Sightless

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“She killed three out of her four children by gouging their eyes out and then stabbing them in the chest.”

I stood watching her from across the room, my mind trying to wrap itself around this new fact. She had seemed so normal, pleasant. I had enjoyed talking to her every day.

“Why?” I asked.

“Why?” My attending stared back at me, puzzled.

“Why did she do it?”

He shrugged. “She said their eyes had glowed red so they were possed by Satan. She had to rid the world of them.”

My heart stopped. I wondered silently if it had been the red reflex that had been the basis for her observation; the thing that makes eyes glow red in photographs taken with a flash, the thing I am looking for when I shine a light into an infant’s eyes, the thing that tells me that they do not have a retinoblastoma tumor.

“What happened to the forth child?”

“She is blind…”

How can you listen to your child’s tortured screams, hold a bloody eyeball in your hand, and not question what you are doing?

I watched as she filed over to take her medications. She had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. She waved happily at me. I waved back, afraid not to smile. I would have to talk to her in a few minutes, keeping up the appearance of normalcy.

“She has two more weeks here, then she is going to be released.” I was doing an elective rotation in forensic psychiatry at the state hospital.

I genuinely liked this woman. At least I had. I took that emotion out (like) and turned it over in my hand to examine it more closely. I didn’t want to stop liking her.

But if I had known this to start, I would not have given her a chance.

What bothered me most, aside from the fact that she should never be released in the first place, was that it was impossible to tell what this woman was capable of just meeting her on the street. How could society protect itself?

And if she can appear so normal, how many other “normal” people do I know that are capable of this? Maybe more than anyone cares to admit.

What makes me different from her? Am I different?

She is going to be released…

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22 thoughts on “Sightless

  1. A few years ago a man named Vincent Lee got on a Grey Hound bus and sat beside a young man on his way home. When the young man fell asleep Vincent stabbed him and the beheaded him and then began eating him. This was on a lonely Manitoba highway in the middle of the night. It was horrific. One of the first responder policemen has recently killed himself. The reason he gave is because Vincent Lee was recently released. The policeman said he was reliving that nightmare all over again and he just couldn’t do it. Vincent said he was sorry and promised to take his medication and because in Canada, when it comes to law and order, we are spineless milksops, we have let this monster back into society. I think there are crimes that are committed, no matter what the reason, you don’t get to come back from. Ever.

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      • Two tourists from France were the first people to happen along this nightmare. They were in a rented car and said what they came upon was something out of a horror movie. The driver and passengers managed to lock Vincent on the bus while they were huddled on the side of the highway. And because the bus has large unobstructed windows it was easy to see Vincent committing these horrible indignities. The you mans mother has been campaigning to keep Vincent locked up, of course, this is for naught.

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  2. Disturbing. Forensic medicine in general is a horrible specialty, you see some really sick people and I would be surprised if they are not themselves affected, with a warped sense of reality. I couldn’t do it either, but that just means you and I have such a strong conscientious that it continually overrides our sense of duty….

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  3. It is truly horrendous – that anyone could think something like that to start with, let alone act on those thoughts is what makes it so “creepy”. The frightening reality is that it is all too real in society. I don’t know what makes people suddenly “leap over the edge”. my regret is that they have to take someone else with them.
    I know, as unpopular as it is, that the death penalty has been given wrongly at times, yet what are we, as the moral protectors of the human race, to do when we truly understand that some people simply cannot be helped? Medication is, in my humble opinion, a placebo, since they stop taking them when they are released and they “feel well/better”.
    I also take the position way out on left field, that, it is morally and ethically wrong to allow someone who can do something like this and be allowed ro live in relative “luxury’ whilst an innocent – or many innocents have died under dreadful conditions. Anyone, “aiding and abetting” these people are as responsible for their heinous acts as the perpetrator. (Seen too much and spoken to too many who cannot ever be well again. )
    I realise mental illness is not chosen and is a cruel affliction – but this goes way beyond that. No offense intended to those so ostracised by society but as harmless to others.
    A chilling story………………..
    Susan

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  4. I went blind at about 18-months-old as a consequence of a blood clot on the brain. I have some residual vision (light and dark perception together with the ability to see outlines). While I live a good life as many other visually impaired people do, it horrifies me that someone could, deliberately blind another human being. I recollect once being followed of a bus by a lady rattling keys. On entering my destination, a supermarket the woman grabbed hold of my guide dog and said “I will kill the dog”. Fortunately a security guard ejected her. I was OK at the time but, afterwards I shook with fear. I am writing this with Jaws software which converts text into speech and braille enabling me to use a standard Windows computer.

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  5. Pingback: The Lady On The Bus | newauthoronline

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