Jane  Gilgun       Summary     This  brief  article  explains  how  it  happened  that  a  trusted  nanny  may  have

 stabbed   and  killed  a  toddler  boy  and  a  six  year-­‐old  girl  in  her  care.  This  article  applies  to  the   alleged  killer  only  if  she  actually  did  the  killings.  The  ideologies  of  violence  that  are   part  of  the  article  apply  to  whoever  did  the  killings.       About  the  Author     Jane  F.  Gilgun,  PhD,  LICSW,  is  a  professor,  School  of  Social  Work,  University  of   Minnesota,  Twin  Cities,  USA.    Professor  Gilgun  has  done  research  on  the  meanings  of   violence  to  perpetrators,  the  development  of  violent  behaviors,  and  how  persons   overcome  adversities  for  almost  30  years.  She  has  many  articles,  books,  and  children’s   stories  available  on  Amazon  and  other  booksellers  and  for  e-­‐readers  such  as  Kindle,   iPad,  and  Nook.       rushed  by  life’s  circumstances,  a  nanny  may  have  killed  a  toddler  boy  and  a  six   year-­‐old  girl.  The  nanny  was  found  unconscious  with  stab  wounds  to  her   throat  and  the  children  dead  in  a  bathtub.  Yesterday.  She  now  is  in  a  medically   induced  coma.  Maybe  someone  else  did  the  stabbing.  The  police  cannot  ask  her.  Left   behind  are  a  brother  of  the  children,  distraught  parents,  distraught  grandparents,   and  parents  across  the  country  terrorized  because  they  have  nannies  or  others  who   take  care  of  their  children.     What  is  behind  such  horrific  actions?    If  the  nanny  is  the  murderer,  then  it’s  her   belief  system,  just  as  belief  systems  are  behind  every  act  of  violence.  The  ideas  apply   to  her  if  she  is  the  killer  or  to  any  other  person  who  killed  the  children.  The   importance  of  ideologies  applies  to  anyone  who  commits  violence.       In  this  case,  the  50  year-­‐old  nanny  was  depressed  and  angry.    Life  had  been  unkind   for  a  long  time.  If  she  killed  the  children  and  harmed  herself,  she  could  no  longer   bear  feeling  as  she  did.  She  would  have  believed  that  the  way  to  deal  with  her   depression  and  anger  was  to  kill  little  children  and  then  herself.     Like  other  murderers,  she  would  have  had  tunnel  vision.  She  would  have  been  so   focused  on  her  own  rage  and  what  to  do  about  it  that  she  would  not  have  thought  

Nanny  May  Have  Killed  Young  Children:   Ideologies  of  Violence  Triumph    


about  consequences  for  the  children  and  their  families,  for  other  nannies,  and  for   parents  everywhere.     When  she  comes  out  of  her  coma,  she  is  likely  to  be  distraught  at  what  she  has  done,   fi  she  did  the  killings.  Other  beliefs  will  flood  back  in.  Too  late.     As  the  media  probes  into  her  background  and  if  she  is  the  killer,  they  will  find  she   has  a  history  of  trauma  that  she  never  dealt  with,  that  she  had  been  exposed  early   and  for  a  long  time  to  ideologies  of  vengeance  and  physical  violence,  and  that  she   has  had  recent  negative  life  events.  They’ll  also  find  that  she  was  a  kind  and  loving   person  to  almost  everyone  who  knew  her.     If  she  is  the  killer,  her  story  is  the  story  of  every  person  who  commits  acts  of   violence.  Most  people  who  commit  such  terrible  acts  appear  to  be  like  most   everyone  else—kind,  considerate,  and  all  the  rest.  We  can’t  see  inside  of  them.  When   the  going  gets  tough,  deep-­‐seated  beliefs  about  violence  as  a  way  to  deal  with  rage     and  hurt  overpower  beliefs  about  kindness  and  love.      People  who  commit  violence  believe  that  harming  others  and  the  self  are  what  they   must  do  to  redress  the  wrongs  that  they’ve  experienced.  They  have  not  experienced   long-­‐term  relationships  with  others  where  they  can  work  through  the  meanings  of   events  in  their  lives.  They  never  developed  protective  mechanisms  that  dissolve     thoughts  of  harming  others  that  arise  when  the  going  gets  tough.       The  rest  of  us  can’t  read  minds.  We  trust  people  who  care  for  our  children.  I  hope   the  parents  of  the  two  children  are  not  blaming  themselves.  They  could  not  know   the  nanny  would  do  such  things,  if  she  did.  They  were  close  to  her.  They  trusted  her.   If  she  did  it,  she  was  blind  with  rage  and  acted  out  deep-­‐seated  ideologies  while   ignoring  ideologies  of  love  and  care  that  she  also  undoubtedly  had.     People  who  commit  violence  have  ideologies  of  violence.  They  act  them  out.  Nothing   within  them  stops  them.     Reference     Gilgun,  Jane  F.  (2012).  The  logic  of  murderous  rampages  and  other  essays  on   violence.  Amazon.     Kleinfield,  N.R.  and  Wendy  Ruderman  (2012).    Life  was  in  chaos  for  nanny   accused  of  killings.    New  York  Times,  October  27,  2012.    A1,  A17.  

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