Lately I’ve been experiencing something new to me: news rage. It’s not the stories in the newspaper that get me. Rather, it’s the Korean news stories that never make it to the English newspapers that get my blood boiling. Stories about teenaged girls being raped and left to die from exposure in the cold, for example; or about a desperate family approaching cops, begging them to help find their kidnapped daughter who is in the neighborhood, and being yelled at for interrupting some fucking cop’s precious sleep — only to find the daughter the next day, raped (of course) and beaten, only meters from the police station.
The latest news piece hit me so hard that I couldn’t think straight for fifteen minutes when I got home. Lime told me, and showed me news reports. Of what? If you can read Korean, here’s the original story — it might be less mangled than my rendition.
In Ulsan, there’s a family. They had a kid with some kind of mental handicap, and to free the parents up to work, they drop the child off at a special care facility run by another family — a husband and wife, really, with a few employees. Of course, my first reaction was a little insensitive: “Ah, drop the kid off for the week, so you can work and be part-time parents.” But that’s totally unfair, considering what a difficult time so many parents have <s>raising</s> taking care of such children. It’s not like raising a kid, because independence of the kind we’re used to imagining as part of raising a child just never comes. So, they relied on a facility to care for the kid during the week, and picked him up Fridays. Okay, I can sort-of imagine that.
What I cannot imagine is what happened to the kid. Or, rather, I did imagine it and it made me spit bloody bile. Recently, the parents wanted to pick up their kid, because, of all things, it was his birthday. They called the facility, and were told some excuse — something about an outing, which made it impossible to pick him up for his birthday.
A day or two later, they were called because the facility owner needed to inform them: “Your baby’s dead.”
When they arrived, they found the baby massively bruised around the face and the backsof his hands — the bruises on the hands indicating self-defensive bruising. In other words, the little child had raised his hands reflexively to defend his head, as someone beat him there. Of course, the owner of the facility lied. They said he’d fallen from a piano. The pictures — which I’ve seen, and you can see if you want — make it obvious how much bullshit this is. It’s such a moronic lie that I can’t believe someone actually attempting it with a straight face.
More shocking was his horrifyingly swollen belly. The reason it was swollen was because he had an intestinal rupture. This means someone struck him with enough force to break open his intestine. I had no idea about the kind of pain involved, but Lime explained to me (from experience treating someone in this condition). A person with this kind of condition is in such incredible pain that they don’t want to be moved. Even the slight jolt of, say, a surgical cart moving over a joint in the floor causes this person pain.
This kid was in this condition for a few days. When the parents asked, “When was the last time he ate?” they were told he’d eaten breakfast that day, that he’d had a chocolate and a tomato and radish soup and rice, and in fact eaten a lot the day before, and the day he’d died. But the autopsy falsified this, too: eating anything at all would have caused the child so much pain that he would have passed out immediately. So they not only lied about beating the child, but pretended that he’d been eating well. That’s how sick this shit is.
Worse, they claimed that because of his condition, they had removed him to their home to take special care of him. Realistically, this kid was badly injured, but maybe he could have survived. If his parents had insisted on picking him up — such horrible guilt they must feel at not having insisted — they would have been lucky enough, perhaps, to get him to the hospital. Maybe he would have lived. But as it was, the child went to stay at the couple’s home. When the child’s death was reported, it was the parents of the couple — I don’t know which side — who were there to pass the body on to the authorities.
And Lime said that, although everyone knows now which place it was, the name of the facility involved has not been published, because — of all things — it’s illegal to do so. Maybe there’s some good reason for this. I’m not inciting anyone to violence, but I know that personally, rage doesn’t even touch how I feel. Disgust isn’t a drop in the bucket.
I’m coming to a point where I think the justice system here is utter bullshit. A legal system that bans publishing the name of this company? A legal system that protects people who murder children from the parents who, let’s face it, deserve some retribution? We like to pretend we’re civilized, but that’s a front. The parents of this child deserve the right to torch this fucking place to the ground. They deserve the right to rip the bodies of whoever did this to their child to pieces; to use whatever weapons they want, whatever restraints, whatever tortures.
We’re told we should maintain restraint. We’re told we should control our feelings. We’re told that these animals have rights. But that’s what they are, the people who murder children, who beat them and then conceal the beatings until they provoke death. People who starve their own or others’ babies to death, either on vitamin supplements or vegan diets prescribing soymilk and apple juice. Boys who gang-rape girls, and the cops who castigate them for reporting it and giving the town a bad name. All of these people, there is nothing for them, nothing that can be done to make them moral, decent, or human.
Yes, there are subhumans in the world. There are human-shaped animals who are less than people, and I’m sorry if I’m saying something that scares or bothers you, but we deserve for them and the danger they pose us to be eliminated. It’s not about what they deserve, it’s about everyone else deserving to be free from the harm they will cause.
Will, not might.
We should never judge them by race, or class, mind you: there are CEOs who deserve to burn, just as much as petty thugs and child-killers. Me, I’m willing to admit that when I look upon the images of this child, that there’s something wrong with a system that separates his parents from them, that hobbles them and holds them back. That’s not justice or civilization: it’s a monstrosity, and the real purpose of that control is the maintenance of another kind of control over us. Martial force is, we’re told, the property of the government. It’s state property alone, and its use is sanctioned by nobody else. Maybe it’s my blind rage at this moment — after hearing story after story like this in the news — but I have to think there’s something wrong about a society that refuses to allow people to avenge the murder of their helpless children. I can see that we need trials, and we need a justice system to make sure that the right people are convicted of whatever crimes of which they are accused. But that a government takes over the role of punisher, or rehabilitator (which is a gross lie in so many cases, where people offend again and again). Surely there are crimes in which we should stop, and stand back, and respect the wishes of those wronged. Surely there is room in the justice system for the will of victims — to forgive, or to demand reasonable punishments. Surely, there is room to extinguish the lives of absolute monsters.
In case you disagree with me, click on the “More” button to see what I’m talking about. And look long and hard, and imagine it’s your own child dead after days of screaming and suffering, after a beating so cruel that vicious is an understatement. Imagine someone saying to you, “He fell off a piano,” and enumerating the things he’d eaten over the last couple of days. Imagine being told this is an outright lie by the person who’s examined your child’s corpse. After you really think through all of that, if you still think I am wrong, I’ll try to listen.
Warning: the photos are graphic. Graphic enough that they seem to have been deleted from the major Korean newsportals. You have been warned.
As for me, I’m sick to death of hearing time and time again about how some asshole brutalized someone else’s children, because there is always a new report of this kind floating in. I think his parents deserve the right to burn down the business, and to do anything they want to the owners. Nobody has the right to demand their forgiveness, or forbearance, and anyone who does is taking upon himself an unholy priviledge.
As an aside, I’m also sorting through difficult feelings about whether this kind of thing happens more in Korea than in my own country (Canada), or whether it’s just that I notice it more here. I tend to think it’s the former, and that in Canada, at least, the kid might have been snuck off to hospital instead of left to die at the owner’s house. But I don’t know, and teasing apart exactly why this might be the case even if it is true is too difficult for me to do right now.
I feel sick.