Nothing to Be Learned

What in God's name would justify the murder of a little girl? There is no answer, and therefore it is impossible to predict the next one.

One of the Web sites hashing over the murder of 3-year-old Noa Goldring proclaimed "Noa was murdered in the name of love." This mendacious headline had a few no less revolting competitors in other media outlets in the obsessive reportage of the child's murder (ghastly and horrific, reiterated endlessly on television, as if the murder of children could be considered something positive or neutral).

In complete contrast, an acquaintence of Noa's mother's family, who are in deep mourning for the child allegedly murdered by her father, read the family's response: "We will make sure that Noa's blood has not been spilled in vain."

Although I feel for the family in their grief, I must say that the death of the 3-year-old was in vain. The murder of children is always in vain. There is no lesson to be learned. Children are murdered because they are small and helpless and unable to protect themselves. They can be hurt even by those who are meant to protect them from harm.

Perhaps because the media has gotten us used to it from last summer, the summer of the drowned children, its preoccupation with the unimportant aspects of Noa Goldring's murder has reached new peaks of pornography and emotional blackmail.

Last summer one could still justify the preoccupation with the murder of another child, Rose Pizem, on every newscast and special bulletin, because it took time to solve the murder and there were widespread searches to be covered. It also made sense to discuss how a 4-year-old child could completely disappear from the welfare authorities' radar.

The media coverage in 2002 of the search for Hodaya Kedem and the discovery of her body can likewise be understood.

But the case of Noa Goldring has been solved. Everyone knows who did it - where, how and when - and the media has nothing left but to be shocked and to shock, on the pretext of seeking an explanation, or even a ridiculous and megalomanical attempt to "prevent the next murder."

An analysis by the National Council for the Child based on 32 cases of children murdered by relatives in the last six years shows that mothers and fathers murder equally. More boys were murdered than girls, most under 4 years of age. Six of the 32 murdered by one of their parents were more than 4 years old.

Most of the murders were commited in July, August or October - vacation time - and many occured in the morning, on Saturday or Sunday.

"Daddy, why?" asked the bulging headline under photos of the handcuffed father and his daughter, a paragon of sweetness and joy, with her checkered, puff-sleeved dress, her lollipop and her gold berets. As if there can possibly be an explanation the media would find reasonable.

What in God's name would justify this murder? There is no answer, and therefore it is impossible to predict the next one.

And so we gobble up, with increasing nausea, what the media feeds us after the killing of yet another little girl. Perhaps this is our way of reminding ourselves and our children that we are different, good and wonderful parents, even when we are consumed by guilt over our small sins in the raising of our children.