Sean Luke is looking at you

 

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Category: Reflections 02 Apr 06

 

Look at the photo of Sean Luke. Look into the six-year-old boy’s eyes. What do you see? Your own face. What do I see? Mine.

 

We turn away. Why? Because in his dead mutilated body lies our own culpability. If it weren’t so tragic, it would be hilarious to see how far we go to deny the truths about ourselves.

 

We bluster; jump about like Jacks in boxes and point somewhere else. Away from ourselves.

 

“Call out the forces,” say the police.

 

“Shoot the accused on sight,” say some men. “Beasts,” cry some women. “Inhuman,” say others.

 

“Nothing to do with us,” say the rest.

 

We are all trying to avoid that mirror, because in the now-shutdown window of his soul, we see our own culpability.

 

Like characters out of Alice in Wonderland, we scream: “Off with his head,” to no one in particular, about no one in particular.

 

Who are they talking about? Who do they want to shoot dead? Not beasts, not aliens, not targets for police or army guns. Children. Teenagers. Yours and mine.

 

Which hand rocked the cradle, that bred the teenagers who killed, using a sugar cane to stalk sodomise a six-year-old friend, so violently that his internal organs were destroyed?

 

It was ours. We can’t look away. We don’t have details of the accused children, but can assume the following:

 

The 14- and 16-year-old school children have mothers and fathers. They belong to this country. They are children of Couva and Laventille.

 

They were friends of the boy. They were reportedly spotted “pushing a child named Chucky into the oven of a discarded stove.”

 

Clearly, they were angry. They wanted to hurt somebody. Badly.

 

Why? We don’t need the CIA to tell us. We know this:

 

It’s an established pattern, a known fact. Most violent abusive criminals were once victims. They learned violence from an adult who abused—victims turned predators.

 

Don’t turn away yet. Six-year-old Sean Luke is looking at you. He’s asking you how, if you are a man, how you treat your sons.

 

Are you dependable, loyal, fair, THERE? Are you there to see your sons grow up? Or have you abandoned them? Are you Mr Propriety himself in public, but brutish, hectoring, violent, harsh, bullying in private to everyone under your authority and control, including your wife and girl children? Brute or not, you are their role model. You may not notice the eyes of small boy children following you, but they see everything you do. It becomes burned into their DNA.

 

You may not be around, but when they are big they will do as you do. You are creating the beast.

 

Do you understand the bounds of anger, or do you uncontrollably unleash your wrath, wounding those in your care?

 

Do you hit and abuse them when they do something wrong, or do you show them appropriate boundaries when it comes to anger?

 

Women, do you, when the teacher calls you up to say your son is destructive, get on “wrong and strong?” defending the indefensible?

 

Do you correct your sons when they lash out their anger and frustration against someone weaker than themselves, or do you indulge them, look the other way, because, after all, he’s your son, and he can’t do any wrong in your eyes?

 

Do you stand up to an abusive man who is passing on destructive patterns to your sons, or are you also cowed before him?

 

Not speaking up against brutes, not standing up to them is the same as colluding with the perpetrator. You are culpable.

 

Every couple has the choice. Abusive, neglecting, cowardly couples will create abusive men and women who are drawn to abuse.

 

So next time you hear those boys are “beasts,” or “should be shot,” we should look closely. They are deflecting attention away from the beasts in their own closets, from the humdrum domestic violence that breeds beasts.

 

If you live in a violent home, wear black every day. Flash your lights every day, so some child is saved from being turned into a beast.

 

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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur