Don’t read this if you don’t think you ought to.
In case you haven’t heard about it – and if you’re not in Russia, you probably haven’t – twelve people were massacred in the village of Kushchevskaya on November 4th, during a holiday weekend. Most of the victims, who had gathered to celebrate November 4th (Day of National Unity, as it’s called nowadays), were knifed to death. Not even children were spared. A nine-month-old baby girl was choked to death.
Only the dog was treated humanely – like something out of “Lethal Weapon 3″ – the killers neutralized it by injecting it with a tranquilizer, and it’s reportedly alive and well today.
The massacre caused such an uproar that First Deputy Prosecutor General Alexander Bastrykin flew in to oversee the investigation. So far, four people have been detained in connection to the killings – the youngest is 16, the eldest is 24. Journalists who were able to get a brief look-in described one of them as a “little wolf”.
It should go without saying that massacres of this scale are almost always “ordered”. So far, the tabloids are pointing to some rich guy who’s currently “at his villa in Italy – or Spain”. Is there hope that the people who financed one of the most horrifying mass murders in recent memory will be brought to justice? I don’t know.
I know what it’s like to be targeted by criminals and to constantly be on the look-out. I experienced this as a child. I can well imagine the horror the children in Kushchevskaya went through before they were murdered. If there’s anything that I have learned about these kinds of situations – anything that the 1990′s taught me – is that at least some of the children were probably killed first, so that the parents could watch.
These types of killings serve a dual purpose – eliminating “inconvenient” people and, also, terrorizing the countryside. The massacre was meant to send a message – “This is what will happen to you and your family if you cross us – big important people.” The message is also – “The police can’t save you. The government is not in charge here. We are. We get to decide who lives and who dies.”
Now, as I mentioned earlier, I am glad that there is a moratorium on the death penalty in Russia. At the same time, I think it’s important to point out that the people who order such killings and the people who participate them usually cannot be rehabilitated. They are nothing. They have forfeited their right to be considered members of humanity. Although, as a religious person, I believe in redemption, I believe such redemption can only happen between an individual and God. The individual and society, on the other hand, should call it quits permanently when something of this magnitude occurs.
Is it not also society that allows these killings to take place? To an extent, yes. We live within a caste system in which some people have long since decided that they are above all laws – human and spiritual. And then there are also those who desperately want to join them in their places of power. The Kushchevskaya killers were professionally prepared for the task at hand. Why? Because it’s a career thing.
Unlike their victims, the boys with the knives had no interest in being mere farmers – even well-to-do farmers. They want success and they want it fast – they want the luxury of utilizing the services of upscale prostitutes, they want that flat-screen TV, the nice car. If I know anything about what makes these boys act the way they do, it is this: they’re well aware of the fact that you can’t have a decent life via decent means. If a bunch of people need to die in order for them to achieve higher status, then yeah, those people will die.
Jamil, the son of the man whose house was targeted, lost his father, mother, wife and baby daughter. Jamil’s father was Muslim, his mom was an Orthodox Christian. A local Orthodox priest allowed the mother to be buried next to her husband at the Muslim cemetery following an Orthodox Christian ceremony. “This land is one land,” the priest was quoted as saying. Jamil’s wife, Yelena, was 19 years old. So far, investigators are saying that she was already dead by the time the killers got around to killing her baby. Which is, I suppose, a good thing when you think about it – although the word “good” doesn’t feel right.
“Little wolf” is an astute characterization, by the way – although it is massively unfair to wolves.