Saturday, March 12, 2011


It may sound offensive but both murderers and victims partly
share a life journey. Though the event, the crime that connects
them provides different starting points for this journey through
We share the qualities of being inescapably human. We take the same pleasures from life, good company, sex, a beautiful landscape...Humanity is, to this extent, indivisible.
And as time passes, the shadow of the loss becomes less frequent and less overbearing. It is always there, ready to intrude into daily life but, as with any death, at some indefinable moment it ceases to be the largest thing in daily life. This was so with the death of my mother, and again with my sister.
It is the same for the murderer. Time fades the crime. It is ever present, but not as sharply. The trivia of daily life begins to intrude again. The spaces between the crime coming to the forefront of the mind can grow longer and are filled with the normal pleasures and pains of daily life.
But, at least for me, my crime is ever ready to flood back. It is tormenting, and I don't feel that I have the right to attempt to prevent it. The least that I owe my victim is to feel that pain.
Yet I am still human. I enjoy TV, writing, stuffing my face, laughing in company, all of the little joys and hurts that are felt by everyone are things that I share. My crime is the biggest thing in my life; but it is not the only thing.


  1. Ben this is another really excellent post. Thinking aobut your life though, what was the sequence of events, did your mother die first and then your sister? Can you fill us in? You've talked about the loss of your sister and the feelings you had at that time, if its not too painful, what happened and how did you feel when you lost your mother?

    Best wishes and thinking of you x

  2. The very fact that Ben committed murder is proof of his humanity. That may seem an odd statement, but his crime was one of emotion. If he had no emotion, he would never have killed, and isn't emotion what makes us human? A murder as the result of emotion can never be done by a cold blooded killer.

    The only way for this not to be true of a killer is if they are a sociopath completely lacking empathy, which Ben clearly is not.

  3. I approve of your last statement, 'My crime is the biggest thing in my life; but it is not the only thing.'

  4. @sophie j, How did you feel when you lost your mother? what a stupid question, how do you think he felt when he lost his mother? I doubt he was dancing for joy!

  5. @anon 3.33. It does no harm to talk about these things.

  6. @Tallguy

    Interesting choice of word. What follows may seem to be merely a question of semantics but I think it's more than that. "Humanity" is predominantly used to express what we regards as the best of being human. Emotional empathy, sympathy, the ability to rise above reflex emotions and consider your fellow man.

    It depends whether you're using "humanity" simply to mean that Ben is a member of the human race or whether you're using it in its more common sense of being humane.

    If the former, then your statement that Ben's crime is proof of his humanity is surely meaningless. Whatever his crime may say about him, I don't think anyone ever imagined that it meant he wasn't a human being.

    If the latter, then it seems to diminish the concept of humanity. If Ben's "humanity" is what led to to commit his crime, then that argues that "humanity" is just a set of animal instincts and characteristics.

    You say that murder as a result of emotion could never be done by a cold blooded killer. That seems a self-evident and self-defining statement but then where is the virtue in emotion? If emotion can lead equally to acts of charity or to acts of murder, then emotion per se cannot be a virtuous concept. While it is true that the same sort of chemical reactions can lead to love or to anger, we shouldn't conclude that therefore both are equally valid in human interactions.

    Isn't "fallibility" the more appropriate word. Or even "emotional fallibility". At least that removes from the equation the admirable quality which is innate in the word "humanity".

    I'd be happy to live my life guarding against my innate fallibility. I shouldn't like to live my life guarding against my innate humanity.

  7. Well put Ben, once again a truly open and honest piece. Thank you.