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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 31 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 44
Murder is murder
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Murder is murder

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

The way our society sometimes reassigns guilt or innocence - sometimes even changing the severity of a person's actions - in this country sickens me. It's an outrage and it happens all the time.

The latest example of this ridiculous behavior happened last week in Marysville when 14-year-old Jaylen Fryberg walked into his high school cafeteria and shot three girls and two boys before turning the gun on himself. Several of his friends described him as a great guy who had recently become depressed over the fact that one of his victims, 14-year-old Zoe Galasso, did not return his affections.

Zoe Galasso died at the scene. Jaylen Fryberg shot her in the head. 14-year-old Gia Soriano died from her injuries on Sunday.

At the time, the public and mainstream media did not know that Galasso and Fryberg, both deceased, and the only two to die at the scene (Fryberg turned the gun on himself in the end), knew each other. But when news broke that both of the male victims were his cousins and that Galasso was not in love or lust with Jaylen Fryberg but had, in fact, been dating Jaylen's cousin Andrew Fryberg, 15, the media seemed to change the narrative about who Jaylen Fryberg is. And so did social media commentators and trolls. Suddenly, facts are ignored and the devil becomes an angel.

Even though he is one, Jaylen Fryberg does not fit everyone's idea of what a killer should look like.

Never mind that Fryberg walked into a school last Friday armed and ready to kill several of his peers and family members by texting them all to invite them to lunch before making his way to the cafeteria to shoot them. Never mind that that is premeditated murder. He was attractive and had recently been voted as Homecoming Prince and so we don't like to prosecute those kind of people; instead we somehow feel better saying that the heart-broken homecoming Prince shot the girl that broke his heart.



'We could very well be calling Fryberg a depressed sociopath with a bloodlust for a girl he felt an unnatural ownership over,' wrote Maria Guido in a blog post for the parenting news and information blog www.MommyIsh.com. 'Instead, we're calling him the heartbroken Homecoming Prince. There is a lesson here for parents of girls and boys alike; this is what happens when you neglect to teach boys that the object of their affection isn't their property.'

Guido says that the way people are talking about this murderous rampage is sending a message to young girls everywhere: Don't be the girl who drives the boy crazy - you may wind up dead. And no one will speak of you or your right to rebut his advances or choose whom you want to give your 14-year-old heart to. You'll be a distant memory to most - but your killer's name will live on as everyone grapples to figure out how he could possibly have done it? When in fact, it's the most obvious motive in the world.

'Women die at the hands of 'jilted' men at an alarming rate in this country,' she said. 'Ignoring the lesson parents should be learning here - to teach their children that people they like are not objects to be won or owned - is a grave mistake and makes the loss of these lives even more senseless.'

'To everyone who says they didn't see it coming - I disagree; this is textbook domestic violence - when it happens to kids it's called 'teen dating violence,' said Guido.

A quick glance at his Twitter account, Guido points out, shows Fryberg's motive. 'He was depressed. He was jilted. He was also exhibiting traits of an emotionally abusive partner,' she said.

After death, his Twitter feed is an eerie peek into a mind gripped by jealousy and rage. And the telling tweets and retweets date back months. The tweets include:



July 8 - Fryberg retweeted 'I'm not jealous, but when something is mine, it's mine' from Horny Facts.

August 20 - Fryberg tweeted 'Tell me what your plan is .... You can't make a bond with anyone like the bond me and you have right now .... Tell me what your (sic) going to do ...'

And the tweets became increasingly more threatening:

August 20 - Fryberg tweeted 'Your (sic) not gonna like what happens next!!'

August 20 - Fryberg continued 'Your (sic) gonna piss me off ... and then some shit's gonna go down and I don't think you'll like it.'

September 19 - Fryberg tweeted 'Did you forget she was my girlfriend?'



According to Guido, for one in five women who ever experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, the first experience of some form of partner violence happened between 11 and 17 years of age.

Guido says that while she is sorry for the parents who are grappling with the horror of losing a child this way and that she 'wouldn't wish this situation on my worst enemy' she does, however, refuse to excuse Fryberg's actions or 'talk about his bright future or depression.'

'He was a young man who killed a girl he couldn't control,' she said. 'That's how over 30% of female homicide victims over the age of twelve die in America. We need to talk to our kids about this. Now.'

Guido says that the big problem in this country, exacerbated by easy access to guns, has roots planted in the belief that women - or girls in this case - are not entitled to agency over their own bodies. She maintains that Fryberg was a product of a society that teaches boys from a very young age that their female counterparts are not peers; they are trophies to be won.

'News story after news story keeps repeating the narrative that Jaylen was jilted and lovesick. But what about the girl whose life he ended? He believed she was 'his.' When she didn't return his affection - he killed her,' said Guido. 'This is not a new story. This is a story far too many women know. It's a narrative way too many women have lost their lives to.'

Guido says now is not the time to ask how did this happen? It's the time to ask, why does this keep happening and what can we do to stop it?

'Our daughters deserve better,' she said. 'So do the 4,000 women who will die this year if we continue to turn a blind eye to the horrors of violence against women and repeatedly excuse men for violent behavior because of their poor, broken hearts.'

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