Why Do People Snap?

Oct 3, 2006 11:55am

What made Charles Roberts walk into a one-room Amish schoolhouse, bar the doors, and start killing children?  Police say he told his wife of acts of child molestation 20 years ago; we’re also told he and his wife lost an infant daughter, Elise, in 1997. But why do some people live with such pain, while others commit acts of violence? (A man near the Pennsylvania school after yesterday’s shootings.  AP photo.) Some late notes from the Pennsylvania State Police news conference, just ended: –Roberts, according to police, told his wife he molested two young children in his family 20 years ago, when he would have been about 12 years old. –"He states in his suicide note that he had dreams about doing what he did 20 years ago again," according to Police Commissioner Jeffrey MIller. –But, according to police, members of his family have been interviewed, and say they have no knowledge of any molestation involving any family member. Police added that relatives, interviewed for their investigation, said Roberts "hadn’t been the same" since the death of his baby daughter.  The little girl was born prematurely, and only lived twenty minutes.  Roberts said in his suicide note that he was "angry with God" for what had happened.  But the first indications were that he did not show what he felt.  "The man who did this today is not the Charlie that I’ve been married to for almost 10 years," said his wife, Marie, in a statement late yesterday, read by a family friend. "My husband is loving, supportive, thoughtful, all the things you’d always want and more." "I never even seen him raise his voice," said Morgan Erb, who babysat for the Roberts’ children.  "He seemed like a mild-mannered, nice guy." In the meantime, any thoughts you have?  Please feel free to post them here.

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