Repeating History

When I woke up this morning to the awful news that YouTuber/singer/The Voice alum Christina Grimmie had been murdered, one name flashed into my mind.

Rebecca Schaeffer.

Rebecca Schaeffer died before Christina Grimmie was born.  Both were young performers with what seemed to be long and successful careers in front of them, and both died at the hands of stalkers who came to the conclusion that if they couldn’t “have” their target, nobody could.

Schaeffer was 21, between seasons of the CBS sitcom “My Sister Sam” (co-starring with Pam Dawber), when she answered the door of her apartment to be confronted by a stalker.  She told him to go away.  He did, then came back and shot her to death.  He said she’d been “cold” to him, by way of rationalization.

We don’t know if Grimmie had met her stalker before, and since he killed himself we may never know all the details, but Orlando police have already said he came to her concert with enough weapons to kill her several times over.

Now, as then, we are so surprised by this.

Should we be?

This is the extreme end of the same discussion we’ve been having for years. Society teaches men that women are property, then wonders why some men act out that teaching in the most graphic ways.

This is the extreme end of the world where Brock Turner gets a light slap on the wrist for depravity beyond just “rape”.

This is the world we’ve built.

Why are we surprised?

A madman is, after all, just a member of “civil” society loosed from all restraint. He takes who we are and holds it to the funhouse mirror, with nothing within himself to stop actions the rest of us would never take.

And it’s sobering to realize that nothing has changed in the almost 30 years since Rebecca Schaeffer died.  Including how easy it was for Christina Grimmie’s killer to get to her.

25 years from now, someone will be writing this post again.  Because we don’t learn.  And because there will always be madmen, showing us the dangerous and coldly brutal conclusions to society’s flawed logic.

I’m sure I’m missing a ton of nuance here, but this is a gut reaction, not a comprehensive analysis.  Take it for whatever value you find…


One Reply to “Repeating History”

  1. Well said, Rob. I remember Rebecca. The list is long and sadly last night’s events won’t change much. If the culture didn’t change after Sandy Hook, nothing will change the culture.

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