Thursday, August 31, 2006

Never really was an Eden

Yesterday at school a six year old girl got beaten up by 5 other girls, aged 6 to 8 years. They trapped her, stood on her, kicked and beat her with sticks. No other children stopped them or got help. No adult saw. The girl who got beaten was found crying outside her classroom door too embarrassed to go in. The others were suspended, but turned up at school today. We all talked to our children about the attack. In my class the first reaction was to beat the bullies. An eye for an eye seems to be the way here.

Last week in Las Juntas, a town at the bottom of the mountain, there was a murder. Two men with machetes arranged to fight in the town centre, 6:30 in the evening. They chose the main street outside a furniture shop. They were fighting over the wife of one of the men. The killer lost his left arm below the elbow and was hacked in the head and right side. He pulled a gun and shot the other 3 times. He was taken to hospital and will go to jail for, probably, life. He and his wife have 3 children. There was a crowd watching. Nobody tried to stop it, nobody called the cops. A tico friend of ours was there watching. When we asked him why he didn't do something he said it wasn't his business, by way of further explanation he offered that tico men are very jealous. They were about 15 metres from the fight. The body lay in the street for 5 hours until detectives arrived from Puntarenes. The bullets went through the man and into a "really nice" car. The next day the owner of the car drove it around town so everyone could see.

How can such a thing happen? With machetes, in the street, people watching? How far does machismo go, and is this really machismo? Why choose the town centre, did they believe someone would stop them? The boys in my class think nothing of fighting, of hitting first, or back. Use your words doesn't really register with them, even sitting afterwards and talking, the what could I have done answer always seems to be 'hit him harder'.