Riker's Mailbox

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


I saw this on the news last night. It's all over the internet today.

To most it's a tragic tale about the economy.

But I can't help thinking it's a tragic tale about religion.

Father kills family and himself, despondent over financial losses

Karthik Rajaram murdered his entire family because he ran out of money. This was not a knee-jerk emotional reaction to shocking news, either. He indicated in one of his several suicide notes that he'd been planning the atrocity for months. He, and I am paraphrasing here, went back and forth between the options of just killing himself or killing himself and his family. In the end he decided that killing the whole family was the more honorable thing to do.

I try to step into the mind of the person I'm reading about; I really try hard. But I cannot do it in this case. I simply cannot make any kind of sense or detect any kind of rationality in this persons apparent thought process... until I insert religion.

I'm not a parent. But I've known a few in my day; the only thing he could have been motivated by was the desire to spare his family the misery of living poor. So if I were he, my options would be:

(1) deal with living poor.

(2) kill myself and leave my family to deal with the pain of losing their father/husband, but maybe they get to cash in on my life insurance policy.

(3) kill everyone. Inflict upon all of us a brief but unimaginably horrible physical and psychological pain followed by nonexistence.
Obviously the only rational choice is #1. Who knows, after all, what opportunities might come down the road? Why deny yourself the chance to recover? Unless, of course, #3 is reworded to "Inflict upon all of us a brief but unimaginably horrible physical and psychological pain... followed by the next life and a chance to start over."

You see, Mr. Rajaram and his family were Hindu. His children were named after Hindu gods and mythical warriors. It is a safe bet to assume that at least he, if not his entire family, believed in reincarnation. With that belief thrown into the mix, it is finally possible to comprehend how the treacherous idea of murdering six people can be seen as not just tolerable, but downright noble.

And it makes me physically sick to realize it. I don't need to punctuate the story with a somber note about how irrationality needs to be purged from our global family; the article states it clearly enough to those who are paying attention.

And the hits just keep on coming, though this one has no ostensible religious or economic motivation:

Cops: Ky. Woman killed daughters, self

Sorry to leave things on such a sour note. Watch the debate tonight, everyone. It's really important.

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