Last Saturday, police allege, two 12-year-old girls lured a third girl, also 12, into a wooded area, where they attacked, and nearly killed her. The horror of the event may seem overwhelming, but there is some evidence of “the miraculous,” as well. One is that the girl, despite being severely injured, was able to get to a road; another is that a cyclist “just happened” to come along and find her before it was “too late.” These are not small things and to me are evidence of the power of good, even in the face of hypnotic evil.
Waukesha (Wis.) Police Chief Russell Jack called the incident “a wake-up call for parents,” and he’s right. It is also a wake-up call for the two suspects who were arrested and face serious legal charges. As The Christian Science Monitor reported, the possible motive for the attack was their fascination with an imaginary online horror character called “Slender Man,” who they apparently believed is a real being. By killing the girl, they believed they could become a “proxy” for him (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 2).
And it’s a wake-up call for all who use the Internet. To some extent the Internet is a global mental city, and we need to defend this city with our prayers. Some streets of this city are wonderful and life-giving; other streets are tough mental neighborhoods that still need to be cleaned up and redeemed.
To me, taking part in this redemption is a way of loving my neighbor – here or abroad – as myself. It is following Jesus’ teachings (see Matthew 7:12). He also gave solid guidance on how to discern between good and bad: “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20).
Hypnotic influences that lead people (both adults and children) to act against their own true inclinations are not good fruits, and need to be resisted. We can’t ignore the evil or run away from it. Instead, we can take a stand for the power of good, and make safe mental paths for our children and ourselves. This power is God, who guides us like a shepherd. As the Psalmist put it, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me” (Psalms 23:4). This reliance on God, instead of on shadowy Internet creations, leads to goodness and safety.
In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Love and Truth make free, but evil and error lead into captivity” (p. 227). The false attraction of evil, or the temptation to commit evil acts, can be dispelled by the Christ-message, which speaks to us of God’s love for us, and for all people. This is the message that comes through so clearly in Jesus’ life. This message of God’s love and goodness can speak to all who are involved in the current situation and can guide them to good and healing solutions.
No matter how the legal process turns out for the girls alleged to have attacked the other girl, they also are loved by God and can be guided to intelligent thoughts and actions that will redeem their lives. And prayer for the girl who was attacked can insist that her innocence and purity cannot be contaminated by this event. We can reject the belief of scarring – physical or mental – as the result of the attack.
Right now, God’s love is with each individual – parent and child, city officials and city residents. Their helper is no imaginary creation; God, divine Love, is their ever-present guide.