11 December 2023

A tale of two cities

Untitled, Myocum NSW June, 2017, oil on canvas 150 X 150 cm

In the news this past week there were two articles that caught my attention that concerned the recent sentences handed down by Tribunals in the US and France. Being juxtaposed by arriving in a 24 hour period in the news cycle was jarring.

In the first, it reported that in France, several adolescents received sentences from just a few months to 2 1/2 years for the beheading of a History teacher in the North of France just a few years back. A the killer, an Islamic fanatic (18 at the time) was given the lengthier sentence of 2 1/2 years while the shorter ones were handed out to his younger accomplices who had led the killer to the teacher.

In the US state of Michigan, also just this week, another adolescent (15 at the time of the murders) was given a Life sentence (without parole) for the shooting murders of several of his classmates in his high school. This student had a history mental health issues known to both the school and his parents, who had bought him a new high caliber gun the day before the shootings. 

Though different, both sets of murders are horrendous, but I was appalled at just how light was the one in France, and how heavy was the one in Michigan. 

Sending a teenager to prison for life without parole is just as awful as putting an adolescent into prison in France for the beheading at just 2 1/2 years. 

Crazy, in one word. They both miss the mark. 

One cannot fathom the bottomless pain that both these sets of horrific crimes have spread across so many families and friends of these victims. But in the US, there were also many with serious injuries to students.  

Coincidently, just a few days later (yesterday) while at the gym there doing some exercises, there were two tv monitors on that simultaneously held my attention.

On the left, a report about the horrors going on in Gaza, as we speak.

On the right was a documentary about the last few years of the third Reich revealing footage of Hitler cavorting around the Berghof, his massive Alpine retreat where he apparently slept comfortably in each day and entertained guests late into the nights watching films with fellow Nazis.

"I cannot seem to escape these dual realities", is what I thought to myself. There isn't much for me to add to any go this, I wonder if the Christmas season can wash away some of these dark tales?

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