I think about everybody knows about this, and I just wanted to do a quick dedication to the Ridgeway family, her school, her friends, and everyone else involved. The grief right now…I can’t even imagine. But having caught the murderer, I hope that there can be some sort of conclusion to this horrific act. My thoughts are with you.
On a not-so-much lighter note, because I wasn’t directly emotionally involved in this situation, I took the opportunity to look at this critically and more technical than others. Maybe it’s because I had a dream last night that I was a lawyer and was defending a woman who killed some 300 people, or it’s because I’ve always had an immense fascination in criminals, criminal cases, and the minds of the criminals, but I am fascinated by this whole case–despite the fact that it was so close to home. I have done immense research on murderers and serial killers over the years–I literally spend my FREE TIME reading about them. I almost went to college to study criminology. Hearing about this and researching this is right up my ally, and I suppose it’s because I don’t let the emotions get to me.
For those of you who read my blog post a few weeks ago “Read this for fun!” I posted a story to talk about with my group members. As you know, I’m no stranger to writing about dark, demented stuff behind the eyes of child kidnappers, rapists, and murderers. I write whole novels of thrillers and tales of the criminal. Absolutely fascinating, but not for the faint-hearted or to read on a full stomach. Anyway, I looked into this Ridgeway case as an opportunity to think behind the eyes of the kidnapper/murderer, and it was even more amazing to me that he was a 17-year-old college freshman!! Two words: holy SH**!
So, while everybody else tries to unwind and think of something happy before they fall asleep, I closed my eyes before I went to bed last night and let my imagination take over. I let myself imagine if I was Sigg, when I was 17, and who I was back then…and put myself in his shoes. To be that disturbed and troubled and morally unsound, Sigg must have had a pretty rough life himself. Maybe abused as a kid, or neglected, or bullied by other kids, or felt left out and scared. Some criminals do the acts just for attention–attention! So they could be powerful and special, too. Messed up, yes, but the more I think about it the more it makes sense. To take another life, despite the consequences, is empowering because you are in charge–you can either give mercy or not, you get to decide how their last minutes will be, you get to watch the light leave their eyes (quote from Voldemort, booya). This is why serial killers get addicted to killing–for all those reasons of power and satisfaction So, I conjured up this awful world where Sigg lived in, and what sort of state he must have been in where he thought kidnapping a 10-year-old girl and killing her was justification for how he felt. Now, if you’re getting a odd feeling that you’re watching an episode of Dexter…I totally understand because I’m right there with ya.
Now, I put myself behind the eyes of Sigg’s teacher–who knew him as a high school students and sat in my classroom and turned in my assignments. How must this teacher feel? Responsible, in a way, for not seeing a murderer in my classroom? Maybe, I would have those thoughts floating around. But I would also feel confused and…disappointed. Disappointed in Sigg, disappointed in myself for not helping him when he obviously was so disturbed inside. If I had seen it, I could’ve prevented a future murder. But how DO you see something like that in a student, and respond in the appropriate way? As teachers, I know we can’t save lives. Bad things happen and sometimes the student we think is least likely to do something like that ends up being the culprit. But…we also have so much influence on how students, particularly in high school, feel about themselves. Sigg obviously felt like he had no future and was lost on who he was. Or if he did have a clear picture of that, something else was messing it up–some obstacle he couldn’t get passed. Maybe he was failing my class, or felt like he couldn’t please anyone, or just broke up with his girlfriend…who knows? But it just reminded me again of just how much a teacher could HELP, too, if they keep their eyes open and spot a disaster before it happens.
By the way, a great read is Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Piccoult. It’s the story about a high school boy who was bullied his whole life for being gay (even though he really wasn’t gay), and he ended up turning into a mass killer in his high school. It was inspired by the stuff that happened at Columbine. But the best part about this story is that you get glimpses behind this boy’s eyes and how he felt at school and towards his teachers. You can almost feel the hatred boiling up inside for the way people (and teachers) treated him. Extremely powerful. Highly recommend reading it if you haven’t already.
Anyway, sorry for the sobering blog post. If anything good came out of this, I have officially started writing again! (I’ve been battling with outrageous writer’s block for over a year now, this is a big moment). Inspired by all these events, suddenly my words are flowing again.
Peace and happiness to everyone–be thankful for your life, and think of the Ridgeway family. Have a good weekend, be safe!