Hominy & Hash
ANATOMY OF A TWISTED SOUL
by Constance Daley
American Reporter Correspondent
St. Simons Island, Ga.
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- The heart is not as elusive as the soul. When we say, "The heart of the matter is..." we know the heart is centered somewhere and illustrating our point. We could say the crux of the matter; or, the core, just as easily, but "heart" is softer, it is non-argumentative - after all, we all have one, we know what it means. "The heart, the living part of the matter, is..." is what we're saying and it's how we're understood.
But, the soul, now -- that's not so easily described as being an inherent part of us. It is defined as the most basic, significant, and indispensable element, quality, aspect, or essence of a thing. A thing? I wouldn't have thought of the word "thing" myself, but when I look into the eyes of someone who has committed him or herself to something so heinous, so beyond belief, I can truly say I see nothing resembling humanity - I see a thing.
And so it was this weekend when the face of a man came across our television screen, purportedly having shot nine family members earlier that day, that I was looking at a nonentity, a zero, a thing, perhaps, but still a nothing.
We sometimes joke about the dumb Doras in our midst and say, "the lights are on but nobody's home," or, we laugh when Carol Burnett looks closely into someone's eyes and says: "Hello, is anybody in there?"
We try to find a handle to hang on these "things" in our society: "It must be a cult," or, "it's mind control, plain and simple," or, "it's the devil incarnate," or, even, "he's another Charles Manson." In so saying, we can almost dismiss what just happened as if it's "just like last time."
We no sooner get the sniper killers taken care of (subject to appeals, ad infinitum) then we witness something like the latest tragedy out of Fresno, California - nine innocents, blood relatives of the monster held captive to his depravity.
I don't know what to make of the soulless among us and, as a society, I don't think we really know what to do about them. In the case of the mentally ill who function when on medication and then become murderously violent when they stop taking it, we know what the problem is. But the man arrested this past weekend "cooperated" with officers taking him into custody. Pretty soon, he'll be joking with the guards, if past is prologue.
Unlike Manson or Jeffrey Dahmer or the female "monster" whose life story earned actress Charlize Theron an Academy Award, there are those in the annals of mass-murder who are not soulless. The sniper killers had anger, ability, opportunity and a desire for vengeance - and they used all that to fuel their mission and stifle their consciences.
Ted Bundy, however, arguably one of the handsomest men of his time, was filled with such conceit that he felt he could do anything and still "beat the rap." Even with the face of an angel, a face that let him get away with anything, able to attract young girls easily, the demon within him crowded out his soul until he was nothing but a "thing," a monstrous thing who left countless young women lifeless to feed his diabolical intentions.
It's not drugs, it's not parenting, it's not society, it's not education or lack thereof, it's not television, it's not special effects, it's not video games - and yet, it's all those things and none of those things at the same time. And, for the most part, it's not even sex. The sexually perverted are part of our culture and part of our understanding - sort of.
We're forced to deal with a "thing," something we can't comprehend, something we don't understand - and, apparently, something we can't do a damn thing about.