I wasn’t going to throw my hat into this ring. Another voice wouldn’t make any difference to the already far-too noisy circus swirling around the Sandy Hook massacre, but I just can’t let this one go. I’ve tried to ignore it, but it now seems I’m unable to pull that trick off. So please, take a moment to digest the email below. I mean really digest it. Let it swash around in your head and give the words enough time to be tasted by every synaptic bundle you’re in possession of. It was sent on Friday the 14th of December by a Kristin of Virginia to a FB page I follow, Global Secular Humanist Movement.
“You and people like you are responsible for the shootings that happened in Connecticut school, you took GOD away from our schools and now he is not there to help us. Please God have mercy on America.”
I’m assuming this Kristin is an adult. I’m also assuming those around her – her family, work colleagues and friends – think her to be of a sound mind; a sane, presumably able-bodied human being. Well, I have news for Kristin’s family, work colleagues and friends: she’s not. She’s ill. She is a sociopathic delusional hazard, a deranged individual living inside a fantasy no less frightening or potentially destructive than the sickness that riddled the Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza. Kristin of Virginia needs help. Adults conducting relationships with imaginary friends need help.
Now don’t get me wrong. Inventing and engaging with imaginary companions in early childhood is a vital part of developmental psychology. Those who dream up friends are found to be more creative and socially advanced. They use more complex sentence structure, have more diverse and richer vocabularies, and get along better with classmates. The explanation arrived at by Evan Kidd of Melbourne’s La Trobe Universe is that children who create imaginary companions (an activity centered in the frontal cortex, the last great physical evolutionary shift completed around 6,600 generations ago) give themselves a chance to practice both sides of the conversation. They try on different roles, wear different hats, think abstractly, and by doing so tease out more original ideas. That type of creativity is wonderful. It’s socially useful, a magnificent craft, a priceless Paleolithic artifact, but that talent turns positively putrid when adults with adult-sensibilities, responsibilities and powers drag those imaginary friends into adulthood and ascribe to them new names like ‘angels’ and ‘god’ and then pit them against elaborate imaginary foes who go by names like ‘demons’ and ‘satan.’
To Kristin of Virginia I can only say this: grow the fuck up.