The Antelope Valley Press, a northern Los Angeles County newspaper, had the following disturbing headline on Sunday, March 20, 2011:
Mom feared ‘The Tribulation,’ cops say: Cut daughters’ throats, then her own.
And the opening paragraph to the story was this:
A Palmdale mother has been arrested on suspicion of attempting to kill her daughters because she believed “The Tribulation”—a worldwide period of wars, epidemics and natural disasters before Jesus returns to earth—was about to occur and she didn’t want the girls to suffer through it, sheriff’s officials said.
The accused woman is Lyn Benedetto, 47, the wife of a dentist, and she was booked on $1 million dollars bail. At least one Los Angeles area television station also picked up the story (see here).
Lyn Benedetto, before taking up residence in jail while awaiting trial, lived in an apparently nice, gated community. And a reporter at the Antelope Valley Press got a female neighbor to dish the following information about her:
[She] was always pleasant and seemed involved with her daughters, and recently attended a meeting with the elder girl at Quartz Hill High School, which the girl was expected to attend next year.
Here’s some more from the Antelope Valley Press:
The neighbor said she hadn’t heard Benedetto express any fears about radiation from Japan’s stricken nuclear reactors or impending disaster or any religious sentiments.
“Nobody saw this coming,” she said.
So, as usual, neighbors rarely ever really know their neighbors—but are delighted to talk to the press about them when they end up in the public eye.
And it’s not hard to guess what this murder-suicide attempt augurs for the advent of December 21, 2012: misery to families mourning the loss of loved ones caught in 2012 hysteria. In other words, there will be some people who will get themselves so worked up over this date—much as Lyn Benedetto apparently did over The Tribulation—that they will actually commit suicide in anticipation. Frightened by the end of the world, they’ll think it sensible to exit early, perhaps taking children with them. Of course, there will be the usual media hand wringing, and before the date arrives psychological professionals will go on television to counsel calm. But the following item at National Geographic’s website provides a hint of what’s really coming in 2012:
NASA’s Ask an Astrobiologist Web site . . . has received thousands of questions regarding the 2012 doomsday predictions—some of them disturbing, according to David Morrison, a senior scientist with the NASA Astrobiology Institute. “A lot of [the submitters] are people who are genuinely frightened,” said Morrison, who thinks movie marketers, authors, and others out to make a buck are feeding some of the fears. “I’ve had two teenagers who were considering killing themselves, because they didn’t want to be around when the world ends,” he said. “Two women in the last two weeks said they were contemplating killing their children and themselves so they wouldn’t have to suffer through the end of the world.”
This really is a moral issue. It’s not a harmless cultural fad coming our way. There is literally a 2012 prophecy industry that has built up around the bogus December 21 “end of the world” date, and at least some people are likely to die because of the concerted circulation of this stupidity. Like The Tribulation meme that got hold of Lyn Benedetto’s mind, the 2012 meme is a rebuke to our educational system and the failure of the schools to teach even the most elementary critical thinking skills to students. And televangelists, movie producers, booksellers, and New Age charlatans making money trucking in 2012 irrationality will have blood on their hands. Not that they’ll give a shit, but the rest of us should.