might have driven the couple in the violent killing spree.

“In the end, what motive could you find that would make sense of the senseless slaying of the Anderson family?” King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said in announcing the charges.

McEnroe and Anderson will now go on trial. They will be represented by counsel, of course, and well they should. If they have none or if they can’t afford it, it will be provided for them, which is right and proper. The Law will be their tender and will not allow them to jeopardize their rights, which is only just.

If convicted on the six counts of aggravated first-degree murder, McEnroe and Anderson could face death sentences. If so, there will no doubt be automatic appeals, which there should be. These appeals will be lengthy; we will want the State to be careful about taking such an awesome step. During this time, bien pensants will continue to call the death penalty barbaric; perhaps they’re right.

The alternative sentence is life imprisonment without possibility of parole. In that case, McEnroe and Anderson will spend years and years behind bars. During this time, our sensibilities may change; the same bien pensants are already saying that imprisonment for life is cruel and unusual punishment (see also here).

Because we can’t acknowledge that anyone (except, perhaps, Bush and Cheney) are evil, that it must have been their environment or upbringing, slowly and inexorably the perpetrators will become the victims. Why, if sufficiently notorious, they could even have streets named after them and become honorary citizens in suitably progressive countries that look down their noses at us barbaric Americans.

Forgotten, of course, will be those they murdered. We won’t even remember their names, the memory of which will be as decayed as their bodies. News reports will focus on poor McEnroe and Anderson and the miseries of death row or a lifetime cell, saying in a graf much farther down that they “killed six people in a Christmas Eve spree.”

In being so solicitous of the murderers, the true victims will die a second time. And we will have killed them.

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