Every once in a while, a series of days come along that are filled with so much sadness that I find myself asking, “What compels some people?”
With news of the massacre in Oslo, Sweden, spreading, the world is introduced to a psychopath. Anders Behring Breivik shot and killed more than 80 people — including many youths — in an oceanside resort on Friday. The L.A. Times ran a headling this morning quoting the killer, who allegedly said “You’re all going to die.”
Chilling stuff. What compels people? What compelled Breivik to think his rampage was going to be anything but one of the most egregious and horrific acts of humanity (outside of war) in the 21st century?
I’m not sure I want to know the answer to that question.
Then, on Saturday, five-time Grammy winner Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London home. The cause of death is not know at this time. Winehouse was best known in the U.S. for her hit “Rehab,” but it was fewer than 12 steps to her demise; Drug-fueled rages, run-ins with both U.S. and British police and hit-or-miss performances.
In death Winehouse joins a much smarter crowd than she ever ran with in life, grouping with iconoclast pop music artists Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison to become the fifth in a quartet for the ages. That age being 27, of course.
What compels people? What compelled Winehouse to such urges of self-destruction and yet, surges of artistic brilliance? And why was no one within her inner circle compelled to step in and save her life?
What compels people? Questions of motivation are rarely answered truthfully.