This morning I found myself thinking about the Wisconsin girls involved in the “Slenderman” case. They were recently deemed competent to stand in trial. They are being charged as adults in the case. Generally speaking, attempted murder convicts spend at least 10 years in prison, though they could spend life in prison.
These girls are twelve.
Think about what happened and changed in your life from the time you were 12 until you were 22. You finished junior high, high school and college. The relationships you had with other adults formed you into the adult you are today. You made the decision to stay in the church or drift away. Those 10 years are easily one of the most formative decades in life. These two girls will likely spend it in prison. Think about the formation they will receive there.
The girls were deemed competent, they were not found to have any kind of mental disorder, which is the first place we look when a person does something so unbelievable they could not be in their right mind. 2,000 years ago we assumed all acts of this kind were possession. It is not my place to speculate on the situation, but there is clearly evil here because of what two friends decided to do to a third friend. There is clearly evil here because the two girls who committed the crime are going to be stripped from their families. There is clearly evil here because so many people have been and will be damaged in this entire process.
I then thought to myself that through all of this darkness, I hope that there is someone who is caring for and praying for these girls. An angel watching over these children.
Then it occurred to me–they have had a legion of angels. The guardian angel that kept their friend alive. The biker who discovered her. The doctors who saved her life. We tend to only think of these people as the angels for the girl who suffered, but they are, in fact angels for the girls who committed the crime. They are angels because through them, the girl did not die.
These girls who did something so grievous, so terrible, truly so evil, will not have to live with the fact that they actually murdered another human being. They have been given a second chance, although they will have this chance in prison, rather than the comfort of their own home. This second chance will be far more difficult than living the struggle of life before their dire decisions, but they will never have that murder on their hands as a complete act.
I pray that the result of all of this for those two girls is a true change of heart. That they will seek the light and take advantage of this opportunity God has provided them with to do good in the world. That somehow, amidst all of the negative attention that is going to shape their adolescence, they have someone they can look to in order to rise above.