Murder is certainly a strange thing and I am sure we want less of it.
I was walking down Bournemouth beach on Sunday, heading for the town centre with my wife. It was a beautiful, almost summer day, although it was in fact only early spring. The sky was blue, the sun was bright, and crowds of people were milling around one way or another.
Why I do not know, but I suddenly recalled the Winnenden killings in a German school last week. How horrible – how sick. And then I thought about Bournemouth beach and all the beaches in the world: how many mass killings or shootings had occurred? Actually, I could not recollect one. There may be many, but I could not recall one.
On the contrary, I could recall the school killings in Britain at Dunblane and Hungerford, and I could recall famous school killings in the USA. But not one on a beach.
It seemed an inconsequential point to reflect on. I remembered that Tim Kretschmer had warned on a chat room that he was going to show people what he was worth. And perhaps that was the clue to the motivation of the murderer – the murderers. You would hardly bother showing ‘nature’ what you were worth, would you?
I mean nature – the beach – accepts you simply for who you are; you don’t need to prove anything. On the contrary schools can develop you, educate you, and also, unfortunately, humiliate you. It is that humiliation, that sense of ‘injured merit’, of being passed over in the recognition stakes, that seems to lie at the root of the motivation to kill. The killers return to the source of their hurt and wreak their damage there.
More nature, then, would be a good thing; more beauty – this is not an incidental aspect of education but a profound part of it. As simplistic as it sounds, if we could encourage young people, all people, to enjoy the beauty of nature more, then perhaps there would be less motivation to get even.
Bournemouth Beach, after all, is just a wonderful place to be – please, you don’t need to prove anything.