The Incongruity of Beauty
We use the word beauty in many different scenarios and situations, but could we ever use it to describe death? In Glimpse, the Beautiful Deaths, criminal psychologist Patricia Holmes, attached to the Major Crime Squad of the Western Australian Police Department, certainly does.
That’s a beautiful dress, we might say, or what a beautiful day, those flowers are beautiful, that child has a beautiful personality, she has a beauty spot on her cheek……….You get the idea for how often we can use the adjective. I’ve even heard sports commentators say what a beautiful shot, he’s swimming beautifully and once, in a heavy weight boxing match, what a beautiful knock out punch.
It seems to me to be over-used, and in some cases is completely opposite from what the word actually means. Patricia Holmes asks us to consider beauty in its purest from. She describes a man who has an obsession to own and possess beautiful things so badly it leads to six cases of murder.
During a meeting with homicide detectives where she delivers the profile of the man they are hunting, she nicknames him Gordon. She urges the men to think of him that way: an ordinary man, not a master criminal or Serial Killer. She believes he doesn’t even consider what he has done to be murder and she poses the riddle to the men:
When is a serial killer not a murderer?
The bodies of six young girls, each of them the epitome of beauty when they were alive, have been found in a cave system in the South of the State. Malnourished, dehydrated, and showing no signs of violence, they appear to have wasted away until death overtook them. Then, they were interred in the caves, each with flowers left with them, at an average of once every year or so.
The caves are hard to get to, and located near a breathtakingly beautiful place called The Blue Lake, and Pat thinks it’s the beauty of the place which led him to bring the bodies there. She describes how she believes Gordon had a hideous life since childhood; that he was born a gentle, caring, artistic child who was treated abysmally by one or both parents.
She says they would have said things to him like: “You’re bloody useless, Gordon! Why can’t you ever do anything right, Gordon? You’re not trying hard enough, Gordon!”